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Is That Baby Photo Going to Get You Into Trouble?

All parents, especially first-time parents, love to take photos of their babies. They don’t care how many photos they have of their child, they want more. On top of that, they don’t want to just hoard the photos for themselves, they want to share them with all of their friends and family members. Thanks to social media, this has never been easier.

Social media allows people to share all of their pictures quickly and easily with their loved ones. For the most part, this is perfectly fine. Unfortunately, there can be some trouble when it comes to baby photos. Naked baby photos are often just innocent pictures of the child, but sometimes it can lead to a parent being arrested for sexual exploitation of a minor.

What Photos Can Cause Trouble?

Parents have been taking photos of their children in all states of dress, or undress, for as long as anyone can remember. Back in the day, no one thought twice about photos of naked babies as being anything other than cute and adorable. However, nowadays things are different. There are real monsters out there who enjoy those kinds of photos way too much. Knowing this fact has put everyone on edge.

In recent years, parents have been arrested for posting what they assumed to be innocent baby photos onto their social media. The reason for the arrest being that some people viewed the naked photos as child pornography and reported it to the local authorities. This has led many people to question whether or not photos of babies in bathtubs or other various stages of undress are legal to share online.

This is a bit of a gray area in the legal world. When these types of pictures are uploaded, law enforcement, or the court, will look at the intent of the parents and the picture. A picture only counts as pornography if it is intended to provide sexual gratification. If that intent isn’t there, the picture is legally okay. This is why there can be nude diagrams in textbooks, or there can be native people in their natural state on TV.

In addition to this, it is considered a person’s First Amendment right to post photos, provided they don’t contain “lascivious exhibition of genitals or pubic areas.” Still, knowing all of this, even if a person is well within their rights to post a naked picture of their baby online, there will be people out there who will shame the parent.

Another thing to consider is that the older the child gets, the less acceptable it is to have naked photos of them. However, there is no clear cutoff line for when that changes.

Sometimes the best option is to simply not post the photo online. After all, the whole world shouldn’t see the photo anyways.

California Laws on the Matter

As far as California law is concerned, Penal Code (PC) 311 is the state child pornography law. This law makes it a crime for anyone to send, transport, duplicate, print, exchange, advertise, or possess child pornography. It also makes it illegal to hire or persuade minors to participate in making pornographic imagery.

This crime is a wobbler offense, meaning a person can face either misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the facts of the case.

As a misdemeanor, a person will face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $2,500.

As a felony, a person can face up to 3 years in a state prison.

In both instances, the person will have to register as a sex offender.

Be Careful When Posting Online

A parent can and should take as many photos of their baby as they want. For most photos, they can share them however they want. When it comes to naked photos, then they need to carefully consider what they share. Even if they never intended for the photo to be considered porn, someone else out there may think differently.

In most cases, parents who were arrested for posting naked baby photos online were released, it still isn’t fun to be arrested and accused of possessing child pornography. That accusation can mark a person for life and do irreparable damage. This is why a parent should be cautious of posting naked photos of their baby online.

What are your thoughts on parents sharing naked baby photos on social media? Should they be allowed to do it, or should they be arrested for taking the photo in the first place?

How Many Types of Restraining Orders Are There?

How Many Types of Restraining Orders Are There?

People interact with one another on a daily basis. For the most part, these interactions are fine and end with each person going their way. Unfortunately, there are some instances, where people don’t get along too well. Often when people part from bad interactions like that, they hope they will never see that other person again. Most of the time, they don’t but every once in a while, someone refuses to leave the other alone.

In those instances, one person may seek to get a restraining order against the other person. A restraining order is an official document approved by a court that prohibits one person from going near or interacting with a specified person in any way. If the person in the restraining order violates it in any way, they will face some legal consequences.

The 4 Types of Restraining Orders

There are four different types of restraining orders that a person can get. The different types are dependent on the relationship between the two people mentioned in the order. The first and most common type of restraining order is a Civil Harassment Restraining Order. This kind of order can be issued for the following reasons:

  • A credible threat of violence.
  • A pattern of behavior that reasonably scares or harasses someone.
  • Any type of violence.

If a person deals with any of this due to another individual, then they can seek to get this kind of restraining order.

The next most common type of restraining order is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. This kind of order can only be obtained between two people who share a certain relationship and there is evidence of emotional or physical abuse between the two people. The kind of relationships that qualify for this restraining order include:

  • Immediate family members.
  • Dating.
  • Have a child together.
  • Live together.
  • Married.
  • Registered domestic partners.

If the two people are in one of these relationships, or used to be in one of these relationships, but have since separated, they can get this kind of restraining order.

Next up on the list is an Elder Abuse Restraining Order. This one is a bit self-explanatory. This arises when an elder is being abused. It is important to note that the abuse doesn’t have to be physical. It can also include:

  • Abandonment.
  • Finical abuse.
  • Neglect.

