truancy laws in california

Your Child’s Habit of Skipping School Could Result in You Spending Time in Jail

truancy laws in california

You can tell your kids to go to school, you can even drive them there and watch them enter the building, but at some point, you lose control of their actions. If they decide to sneak out the back door and skip school for the day, there’s not much you can do about it. Right?

The Penalties of Having Truant Children in California

You might think that way, but as one California mom learned, the courts don’t necessarily agree. After her two children missed 116 days of school, a California judge sentenced her to 180 days in jail. The fact that her two children were in second and third grade and that the school had contacted her several times about the number of days they’d missed had a lot to do with why the judge ordered she spend so much time in jail.

Until word got about her arrest, most parents assumed that their child’s habit of cutting classes would result in their child getting punished. Parents didn’t realize they would be the ones who had to face a judge and possibly spend several months in jail.

The traditional method for dealing with a student who constantly skipped classes is that the school banned them from participating in extracurricular activities, they were suspended from classes for a period of time, and if they were habitual offenders, they could be expelled, or held back a grade. There are some places, such as Pima County in Arizona where students who accumulate three unexcused absences in a school year are referred to the Center for Juvenile Alternatives where officials work with both the student and the parents to come up with a system that encourages the student to stay in the class room.

The truancy laws that landed the California mother of two in jail date back to 2011 and were signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger. At the time, California’s truancy rate was a staggering 24%.

Jail time is just one of the consequences that goes along with your children skipping school. The court can also order that you pay up to $2,000 in fines. If your child is chronically truant, you could be charged with a misdemeanor.

When is a Truant Child Considered a Problem?

According to California’s truancy laws, a school can consider a student to be truant if they show up more than 30 minutes late for class, or skip the class altogether, for more than 3 school days. These are unexcused absences. The student is considered to be a chronic truant if they miss more than 10% of the overall school year.

While hitting the parents with steep fines and jail time because their child skipped classes might not seem fair, according to one study, when San Francisco parents were held accountable for their children’s school attendance, the number of truant students decreased by 32%.

hermosa beach laws

Weird and Wacky Laws in Hermosa Beach

hermosa beach laws

Just about any city you visit will have at least one strange law that makes you wonder what the city officials were thinking when they passed it. California’s Hermosa Beach has several such laws.

Don’t You Dare Dump Salt on the Street

If you walk down the street sprinkling salt in your wake, don’t be surprised if a Hermosa Beach police officer gets out of their car and wants to talk to you. They might even write a ticket that comes with a rather hefty fine. When it comes to Hermosa Beach streets, the city prohibits you from spilling, dropping, or pouring certain substances on the street, which includes:

  • Salt
  • Rock salt
  • Salt brine
  • Broken glass
  • Petroleum
  • Benzine
  • Oil
  • Any oily substance
  • Chemicals
  • Acid
  • Common Salt

While this law might seem silly, when you dig a little deeper, you discover that the reason it was created was to discourage dumping substances on the streets which could damage cars or the asphalt. The city hopes that having the no salt law in place, they can cut down on the number of repairs they need to make to the city streets.

Leave Your Vehicle Before Changing Clothes

It doesn’t matter if your changing to go to the beach or if you want to change out of your sand filled clothing after you’ve spent the day at the beach, in Hermosa Beach’s zip code, you need to find a real changing place before you strip down. The city has a municipal code that prohibits you from switching from one outfit to the next while in your vehicle. It’s possible that this particular law was created to cut back on the risk of someone getting flashed as a person used their car to change from swim suit to dry clothing.

Respect the Sand

Speaking of spending time on the beach, if you’re in Hermosa Beach’s zip code, you should know that the city is serious about it’s sand. The city has a law that not only makes it illegal to throw sand, but to also throw your blankets and towels around (I have no idea what they do if you’re shaking sand from said towels or blankets). The reason for this particular law is to reduce the risk of injury to others who are sharing the beach with you.

