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There is No Minimum Age to Get Married in California

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Most people get married when they are adults and are more financially stable. However, there are some people who get married at a younger age, like when they are in college or in their mid-twenties. There are even people who choose to get married when they are in high school, or younger! As shocking as it can be to imagine yourself being married at such a young age, it is not illegal in California.

Most states have a minimum age requirement to get hitched, but California does not. Anyone in California can get married at any age, although anyone under the age of 18 would need to:

  • Get parental consent
  • Get a court order
  • See a pre-marriage counselor
  • Have copies of their birth certificate
  • Apply for a marriage license with a parent present
  • Appear before a judge

One of the main reasons California chose not to enforce a minimum age to get married is because it allows pregnant minors to marry, if they so wish. Needing parental and court consent helps regulate the idea of marriage so that no one is being forced or tricked into an unhealthy and abusive marriage. For example, a man cannot force the teen he got pregnant into marriage unless her parents and the court give their consent. If he is also under 18, he would need parental consent as well. Furthermore, a mother cannot force her pregnant teenage daughter to marry the father of the baby if the girl’s father does not consent. There are multiple points of protections in this manner. However, if all parties are happy with their relationships with each other and it is a healthy relationship between the two minors, they can get married as long as their parents and the court give them permission.


Any man or woman who is at least 18 years of age would not need parental consent to get married.


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Soon, Marijuana May be Smoked at Fairgrounds

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It has been over half a year since Californians voted to legalize marijuana for the state. However, in the public eye, it seems like there has been no change in the ability, freedom, and ease of growing, using, selling, and purchasing it. This is because the state first needs to lay out all the regulations, and they have until January 1, 2018 to do this. Since the November election, bills have been moving through legislation so the state is certainly working to meet their deadline. One bill that just passed the Senate is Assembly Bill 110.


Assembly Bill 110 mentions the use of marijuana at select local and state fairgrounds. This would mean California could have dedicated weed festivals that essentially act like a music festival, except instead of purchasing a ticket to listen to music, people would purchase tickets to legally buy marijuana and smoke it at one collective location with others who are there to enjoy the same thing. Privately-owned venues such as the Pomona Fairplex would be exempt from the bill.


Supporters like this because it is a way for people to gather and smoke marijuana legally, safely, and away from the public who would rather not inhale or smell marijuana. Nonetheless, there are people who are not too thrilled about the idea of marijuana festivals and the bill.

Assembly Bill 110 is not yet 100% passed, as it still must get approvals from other government departments. As we wait to hear more on that, we can look at what we do know will regulate legalized marijuana:

  • Penalties for most marijuana related offenses will be reduced from felonies to misdemeanors, and prior offenders can file to have their record changed to reflect this.
  • Driving while smoking marijuana will be a DUI, as it has always been.
  • Marijuana must be in a closed container when being transported.
  • Anyone 21 and over may possess and use up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
  • Anyone 21 and over may grow up to 6 marijuana plants in their home.
  • Just like cigarettes cannot be smoked in public places such as restaurants, marijuana cannot be either.

These are just a handful of rules that are in effect now or will be put into effect soon. The state has many more complex regulations to get through, and we will learn them all by January 1, 2018.

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Is Gambling Legal in California?

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The world of American sports is electrifying. There is no shortage of sports to appeal to the crowd. There’s football, basketball, golf, swimming, cycling, sailing, and so many more options. If you really know sports, you know that there is always some major sporting event happening. This means that there are plenty of opportunities to try and make the events a little more eventful by placing bets.

There are rules and regulations that Californians must follow when it comes to betting on sporting events, including the following:

  • It is legal to place bets.
  • It is illegal to take a bet or be a bookie.
  • It is illegal for an athlete and a bettor to conspire, where the athlete will intentionally rig or throw a game in order for the bettor to win. People who do this can face prison time and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Refs, umpires, and other in-game officials are not allowed to take bribes. Both the person who offers the bribe and the official can be put into jail and pay a $10,000 fine.

Forms of legal gambling in California include the lottery, gambling on horse races, and going to Indian/ Native American casinos. Other casinos are now allowed in California, but Native American ones are permitted because they are built on sovereign Native American land. Card tables and slot machines can be found in these casinos, and anyone who is of legal age to gamble, is allowed to do so inside these casinos.