If an elder is experiencing any of these from someone, then they can seek a restraining order of this kind to protect themselves from the abuser.

The last type of restraining order available in California is a Workplace Violence Restraining Order. This kind of order is requested by employers to protect one of their employees who is suffering in the workplace due to:

  • Credible threats of violence.
  • Patterns of conduct that cause reasonable fear.
  • Physical violence.
  • Serious harassment.
  • Stalking.

This kind of order can only be requested by an employer for an employee. If an employee feels that they are being harassed in the workplace then they need to get a civil harassment restraining order against the person harassing them.

All restraining orders can be of varying lengths from 1 to 5 years.

Consequences for Violating a Restraining Order

Restraining orders are meant to keep people safe from certain people who have been harassing or threatening them. Therefore, when a person doesn’t follow a restraining order’s rules, they can get into serious trouble.

Breaking a restraining order is made illegal under California Penal Code (PC) 273.6. Under this law, most violations of restraining orders are misdemeanor offenses. This means that a person faces the following when they disregard an order against them:

    • Up to 1 year in county jail.
    • A max fine of $1,000.

However, if this is not the first time the person has violated a restraining order, they could face felony charges that come with:

  • Up to 3 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $10,000.

They Keep People Safe

Not everyone gets along with every other person in the world, though in most instances, this isn’t a big deal. The two people prefer to avoid each other rather than end up in a confrontation. However, some people would rather fight and antagonize a person who just wants to be left alone. In those instances, the victim should seek a restraining order.

When a person gets a restraining order against someone, that person is ordered by the court to leave the victim alone and stay a certain distance away from them at all times. The hope is that this will keep the victim safe. If the person chooses to ignore the restraining order, then they will face legal consequences.

What are your thoughts on restraining orders and the consequences of violating them? Should the penalties be tougher for restraining orders, or are they too tough already?

What Are California’s Laws on Car Chases?

What Are California’s Laws on Car Chases?

California residents, especially those living in Southern California, are pretty used to seeing car chases on television. They happen all of the time out here, and they can be kind of entertaining. The question of how will the chase end can keep everyone glued to their screens. Will the driver give up quietly, or will the chase end in crash?

As exciting as watching a police chase may be, being in one is never a good idea. A person running from their problems never helps them solve those issues. This is definitely true for car chases. The person went from getting pulled over by one officer to being chased by an entire fleet of vehicles. On top of that, they are adding a whole lot of charges to their rap sheet for running away. Running just makes everything worse.

Running from the Police Is Illegal

No one ever wants to get pulled over. Being pulled over means getting a ticket in most cases, and in severe instances, getting arrested. Nobody wants that. Unfortunately, once an officer has a driver in their sights and is flashing their lights, the driver can’t avoid the inevitable. Trying to do so will only make things worse.

Take for instance California Vehicle Code (VC) 2800. This law makes it illegal for a person to fail to comply with a uniformed officer’s instructions, orders, or signals. When an officer flashes their lights and blares their siren that is a signal for a person to pull over. Complying with the officer is in the person’s best interests because if they don’t, they have broken this law.

Failing to pull over just adds another offense that the person will be charged with when caught. Remember, every police chase comes to an end with the person being arrested. The longer the chase takes, the worse the consequences.

Penalties for Running

Depending on how a person runs from the officer after being signaled to pull over determines what kind of consequences. If a person simply avoids stopping for the officer but doesn’t drive recklessly, then they will face charges under VC 2800.1. This law makes it illegal for a person to evade a police officer while in a vehicle. A person caught doing this will face misdemeanor charges with consequences that can include:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

If, while a person is fleeing from the police, they drive recklessly, they will face charges under VC 2800.2. This law makes it a crime to drive recklessly while evading the police. This is a wobbler offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the facts of the case and the person’s criminal record.

As a misdemeanor, a person will face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.

As a felony charge, a person will face:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.

If, while a person is fleeing, they cause serious bodily injury or kill someone, then they will face charges under VC 2800.3. This law makes it a crime to evade a police officer and cause injury or death. The consequences of this crime can vary greatly depending on the facts of the case.
For instance, if a person only caused injuries, they could face either misdemeanor or felony charges. What they face depends on the facts of the case and the person’s criminal record.

As a misdemeanor charge, a person faces:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.
  • Having the vehicle impounded.
  • Having their driver’s license suspended.

As a felony, a person will face:

  • 3, 5, or 7 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.
  • Having the vehicle impounded.
  • Having their driver’s license suspended.

If a person caused a death while evading the police, they will face felony charges that come with:

  • 4, 6, or 10 years in state prison.

It is important to remember that here in California, anyone convicted of a felony crime is prohibited from owning a gun.

Pulling Over Is the Best Option

No one likes getting pulled over and being given a ticket. However, taking the ticket is always the better option. Running from the police only makes things worse by adding more offenses for the police to charge the person with. This means a person will face more fines and jail time than they would if they just took the ticket, which doesn’t come with any jail time.