The city also has a law preventing you from taking any sand with you when you leave the beach, so make sure you empty your shoes before you reach the parking lot.

This is just a sample of Hermosa Beach’s wacky municipal codes.

dog leach laws california

California’s Attitude Towards Leashes and Dogs

dog leach laws california

The issue of leashes is a sensitive subject for many dog owners. Some feel that if their dog is well trained, they shouldn’t be required to keep their dog on a leash. Other’s feel that whenever a dog isn’t on the owner’s private property, the animal should be leashed.

The State of California doesn’t have a formal opinion on the topic. Officially, the state doesn’t have any laws that state dogs have to be on a leash. However, before unclipping your leash from your dog’s collar, you need to check with the local government. There are several county, city, and townships that do have very strict rules regarding leashes and dogs. Violating the local rules can land you and your pet in serious trouble.

A perfect example of this is Sacramento County. They have very strict leash ordinances. The only time a dog can legally be off leash is when they have been brought to one of the county’s “off-leash” dog parks or on the owner’s property. The City of Sacramento also has its own set of leash laws.

Don’t assume that just because your dog is on a leash, that you don’t have to worry about getting into any legal trouble. Sacramento insists that the leash be a maximum of six feet long (this means that if you have your dog on an extendable leash, law enforcement officer could write a ticket) and that the dog be under control at all times.

Sacramento County uses Code 9.36.061 (d) when dealing with dog owners who let their dogs run free.

The penalty for having your dog off leash when you’re in an town or county that has leash laws depends on where you are. In most places, you, as the dog owner, will be issued a ticket and a fine. If you don’t pay the fine, the court could opt to file a bench warrant for your arrest, which means that not only will you be arrested if you’re ever stopped by the police (or get caught with your dog off-leash a second time) and have a criminal record.

If your dog bites or otherwise injures someone while they are off leash, you’ll not only be required to pay for the off-leash ticket, you will also be responsible for the injured parties medical bills and could face losing your dog forever.

If you aren’t clear about what the laws are in your county/city, it’s best to keep your pet on a leash until you speak to either a police officer or a court official who is familiar with the local laws and how they pertain to your dog.

dog bite laws california

How California Responds When Your Dog Bites Someone

dog bite laws california

Owning a dog is wonderful, but as a California resident, you need to understand that you are responsible for your dog’s actions, especially if your dog bites someone hard enough to cause an injury.

California’s Strict Liability Laws Regarding Dog Bites

The State of California is one of the few states that enforces “strict liability” laws. This means that no matter what triggered your pet’s behavior, you’re going to be the one blamed for the dog bit injury. The person your dog bit is not only entitled to sue you, but will most likely win a sizeable settlement that covers both their medical bills and their emotional trauma.

Because California has “strict liability” laws you can’t expect to tell a judge that your dog has never behaved that way, never shown any signs of being aggressive, or that the person it bit was antagonizing it and expect to get out of the lawsuit.

The only real exception is if someone is unlawfully on your property when they were bit. Postal workers, delivery people, and friends you’ve invited over are considered lawfully on your property. Trespassers are on your property unlawfully.

What’s Considered a Bite

Just because your dog didn’t break someone’s skin, it doesn’t mean the bit didn’t happen. The dog doesn’t even have to have taken hold of the person to be considered a biter. There have been instances where the dog grabbed onto a person’s clothing, causing them to fall or trip, the resulting injuries were still considered dog bite related, and the owner was forced to pay the resulting medical bills.

Unlike other states that allow a dog to have one free bite, California’s courts don’t care about the animal’s history. However, once your dog has bitten someone, the California judicial system can step in and tell you want you can and can’t do with your dog. California law makers believe that as the owner of a dog who now has a history of biting, you’re obligated to take steps to ensure that the dog never attacks someone else. In some instances, the court has told the owner of a dog that’s bitten someone that they had to find a new location for the dog, or that the dog must be put to sleep.