A word of caution: although the minimum age to gamble is 18, many Native American casinos actually require patrons to be at least 21 to enter the premises because they serve alcohol.


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Turn the Noise Down or Get a Visit from the Police

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Now that summer is here, your weekends are filling up fast with parties at your place and your friends’ places. That means you need to have a pumped up playlist of the latest chart topping songs, a fridge full of alcohol, and the most down to earth friends. In addition to those party necessities, you also need to be mindful of your neighbors. They may not enjoy the loudness coming from your home or backyard at midnight. You could also be breaking the law if you are making too much noise so late at night.


Each city and county sets their own “quiet times” during which, people cannot be making excessive noise, such as having a party or doing construction work. Generally in California, quiet hours on weekdays would be between 10 or 11 pm to 7 or 8 am. On the weekends, it is typically between 11 pm or midnight until 8 or 10 am. These quiet hours do not mean you have to turn off your music and send your guests home, but you will need to turn the volume way down and perhaps move the party indoors.


The day before the party, it would be polite and courteous of you to let your neighbors know that you will be having friends over for a party. Let them know you will keep everything under control and will be mindful of the noise. If they have a complaint of excessive noise, encourage them to come knock on your door or give you a call so you can personally handle the issue immediately.

In some instances, a neighbor will make a call to the police about the noise. The police will come knock on your door and warn you to keep it down. If the police have to come back a second or third time, then they will be more inclined to shut your party down and issue you a citation. Remember that although the police may be responding to a noise complaint, they will also be on the lookout for alcohol and drug use. They may even sit outside in their patrol cars for a little bit to monitor your party and watch out for any drunken party guests deciding to get behind the wheel to head home.

Be courteous when planning your party. It should not take too much extra work on your end. As long as you play by the rules, you and your party guests will have an enjoyable time, and your neighbors will not be disturbed.

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Legalized Marijuana: What to Expect

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It has been about 6 months since Californians voted to legalize marijuana. However, full legalization has yet to kick in. In fact, it will not fully kick in until 2018. With that said, not many people know the timeline and what has and has not changed yet, nor do they know what full legalization really means for California.

Prop 64 was passed last year and will legalize marijuana usage for adults who are at least 21 years of age. California has until January 1, 2018 to get their regulations in order because that is when businesses can begin applying for licenses so they can legally grow and sell marijuana.

The following is a list of the many changes and laws that will be taking affect at the start of next year.

  • Driving while under the influence of marijuana will be illegal, as it currently is. Plus, marijuana must be stored in a closed container when the driver is behind the wheel.
  • Most felony penalties for growing, selling, transporting, or possessing marijuana will be reduced to misdemeanors. In addition, prior offenders are allowed to petition to have their criminal record changed to reflect a misdemeanor charge rather than a felony.
  • Legal-aged persons will be allowed to carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana or 8 grams of concentrates.
  • Legal-aged persons will be allowed to grow up to 6 plants at their residence.
  • Anyone who purchases marijuana from a licensed retailer in 2018 will also be charged a 15% tax.
  • It is illegal to smoke a cigarette in a public place. Marijuana will follow the same suit. It will also be illegal to possess marijuana on school property.
  • Minors under the age of 18 would in no case face imprisonment if they were to be caught growing, selling, transporting, or possessing marijuana. Alternatively, they would have to take a drug education course and perform community service. Adults 18-20 on the other hand can possibly face prison time.
  • Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, possessing marijuana on federal property within California will remain illegal. This means that if someone goes camping in a California national park and is caught smoking marijuana, they are breaking the law and will be arrested.

These are just a handful of new regulations that California is getting ready for come January 1, 2018. You can expect that there will be more. Legalizing marijuana does not mean that it is a free for all to use. It is still a drug that needs to be used with responsibility, caution, and regards to others who are less favorable of it.


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The Differences Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

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When a person takes something from another without permission, it is called theft, robbery, or burglary. You think to yourself, “those three words all mean the same thing. They are synonyms for each other.” In the broad sense, this is true. However, each of these are distinct crimes under California law that are related, yet still differ from each other.