What do you think of California’s laws regarding evading police officers? Do the consequences match up to the crime, or should they be readjusted? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

Can You Smoke in Public

Can You Smoke in Public

Despite the obvious health concerns that come with smoking, there are still a lot of smokers out there in the world. An estimated 42.1 million people in the United States are smokers. This averages out to roughly 18% of all adults over the age of 18. That is a whole lot of people who still smoke.

The state of California is considered one of the leaders in anti-smoking laws and regulations. If a person violates any of these laws, then they could face fines. This makes it very important for smokers to be aware of all of these laws. A smoker needs to be very careful about where they decide to light up, or they could find themselves in trouble.

You Can’t Smoke Everywhere

Under California law, it is illegal for any person to smoke any tobacco products in an enclosed workplace. This law covers the entire state and cities and counties are not allowed to modify it. This means that is illegal to smoke in any indoor place where people work. This law even applies to people who aren’t employees of the establishment they are currently in, such as patrons at a bar. They may not work there, but other people do and so they cannot smoke in the bar.

Employers can allow smoking in certain rooms of their building if they ventilate it properly. This means pumping the air in the room directly outside, so as not to harm non-smoking employees. The ventilation system has to meet set state standards.

Hotels, and other places that host transient lodging, do have some exemptions to this law. Hotels are allowed to permit smoking in up to 65% of their rooms. Up to 25% of the hotel lobby can permit smoking as well. Smoking can be allowed in meeting and banquet halls as long as no food is present in the room.

A general rule of thumb with smoking is that if a nonsmoker is present in an area, then a smoker shouldn’t light up there. This is because nonsmokers have very little to protect themselves from secondhand smoke. This is why the state of California has adopted such strict laws.

If a person is caught smoking in a non-smoking area, they will face a $100 fine for a first-time offense, $200 for a second offense within a year, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense within a year.

Cities and counties are also permitted to ban smoking completely within their limits. Smokers should be aware of local smoking ordinances in their city to ensure they don’t get into trouble.

Don’t Litter with Cigarette Butts

Something else for smokers to consider is what they do with their cigarette butts. Despite popular beliefs that cigarette butts are just harmless bits of paper and cotton, they are very harmful to the environment. They contain thousands of chemicals within them, which is why they are considered toxic waste.

Throwing away cigarette butts on the ground is illegal here in California under Penal Code (PC) 374. This law makes it illegal to dump waste matter anywhere that isn’t a designated dump. Areas included in this description are:

  • Public and private roads.
  • Private property.
  • Public parks.

The law specifically lists all forms of cigarettes and cigars as types of waste.

If a person is caught tossing their cigarette butt onto the ground, they can face infraction charges of illegal dumping. The consequences for this crime are:

  • A fine of $250 to $1,000 for a first-time offense.
  • A fine of $500 to $1,500 for a second-time offense.
  • A fine of $750 to $3,000 for any subsequent offenses.

Be Careful Where You Light Up

Smoking is very unhealthy and a majority of the population chooses not to smoke. As such, they have the right to not breathe in harmful secondhand smoke. This is why smoking is so heavily restricted across the state of California. If a person chooses to smoke, then they need to be aware of both state and local laws. If they aren’t, they could easily earn themselves some nice fines for lighting up in the wrong area or disposing of the cigarette butt on the ground.

What are your thoughts on smoking, and California’s laws against smoking? Should smokers be allowed to light up wherever they want, or do you think there should be more restrictions? What about the penalties for smoking in non-smoking areas, are they fair, or should they be re-adjusted? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

What Counts as Looting in California?

What Counts as Looting in California?

Whenever an emergency strikes, people are bound to panic. This is only natural as systems that people have been able to rely on for their day to day lives begin to shut down. This is exactly what is happening as the COVID-19, Corona, Virus pandemic spreads across the world. In response to this virus, many non-essential systems have been shut down to reduce the spread of the disease.

Combine this with the fact that thousands, if not millions, of people have been panic stockpiling all kinds of resources, making it harder for everyone to get even the essentials, a lot of people are scared. For most people, this just means staying at home and avoiding going into public, which is what everyone should be doing anyway.

Unfortunately, there are people out there that see the deserted shopping centers and decide to use that to their advantage. These people figure that if no one is around to stop them, they can do whatever they want without fear of repercussion. However, that is not the case. Law enforcement agencies are still operating and enforcing the law. If they catch anyone looting, there will be consequences.

California’s Different Looting Laws

California state law defines the act of looting as someone committing second-degree burglary within a county or area that is currently experiencing a state of emergency due to natural or manmade disasters. This definition does include the national emergency called in response to the Corona Virus.
The following laws can all be considered looting under California law:

  • Penal Code (PC) 459 Burglary
  • PC 484 Petty Theft
  • PC 487 Grand Theft

Burglary is defined as the act of entering a house or any other building with the intent of committing larceny. In other words, burglary is the act of going into a building to steal something. First-degree burglary occurs when a person enters a residential building. Second-degree burglary occurs when a person enters a commercial building.