The best way to ensure that you and your dog have a long and happy future together that doesn’t include a long and costly court trial is by keeping your dog leashed and under control whenever you’re both in public, making sure it’s properly socialized, and really paying attention to it’s body language when someone approaches your dog.

police searches

Can a Police Officer Search Your Vehicle

police searches

One of the first things an officer often does when they pull you over for a traffic infraction is take a peek inside your car. In some cases, they’ll ask you to get out of the vehicle while they do a thorough search of the interior. Watching them go through the items you have tucked in your vehicle is enough to make anyone wonder whether the search is actually legal.

Your Rights and Your Car

The letter of the law is clear when it comes to the police searching both your person or your home, but they become vaguer when the search involves your vehicle, which makes it difficult to know whether the officer who pulled you over has overstepped.

When the founding fathers started arguing about the constitution and later about the amendments they needed, they never dreamt about things like cars and all the headaches that go along with vehicles. They’re main concern involved homes. The founding fathers didn’t want to create a police state style of government so they drafted the Fourth Amendment which requires law enforcement to have a warrant before they can search your home and the items you’re carrying on your person.

When cars started becoming a common sight, the justices who were sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court at the time realized that they needed to make some changes to the Fourth Amendment. They did create a law that meant the while your vehicle is considered a private space, the items within your vehicle aren’t as heavily protected as those you keep in your home. For several decades, the vagueness of the rules for vehicles meant that no one, including police officers, really knew when the could and couldn’t search a vehicle.

Finally, in 2009, the Supreme Court finally took steps to clear up the cloudiness surrounding vehicle searchers. They ruled that there are three different situations in which an officer can search a car during a routine traffic stop.

If the officer pulls a vehicle over and that leads to the arrest of the driver, the officer has the right to inspect the interior and trunk of the vehicle.

If the vehicle is being impounded for some reason, the officer is allowed to inspect the vehicle, thought they’re required to make an inventory of everything found within the vehicle

If the police officer has cause to believe that the driver is involved in a crime or is transporting something dangerous/illegal, they’re within their rights to search the car. If the case goes to court, the officer will have to prove that they had probable cause. Probable cause can be established if the officer looks into the windows of the vehicle and sees drugs/stolen goods/a weapon.

If the officer does have the right to search the car, anything they find within it can be used to file charges against you, charges that will be dropped if you can prove the search wasn’t entirely legal.

pet endangerment laws

When Shouldn’t You Leave Your Pet or Child in the Car?

pet endangerment laws

With the weather heating up, we need to aware of our actions. Not staying hydrated, and staying in the sunlight too long can have serious repercussions. We have to be smart in order to survive the heat. However, it’s not just about your safety this summer that you have to be concerned about. It is also the safety of your children and pets.

Every summer, everyone is constantly reminded to stay cool and drink lots of water. This is obvious to most adults, however, what about those who cannot fend for themselves? Those are the ones we have to worry about because they are often forgotten. Leaving a child or pet in a car untended can lead to their death.

Pets are constantly at our mercy. If we don’t feed them, they starve. If we neglect them and don’t groom them, they end up with matted hair and an unhealthy coat. If we leave them in a car in 100 degree weather, they will die. It doesn’t even need to be 100 degrees, it just needs to be 70 degrees. The car windows can act as a magnifying glass. Not only will the windows amplify the heat, the metal of the car will contain the heat. Even tinted windows won’t protect your pet from the heat.

Leaving your kids in a car is similar to leaving your pet in a hot car. Young kids can’t fend for themselves, and the same is for infants. They need our protection, which is why they’re not considered adults right after birth. Leaving your child unattended in a vehicle can lead to being charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

We love our pets and children. We never mean to harm them. The best way to prevent an accident is to your research and prepare. If you know you’re going to have to run into a store to pick a few items for dinner and you have your pet with you, plan on dropping your pet off at home. If you have your child with you, plan on taking them in, even if it’s just for a few items. It may be an inconvenience, but better safe than sorry.

national waitstaff appreciation day

What is National Waitstaff Appreciation Day?

national waitstaff appreciation day

Working in a restaurant is a rite of passage for some, and for others it’s a career. Being a server in California is not a bad occupation, if you can handle crazy customers, bad jokes, and working with other people.