    Theft

    For a crime to be classified as theft, a person would be taking property that does not originally belong to him or herself. During this incident, there is no person-to-person interaction. For example, if John walks by an apartment building and notices a wallet on the stairs that someone had dropped. Taking it and walking away would be a crime of theft because John never interacted with the owner of that wallet, or anyone else for that matter.

    If the value of the stolen items is less than $400, it is considered petty theft. If the value is worth more than $400, it is called grand theft. Depending on this and other circumstances, theft can be charged as an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony.

    Robbery

    A robbery is when there is person-to-person interaction when a person is trying to take an item that does not belong to them. The person may use force, intimidation, or coercion in order to gain control of the item. If John walks by an apartment building and sees a woman going through her wallet, taking it directly from this woman would be a robbery.

    Robberies are charged as felonies. Depending on the circumstances, it would either be a first degree robbery or a second degree robbery.

    Burglary

    Burglary differs more from theft and robbery, and it is when a person trespasses and enters private property with the intention of committing a crime. However, even if no property was taken or there was no person-to-person interaction, the person would still be charged with a burglary because they had trespassed. If John breaks into the apartment building, it is a burglary regardless if he took that wallet or not, and regardless if he encountered that woman or not.

    If a person breaks into a residence, they would be charged with a first degree felony for burglary. If they break into any other buildings like stores or office buildings, they would be charged second degree burglary. This can either be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.


In many cases, someone who is arrested for theft, robbery, or burglary may have the opportunity to post bail. To do so, they should get in contact with the professionals at Penny Bail Bonds in San Bernardino at 866-736-6977 or online.


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Odd Alcohol Laws in California

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Compared to other states, California is pretty generous when it comes to alcohol. You can buy it at practically any grocery, liquor, and convenience store. You can even buy it at retailers like Target and Walmart. You can buy it at nearly any hour of the day, even on Sundays. Soon, last call could be extended from 2 am to 4 am. In other states, alcohol is not sold at all these types of stores, and sales may be prohibited on Sundays. This does not mean Californians turn the other cheek when it comes to alcohol consumption. This state still has plenty of laws that are meant to encourage safe and responsible drinking and curb DUIs.

In fact, California even has some very particular alcohol laws.

  • For stores that sell both fuel and alcohol, the alcohol must be displayed at least 5 feet from the cash register.
  • Homebrewers and winemakers may produce only 100 gallons of product per year. If the household has 2 or more adults, the product allowance per year increases to 200 gallons.
  • Restaurant servers can be cited if they fail to check for proper identification when a patron wants an alcoholic drink. The restaurant owners can get in trouble, but so can the server.
  • If you have a beer growler and would like it filled with a beer other than the one that is labeled on the growler, then that old/ existing label must be covered with a new one that includes the brewery and the name of the beer.
  • Wherever alcohol is sold, employees are barred from wearing clothes that expose the “cleft of the buttocks,” “any portion of pubic hair,” “and any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.”
  • Anyone driving into California from Mexico can bring up to 1 liter of alcohol duty-free with them.

A final interesting tidbit regarding alcohol and California is that most stores in California will not accept alcohol returns. This however, is not an official state law, but your chances of finding a store that will refund your alcohol purchase are slim.


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The Rules of Fireworks

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For anyone who is starting to plan their July 4 activities, do not forget the fireworks! It is always great watching the big fireworks show that is planned for the general public, but at some point you get tired of going early to find parking and snag a good spot. Besides, this year, your friend is hosting a party and you do not want to miss it. This party still needs fireworks because what is a 4th of July celebration without them? If you plan on bringing some fireworks to your friend’s party, make sure you know what is and is not allowed. The last thing you want is for somebody to get hurt and the police to shut you guys down.


Fireworks are categorized as either “dangerous fireworks” or “safe and sane fireworks.”


Dangerous Fireworks
In order to purchase and use dangerous fireworks, you must have a special license. Basically, the general public cannot purchase dangerous fireworks. Those who put on the official fireworks show for the general public can. These individuals have that special display license needed. Plus, purchasers with the special display license must be at least 18 years old.

Safe and Sane Fireworks
The general public can purchase safe and sane fireworks, but only from licensed sellers and only between June 28 and July 6 each year. Anyone who wishes to purchase any safe and sane fireworks must be at least 16 years old.