Petty theft is defined as wrongfully taking someone else’s property that is valued at less than $950. Grand theft is the same, except the value of the items exceeds $950.

The difference between burglary and theft is that burglary is entering a place with the intent to steal something. Theft is the actual act of stealing something. This means that a person may not be charged with theft if they try and fail to steal something, but they could still be charged with burglary for attempting to do so.

The Penalties of Looting

The penalties for looting are dependent on what particular crime the person committed. When it comes to burglary or grand theft, a person can either be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case.

Looting by burglary and looting grand theft have the same consequences. When the crimes are charged as misdemeanors, they come with:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.
  • Up to 240 hours of community service.

As a felonies, the crimes comes with:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.
  • Up to 240 hours of community service.

Petty theft looting is always a misdemeanor offense and comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.
  • Up to 80 hours of community service.

Don’t Be a Looter

Stealing is never a good idea. However, doing it during an emergency is especially horrible. People already have enough problems to deal with during an emergency, such as the spreading of a virus. They shouldn’t have to worry about people looting their homes and stores. This is why the act of looting is illegal, and it is taken very seriously.

What are your thoughts on California’s looting laws and looters in general? Do you think the laws are enough of a deterrent or should the consequences be more severe?

What Is Price Gouging?

What Is Price Gouging?

Anyone who knows about economics and the concept supply and demand knows that as demand goes up and supply struggles to keep up, prices can rise too. The more people want something, and the less of it there is, the more expensive that item becomes. This is something that a lot of people are experiencing as shortages of basic goods abound thanks to the panic caused by the COVID-19 (Corona) Virus.

As people struggle to get basic necessities, some people are taking advantage of the shortage to make a quick buck. For instance, the prices of hand sanitizer and facemasks shot up by roughly 500% on eBay. Similar practices can be found pretty much everywhere due to the virus, and while some people may think it is okay, raising prices like this during an emergency is pretty frowned upon by most people.

Is It Legal?

Here in the state of California, the act of price gouging is made illegal under the Penal Code (PC) 396. Under this law, it is illegal for someone to unjustifiably raise the prices of basic goods and services by excessive amounts during a state of emergency. As far as the law is concerned, an excessive amount is 10% or more of a price increase during an emergency compared to the prices before the emergency was declared.

The items that are protected from price gouging are mostly basic household items that families regularly need. Some of the items that are specifically listed under the law include:

  • Food and drink.
  • Pet food.
  • Toiletries.
  • Emergency supplies.
  • Diapers.
  • Batteries.
  • Radios.
  • Medical supplies.
  • Construction materials.
  • Oils and gasoline.

Services that could be essential to recovering from a disaster are also protected from price gouging. Some of these services include:

  • Transportation.
  • Storage.
  • Towing.
  • Building repairs.
  • Hotel rates.

Prices of these goods and services can legally be raised slightly to reflect shortages or an increase in the cost of labor during the emergency. In these instances, the seller or service provider will have to prove that the increased prices were necessary.
The Consequences of Price Gouging

PC 396 makes the act of price gouging a misdemeanor offense. Any seller or service provider who is caught price gouging their customers will face misdemeanor charges. The penalties for this crime are:

  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.

How to Deal with Price Gouging?

Price gouging is monitored and enforced by the California Attorney General and local district attorneys. If a person suspects that they are dealing with price gouging, then they should report the incident to their local district attorney’s office or go to the California Attorney General’s website where there is a form that can be filled out online.

During a state of emergency, such as a global pandemic, no one should have to deal with increased prices on necessary goods and services just so one bad person can make a quick buck. This is why price gouging is a crime here in the state of California.
What are your thoughts on price gouging and California’s law against it? Is it a good idea to protect people during times of emergency? Is the punishment for the crime appropriate? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

The Top 20 Safest Cities in California

The Top 20 Safest Cities in California

Then people are looking to move, they always want to make sure that the place they are moving to is safe. Figuring out if a particular city is safe or not requires a lot of work, more than the average individual can do on their own, and that’s just for one city. If a person wants to compare the safety of multiple cities, they need to look at a professionally done study.

How the List Was Created

There are several different ways that cities can be ranked in safety. Each study conducts itself a little differently than others. However, they all typically have a few similarities. Every study will examine the violent and property crime statistics for each city. What differs is how much they weigh those crimes when calculating the city’s safety.

SafeWise created its list by referencing The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. UCR is a national program in which cities all over the country report their crime statistics. This gives SafeWise numbers to work with from 2017, which are the most recent numbers to date.

To prevent smaller, outlying cities who can have drastically different crime statistics from skewing the data, SafeWise only looked at cities whose populations were over the state median. Basically, they only looked at cities that would be classified as medium or larger within the state.