California is one of the few states that actually pays servers the full minimum wage. Most other states pay tip-based employees a different minimum wage, which could be as low as $2.50 an hour plus tips. The thought behind a tip-based wage is that the tips that server makes will make up the difference to the minimum wage. If a server in a tip-based wage job doesn’t make enough in tips, the restaurant then has to pay the server minimum wage. Tip-based wage servers often don’t get paid at all by the restaurant.

For servers to get tipped, they have to put up with customers. Now, not all customers are bad, but you can’t deny that we all have our little quirks. As a server you have to be prepared for everyone’s quirks. You also have to deliver the food accurately, which can be harder than you think. People often forget the server is really just the messenger, and doesn’t control the kitchen.

While people may assume a server’s job is easy, they can actually be quite difficult. First of all, not anyone can be a server. Most places require you to be 18 or 21 years old so you can serve alcoholic beverages and stay out passed 10 p.m. Not only is there an issue with age, but you also have to take several training courses about food and alcohol safety. You need a food handler’s card, which is a certification that you need to test for. Being a server may seem easy, but there’s a lot more to it than most people realize.

Besides their responsibilities, servers also need to have a good sense of humor. Between being overloaded with new tables, knowing the specials, and looking awake and clean, being a server is a high stress job. The stress of having customers yelling at you for a kitchen’s mistake, or a manger asking you to work another double because a co-worker called out, can be overwhelming.

Servers are definitely under appreciated. However, May 21st is National Waitstaff Appreciation Day. This is a great opportunity to show your favorite servers a little extra love and appreciation. Remember that you may get holidays off, or be able to be in bed by 9 p.m., but your servers don’t have that luxury. If the restaurant is open, they must be there to work. If a restaurant closes at 9 p.m. and they have guest walking in the door at 8:59 p.m. they still have to wait on them. Being a server is a temporary job for some, but it’s also a career for others. It may not be an easy job, but it is one that everyone relies on in their life.

A Bro for Life

A Bro for Life

A Bro for Life

Siblings are the best friends that can’t ignore you. They’re the only other person in the world that has the same kind of experiences growing up as you. They keep you humble, and pull pranks on you. Sisters and brothers keep our heads attached sometimes. Growing up is difficult, and having siblings helps, especially growing up with a brother.

Brothers tease you and torture you all through your life. Somehow that has made you tougher and given you an amazing sense of humor. Your brother used to drive you crazy, especially while growing up. He would tease you and keep you humble. He would point out how vain you were every time you took a picture. Brothers keep you humble to a point, but also taught you how to be stronger. Because of all his teasing, you realize that it can now take a lot to make you mad.

Brothers are there for you when you go through a breakup. They may not always act like they care about you, but they do in their own way. Whether its bad breakups or fallout’s with friends, your brother was always there for you in ways you didn’t expect. Brothers may not always be emotional, but they are protective and you’re their family.

Brothers are always going to be brothers, even in jail. If you brother is in jail or has recently been arrested, your relationship may be a strained. Just don’t forget that he is your brother and has always been there for you. It could be your turn to be there for him. He is your family after all, and he’s irreplaceable.