There are penalties if someone disobeys any firework laws in California. They include up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Most violations are classified as a misdemeanor, but charges can increase to a felony if it involves dangerous fireworks and/ or an incident occurred that caused injury or even death. Felonies are punishable with more time in prison and thousands of dollars in fines, not to mention whatever you would need to pay for medical bills and legal fees.

In order to avoid accidents caused by fireworks, there are certain practices to follow. For example, legally purchased safe and sane fireworks should be used outdoors and away from trees and bushes that can catch fire. They should also be used away from sources of gas and other flammable items and materials. Responsible and mature individuals should be the ones using them, and children need to be supervised. Fireworks come with safety instructions so make sure to read those carefully.

California counties may have additional fireworks laws that differ from each other so make sure you understand what is and is not allowed where you are. Fireworks are a spectacle that everyone wants to enjoy. It would be awful to be the one to ruin the fun, so educate yourself so everyone can share in the fun.

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Will the Cops Need a Warrant for Cell Phone Tracking?

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Unless given permission by the owner, cops need a warrant in order to search a person’s home, belongings, vehicle, mail, etc. Now in the digital age, cops also need a warrant to search laptops, tablets, and cell phones. As our dependency on our cell phones continue to rise, so has a new question: do the police need a warrant to search the movements of a cell phone? This is a topic that the Supreme Court will be debating on later this year.

Today, we are in the digital age. 95% of Americans own a cell phone, which is carried with them wherever they go. When someone needs to make a call or send a text off of their cell phone, they are connected on their network carrier through a nearby antenna tower. If a person moves, their connection switches to the next tower, and so on. This network connection route is logged by the cell phone company.


The police can use this information to learn about a person’s precise movements from one location to another.


They can see if a caller stayed in one location for the duration of a call or if they traveled from one building to another, blocks away. This is useful information to them if they are conducting an investigation. At the same time, opponents would argue that cell phone movement tracking is an invasion of privacy.

Cell phones are personal items that hold countless private details, including details that people would not even think of, such as their daily movements. Due to this, and because we continue to advance our cell phone technology for usefulness and convenience, the Supreme Court has not ignored all pleas for digital privacy and protection. They have already declared that the police need a warrant to search and seize cellphones and emails, for example. Debating on whether the cops need a warrant to gain access to a cell phone’s movements would just be the latest discussion point for them to consider.

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Fireworks Laws You Need to Follow

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The 4th of July is marked with reds, whites, and blues, barbecue food, and fireworks. This holiday, America’s birthday, is one of those few special times of the year that people can celebrate with fireworks, and it is the only time of the year to actually purchase them, believe it or not. This 4th of July, make sure you are up to date on California’s fireworks laws if you plan on using them at your own party. The laws are easy to understand and follow, and will still allow you to have more than enough fun and excitement.

  • There are “Safe and Sane” fireworks and there are “Dangerous” ones. It is illegal for anyone to sell or purchase dangerous fireworks unless the person holds a special pyrotechnic license.
  • The only individuals who are allowed to purchase, own, and use “dangerous” fireworks are those with the special permit. It is illegal for this individual to sell or give away these fireworks to anyone, including friends and family.
  • A person must be at least 16 years of age to purchase “safe and sane” fireworks. They may only purchase from licensed retailers between June 28 and July 6 each year.
  • It is illegal for anyone to sell fireworks anytime outside of June 28 to July 6. If a retailer does not sell out within that period, they have no choice but to store it until that same period next year.
  • The state of California has fireworks laws, but then each county within the state may have additional fireworks laws. Wherever you are for the 4th of July, read up on the county’s laws.

Understanding and following fireworks laws is only going to provide half of the fun on the 4th of July. The other half will come from handling the fireworks properly, such as keeping them stored in a safe location, and allowing only those who are responsible and old enough to discharge them according to the printed directions. Every year the news picks up on some stories about mishandled fireworks that caused injury or death. That is not an outcome anyone wants after the 4th of July. Avoid the risk of this happening by using the fireworks safely.


In preparation for your 4th of July party, throw on all your red, white, and blue clothes, fire up the grill, invite all your friends and family, and prevent the need for any police and medical attention by using your “safe and sane” fireworks properly.