When ranking the cities, SafeWise chose to prioritize violent crime rates over property crime rates. This is because violent crimes can cause physical harm to people, and are therefore typically more concerning than property crimes, which only damage property. While both types of crimes are upsetting, violent crimes are obviously worse than property crimes.

The study compared the violent crime rates per 1,000 people. If there was a tie between two cities with violent crimes, then they ranked the cities by their reported property crimes.

The Top Safest Cities

The top 20 safest cities in California according to SafeWise’s research are as follows:

  1. Danville, Violent Crimes .35 per 1,000, Property Crimes 7.83 per 1,000.
  2. Irvine, Violent Crimes .61 per 1,000, Property Crimes 13.16 per 1,000.
  3. Rancho Santa Margarita, Violent Crimes .65 per 1,000, Property Crimes 6.67 per 1,000.
  4. Yorba Linda, Violent Crimes .65 per 1,000, Property Crimes 10.36 per 1,000.
  5. Murrieta, Violent Crimes .71 per 1,000, Property Crimes 14 per 1,000.
  6. San Ramon, Violent Crimes .73 per 1,000, Property Crimes 10.48 per 1,000.
  7. Rancho Palos Verdes, Violent Crimes .78 per 1,000, Property Crimes 10.48 per 1,000.
  8. Folsom, Violent Crimes .82 per 1,000, Property Crimes 15.73 per 1,000.
  9. Laguna Niguel, Violent Crimes .82 per 1,000, Property Crimes 8.72 per 1,000.
  10. Aliso Viejo, Violent Crimes .85 per 1,000, Property Crimes 7.58 per 1,000.
  11. Chino Hills, Violent Crimes .88 per 1,000, Property Crimes 17.14 per 1,000.
  12. Eastvale, Violent Crimes .88 per 1,000, Property Crimes 21.13 per 1,000.
  13. Lincoln, Violent Crimes .92 per 1,000, Property Crimes 12.67 per 1,000.
  14. Diamond Bar, Violent Crimes 1 per 1,000, Property Crimes 18.30 per 1,000.
  15. Temecula, Violent Crimes 1.02 per 1,000, Property Crimes 22.69 per 1,000.
  16. Rocklin, Violent Crimes 1.04 per 1,000, Property Crimes 17.81 per 1,000.
  17. Mission Viejo, Violent Crimes 1.04 per 1,000, Property Crimes 10 per 1,000.
  18. Poway, Violent Crimes 1.15 per 1,000, Property Crimes 11.42 per 1,000.
  19. Pleasanton, Violent Crimes 1.17 per 1,000, Property Crimes 19.67 per 1,000.
  20. Sunnyvale, Violent Crimes 1.17 per 1,000, Property Crimes 17.31 per 1,000.

Find a Safe Place to Call Home

While this list isn’t the only one of its kind, it is one that allows a person to make a more informed decision while looking for a new home. That is all anyone wants. If a person wants to make a truly informed decisions, a person should look at multiple lists to get as much information as they can.

By doing this, a person should be able to make a good choice and find a place to live where they can feel safe.

What Is a California Stop?

What Is a California Stop?

There are lots of different rules that a driver has to follow while on the road. Failing to follow any of them can easily earn a person a ticket. Still, there are a ton of different laws, making it easy to forget one here and there. This is made even easier if most drivers forget, or chose to forget, certain laws.

One commonly forgotten or ignored law here in California revolves around something that every driver experiences daily: the stop sign. Stop signs are everywhere and it is rare for a driver to go anywhere without encountering at least one. One might think this would make it impossible for people to forget about the rule regarding stop signs, but that is not the case. So many people here in California have either forgotten, or choose to conveniently ignore, the rule regarding the red octagonal sign.

The Sign Says Stop

If a person has ever talked to another individual about driving before, they’ve likely heard of the term: California Stop. The practice wasn’t invented in California, and the name does seem to change from region to region, but this is one of the most common names for the practice of rolling stops here in California.

A rolling stop occurs when a driver comes up to a stop sign, and instead of doing as instructed, slows down to a crawl. They roll for a bit, then proceed. Their vehicle never actually stopped, which is illegal. Despite that fact, thousands upon thousands of drivers are guilty of committing California stops daily.

This creates an unnecessary risk for other drivers and pedestrians as well. When people see a car approaching a stop sign, they expect it to stop. They plan on the vehicle stopping and when it doesn’t, that’s when accidents can occur.

The sign is pretty clear on what drivers are supposed to do. It does not say, slow down and proceed. It says stop. This means a driver always needs to come to a complete stop at these signs. A driver should stop their vehicle, so that their wheels aren’t moving at all, count to 3, then proceed if the intersection is clear and it is their turn.

If a driver doesn’t do this, they run the risk of causing an accident, and of getting a ticket.