Siblings are great because they understand you. However, brothers have a special role in our lives. They may have pulled your hair or wrestled you to the ground, but it was secretly all for your benefit. Without the help from your brother, you may be in a different situation in life. Brothers are always brothers, and they never get a day off. They are always there for you, so why not be there for them too?

memorial day vs veterans day

Memorial Day Is Not Veterans Day

memorial day vs veterans day

There are several holidays that are prime BBQ days with the family. These holidays are typically in the summertime and give us a good excuse to eat delicious food. If we’re being honest, most of these holidays we know are important, but we’re not always clear on the meaning behind them. Plus we may even get them confused with other holidays. Like Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

If you don’t know this, you may be surprised to learn that Memorial Day is not the same thing as Veterans Day. Memorial Day always falls on the last Monday of May while Veterans Day always lands on November 11th. This separates the holidays by a whole season. One is celebrated at the start of summer, and the other is celebrated in the fall. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. Veterans Day was formed back in 1918, and coincides with Remembrance Day.

Veterans Day is a celebration of the living service members who have served. Memorial Day is about those fallen service members who died in the line of duty. However, both holidays are meant to honor service members from the first militia to the newest service members. Each holiday is about honor and paying respects to those who have served, it’s not about the food.

Both of these holidays are not about those who are currently serving and are in the military. These holidays often get confused and their meanings are misunderstood. Though it’s always a good idea to pay respects and show appreciation for current active duty members, these holidays have nothing to do with them. Veterans Day is about those who have served and are now retired from the military. Memorial Day is about those who have passed while serving.

Everyone loves to celebrate with loved ones. It’s a good excuse to come together and catch up with family members. However, if you don’t remember what holiday you’re celebrating, maybe you should take a step back. Taking a step back and educating yourself on the true meaning of the holiday you’re celebrating can help you find a new appreciation for it, and more reason to celebrate.

protetsing without getting arrested

Protesting Without Spending a Night in Jail

protetsing without getting arrested

When you stop and think about it, the United States is a country created by protesters. The pilgrims who settled on Plymouth Rock were protesting Henry the VIII’s creation of the Church of England. The members of the Boston Tea Party objected to the tea tax, and the American Revolution was basically a protest about not having representation in Parliament.

So, feeling a need to get out and protest something is perfectly acceptable. And, you’ll be glad to know that there are ways to protest without spending a night in jail.

A Year of Protest

While protests aren’t anything new, there’s no denying the fact that there have been more protests, and more media coverage of the protests, since Trump became president. People from both political parties are quick to create marches designed to advertise their personal feelings on a variety of topics. There have been times when the police have gotten involved in the protests and arrested both violent and peaceful protesters.

The Potential Cost of Getting Arrested While Protesting

On the very day that Trump was inaugurated, approximately 200 protestors were arrested. Most faced charges of felony rioting. This is a very serious charge. If convicted, a protester charged with felony rioting can spend up to 10 years in prison and be required to pay a $25,000 fine as well as paying for any damages they did during the protest.

While the high number of people arrested and the severity of the charges filed against them are scary, don’t let that prevent you from standing up for what you believe in.

Keep the Peace

Even though some peaceful people occasionally get arrested when police are forced to get involved with a protest, as long as the overall protest remains peaceful, you’ll be fine. The United States Constitution grants you the right to protest peacefully.
Make sure that everyone involved with the protest understands that it’s really important to make sure nothing gets out of hand.
Before the march or stand in begins, set some basic rules that everyone agrees to.

First, no vandalism. The urge to spray paint your message on the side of a building may be strong, but you must resist. Anything from spray painting to breaking windows is enough to bring the police running and for protesters to get arrested. Don’t assume that just because you’re not doing anything, that you won’t be arrested. In these cases, the police generally arrest every protester that’s in the area.
Be mindful of access points. While the idea of blocking traffic is often popular amoungst protesters, it’s also the kind of thing that can result in you getting charge with non-violent civil disobedience. When you’re protesting you can’t block the streets, sidewalks, or points of public access.

Know what is and isn’t private property. The only time it’s okay to protest on someone’s private property is if you have permission from the property owner. If you don’t, they can have you arrested and charged with trespassing.

If the police do show up to your protest, it’s important that you remain respectful. By being polite to the officer when they question you and ask to see your idea, you increase the chances of them letting you go, rather than putting you in the back of the squad car and taking a free trip to the city jail.