California Vehicle Code 22450

Here in California, drivers are required to stop under Vehicle Code (VC) 22450. This law states simply that all drivers need to stop for stop signs. The vehicle has to come to a complete stop behind the first of the following:

  • The limit line,
  • The outer edge of the crosswalk,
  • Or before entering the street.

For those unaware, the limit line is the white line that cuts across the road near a stop sign to tell people where to stop.

Some drivers don’t see a major problem with rolling stops, and so they expect officers to let them off with a warning. However, that is rarely the case. As mentioned before, the sign tells a driver exactly what they are supposed to do. When a person fails to stop, even if they slowed down, the law sees the act as running a stop sign. This means the person will receive a traffic ticket when caught. This ticket comes with:

  • Roughly a $230 fine.
  • 1 point on the driver’s record.

If a driver accumulates too many points on their driver’s record within too short a period, they can be labeled a negligent driver. This means the state can either suspends the driver’s license or revoke it entirely.

Even if a person doesn’t acquire too many points on their record to warrant a suspension, each time they gain a point they can expect to receive higher car insurance rates.

Don’t Worry About Being Late

Rolling stops happen when people are in a rush and are more concerned with getting wherever they are going than with safety. The driver is being selfish. Being late doesn’t matter if the driver ends up killing themselves on the way to their destination. Everyone should remember the rules of the road and follow them, even if they are running late or are in a hurry. This way, everyone gets where they are going safely.

What are your thoughts on rolling stops? Are they nothing to be concerned about, or are they a bigger deal than people realize? Should drivers get tickets for committing a rolling stop?

Is It Possible to Steal a Pet?

Is It Possible to Steal a Pet?

When it comes to owning pets, most people view their furry companions as a part of the family. If anything were to happen to their pet, they would be very upset. Luckily for them, the law is on their side, at least partially. If a person were to take another person’s pet, that can actually be considered theft here in California.

Pets Are Considered Property

The state of California, and most other states, view pets as the property of their owner. This means that if a person takes another person’s animal, they can be charged with petty or grand theft, depending on the value of the animal. Obviously, stealing is bad and no one should ever do it, especially when the “item” being stolen is someone’s beloved pet.

If an animal is valued at over $950, the person who took the animal will face a charge of grand theft. This can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the person’s criminal record and the facts of the case. A misdemeanor comes with up to 1 year in county jail. A felony can get a person anywhere from 16 months to 3 years in county jail.

If the animal was valued at less than $950, then the person will be charged with petty theft. Petty theft is a misdemeanor offense that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

Is It Stealing If You Found It?

What if a person finds a lost animal and falls in love with it, only to later learn that its owners are looking for it? If the person keeps the animal then, is it still stealing? There aren’t a lot of reported cases of this happening, but the answer is probably yes. If a person is knowingly keeping something from its rightful owner and depriving them of the joy of interacting with that item, that is stealing under California law. That is what would be happening if a person were to ignore lost posters for an animal that they found.

However, if the person didn’t know the animal is lost, then they didn’t steal it because they aren’t intentionally keeping the pet from its rightful owner.

The bottom line is, if someone finds a lost animal, they should make an effort to find its home for a while before deciding to adopt it for themselves. After a reasonable amount of time, if no one comes looking for the animal, then they can probably keep it.

The Downside to Pets as Property

The flip side of viewing pets as property is that a person likely won’t get much compensation if someone intentionally harms or kills their pet. This is because, as property, pets are only valued at the price for which the owner paid for the animal. Anyone who has bonded with an animal will say that that is too little of a price for the death or injury of a loved one. Most pet owners wouldn’t trade their companions for one million dollars.

Due to this fact, there is a growing movement to view pets not as property, but as companions. This way, if someone’s animal is harmed, pet owners can get proper compensation for the devastating loss of a beloved companion.

Pets Are Part of the Family

Any pet owner will tell you that their furry friend is as much a member of the family as the people within it. Pets truly are amazing like that. They are animals that do not speak our language, and yet create bonds with the people they live alongside. They are there for their owners when they are down, and there to share in all of the excitement of any event. They are always by their owner’s side.

Every pet owner agrees that if anything were to happen to their pet, they would be devastated. Do you agree? Do you think keeping a lost pet that someone is looking for is considered stealing? Do you agree with the state law of viewing pets as property?

Can You Get Into Trouble for Letting Your Kid Pee in Public?

Can You Get Into Trouble for Letting Your Kid Pee in Public?

Experienced parents all know that raising children is no easy task. A parent never really knows how their child is going to behave at any given moment. This is especially true for youngsters. Their moods and needs can change from moment to moment and no matter how hard a parent may try to prepare, they can still be caught off guard.

One particular incident that can arise with younger children, especially during potty-training, is the child needing to go to the bathroom and not being able to find an available toilet nearby. When little ones say they need to go, they need to go. They can’t hold it like adults do. This can lead to parents having to face a tough decision: Do they let their child pee in public to avoid an accident? If they do, could they get into trouble with the law?

Public Urination Law

Here in California, it is a crime for a person to urinate in a public place. The act is made illegal under state law and typically under local city ordinances too. This is because public urination leads to an increase in the spread of diseases and adds understandable health concerns. This also negatively affects the area and local businesses since the smell tends to keep people away.

If a person is caught urinating in public, they can face either infraction or misdemeanor charges depending on where the incident occurred. If a person is charged with an infraction under a city ordinance, then they face a small fine between $100 and $500, depending on the city. As a misdemeanor charge under a city ordinance, a person faces:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

If the person is charged under Penal Code (PC) 372, the state’s public nuisance law, they will face misdemeanor charges that come with:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $500.

Potty-Training on the Go Isn’t Easy

When it comes to kids urinating in public, especially toddlers, the laws are a bit laxer. While the laws against public urination don’t typically mention young children, most law enforcement officers aren’t going to arrest a child, or their parent, for letting the little one pee in public. Most adults understand that when toddlers have to go, the need to go. However, there are those officers out there who might issue citations.

Just because a person might not get into trouble with the law does not mean they should allow their child to do so. As mentioned earlier, urinating in public helps spread diseases and it leaves a nasty odor in the air no matter how well the parent might clean up.

On top of the general hygiene concerns, allowing a child who is in the midst of potty-training to go wherever they want, whenever, can send mixed messages to the child. This can confuse the child and actually lead to more accidents in the future.

As stressful as these kinds of situations can be for a parent, they are bound to happen during potty-training. Some tips on how to handle these accidents, because there will be a lot, include:

  • Keeping an extra set of clothes. Parents should continue to carry an extra set of clothes for their toddlers with them until the potty-training is well behind them. This way, they will have a spare set in case of accidents.
  • Use Pull-Ups. Disposable training pants may be a crutch for some kids who are going through potty-training, however, they can also be very helpful under special circumstances. If a parent is planning on taking their child on a long car ride, or on long city trips, using the disposable training pants might be wise.
  • Use a portable potty. These can be very handy in allowing children to discreetly go in the car while running errands around town.

Toddlers Need to Go When They Need to Go

While it is highly unlikely that a parent will get into any serious trouble for allowing their child to go in public, it is often best to avoid the practice. Allowing children to urinate wherever can confuse them and risks everyone’s health and safety. Plus, one never knows if they will run into that one cop who has no understanding of how desperate a situation it is when a toddler needs to go to the potty.

What are your thoughts on children peeing in public places? Is it acceptable in certain emergency situations, or not? Should the parents be fined for allowing their kids to do that?

How to Properly Pull Over

How to Properly Pull Over

When a person is driving, there are a lot of things that they don’t want to happen. One of the big ones is getting pulled over by the police. When this happens, it means that the driver has done something wrong and is probably going to get a ticket. That is something no driver wants.

When a person is pulled over by the police, there are certain things they should and shouldn’t do. If a driver makes a mistake and does the wrong thing, they could get into more trouble. To help a person avoid getting into any extra trouble for what was probably just a small traffic violation, here is what a person should do when getting pulled over.

What to Do When Pulled Over

When a driver looks in their rearview mirror and sees a law enforcement vehicle flashing its lights at them alongside blaring their siren, they need to pull over. Regardless of what lane a person is driving in, they need to pull over to the right shoulder of the road, or into the nearest parking lot if it is a viable option. This needs to be done quickly, but safely. It is also recommended that a driver activate their hazard signals to indicate to the officer that they are going to pull over.

Once the person has pulled over, they should turn off their car’s engine, roll down their window, and turn on their interior lights if it is night. They should also extinguish their cigarette or get rid of the gum they are chewing just to be polite. As frustrating as it can be to get pulled over, it is important to remember that the officer is just doing his/her job. Being polite and understanding could help a person avoid getting a ticket.

While a person may not have any intention to harm an officer, the officer approaching the vehicle doesn’t know that. To avoid putting the officer on edge, a person should refrain from trying to get their license and registration before the officer arrives. Instead, the person should keep their hands on the wheel until the officer gets to the window. Once the officer is there, a person should listen to every order and do as they are told.

Never get out of a vehicle unless instructed to do so by the officer.

If the officer has reason to believe there might be contraband in the car, they can search the vehicle. However, they can only do that with good reason.

When an officer asks if the driver knows why they were pulled over, it is typically because they are trying to get the person to admit their guilt. Once a person does that, they cannot fight the ticket. No matter how a person decides to answer that question and any others, they should keep everything short and to the point. Again, they should also be very polite, or they could make the situation worse for themselves.

What If the Car Is Unmarked?

Sometimes, officers use unmarked vehicles when they are out on patrol. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be much of a problem. Unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect. There are bad people out there that try to pretend to be police officers to take advantage of innocent drivers. Due to this fact, a person needs to be cautious when an unmarked vehicle is signaling for them to pullover.

If a person is concerned about the legitimacy of the vehicle, they should not stop right away. Instead, they should signal that they have seen the request by activating their hazards and slowing their speed. However, they should not stop until they can get to a public, well-lit area. Once stopped, keep the doors locked and only open the window a crack.

A good idea in these situations is to call 911 and talk to the dispatcher. Walk them through everything that is going on and where this is taking place. From there, the person can also ask that a marked vehicle be sent to them.

If the person in the unmarked vehicle is behaving in an odd, aggressive, or just generally unprofessional manner, ask to see their badge. If they refuse, the driver should tell them they are calling 911 and then do that, unless they’ve done it already. If the person runs, don’t follow them. Instead, try to get their vehicle’s license plate number and as much information about the car and person as possible. Then give all of that information to the police.

Real police officers understand this fear and need for caution. They will not penalize someone for not pulling over right away to an unmarked vehicle, or for asking for a marked car to show up.

Stop and Listen to Avoid Trouble

If the person conducts themselves accordingly, they will probably still get a ticket. However, by being polite and courteous, a driver does increase their chances of getting off with a warning. If a person disregards all of this and instead decides to argue with the officer and be generally uncooperative, they increase their chances of getting into much worse trouble. That is something no driver wants. Often it is best to just take the ticket.

Is Prop 47 Helping or Hurting California?

Is Prop 47 Helping or Hurting California?

Back in 2014, California voters chose to enact Proposition 47. Prop 47 was billed as a way of making the punishment aspect of law and punishment fairer for many nonviolent offenses. With the passing of this proposition, certain crimes were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.

By doing this, politicians hoped to reduce the number of inmates in incarceration and save the state some money. The saved money would then be directed toward different services in an attempt to prevent people from turning to crime in the first place and help rehabilitate those that had. Unfortunately, after 6 years, it is beginning to look more and more like the idea backfired.

What Prop 47 Was Meant to Do?

Prop 47’s primary concern was dealing with the overcrowding of California’s jail and prison systems. It did this by reducing certain nonviolent offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. Some of these crimes included:

  • Shoplifting,
  • Petty theft,
  • Receiving stolen property,
  • Forgery,
  • Passing bad checks,
  • And possession of narcotic controlled substances.

In 2015, a report authored by one of the co-authors of Prop 47 stated that California’s prison population had been reduced by 13,000, saving the state roughly $150 million. This seems to indicate that Prop 47 succeeded in doing what its authors set out to do.

As far as the saved money going toward programs to help reduce crime and provide drug rehabilitation, the money for that just started going out in 2017. The Board of State and Community Corrections approved to hand out a reported $103 million to just 23 programs that showed the most promise across the state.

What People Are Seeing Happen

There have been several studies on the effects of Prop 47 since its passing. The results of the studies frequently vary on whether the reform helped or harmed the state of California.

Many law enforcement agencies claim that Prop 47 has made it easier for career criminals to get away with crimes. Nowadays, as long as a person steals less than $950, they won’t face any jail time. They can be back on the streets after an arrest in just a few hours, ready to commit more crimes, and that is if the person even gets arrested in the first place.

Many people who have been victims of theft in the state have been shocked to learn how local law enforcement agencies react to the incidents these days. More often than not, police will be slow to respond to reports of petty theft and shoplifting, if they respond at all. This is often due to one of two reasons:

  • They are too busy to deal with what is now a small crime.
  • Catching the thief won’t actually stop the thief.

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When a person’s cries for help go unheard, it breaks their trust in the criminal justice system.

Many police officers and sheriffs view Prop 47 as a get out of jail free card. As long as crooks stay under that $950 threshold, they won’t face any consequences. In at least one instance, a thief was caught going through a store with a calculator to ensure he/she didn’t exceed that magic number.

Residents and law enforcement officers aren’t the only ones noticing the trends. Many retailers, including Target, Rite Aid, and CVS are also reporting that incidents of shoplifting in their California stores have increased anywhere from 15 to 50% since the passing of Prop 47 in 2014.

As of 2019, organized retail theft was shown to be on the rise in California. Organized retail theft, for those unaware, is where gangs create an organized business of stealing from retailors and then reselling the stolen goods.

Who Did Prop 47 Really Help?

A study conducted by UC Irvine in 2018 claimed that the increase in crime rates wasn’t caused by Prop 47. The only thing Prop 47 did was “cause less harm and suffering to those charged with crime.” The study used comparisons to other states who had similar trends in crime statistics to back up its claims that the rise in crimes in California wasn’t due to the passing of Prop 47.

While criminals might not be suffering from the effects of Prop 47, many innocent people are. The victims of these increased thefts have taken notice of the fact that their calls for help are going ignored. While they try to voice their concerns to their local authorities, there is little the police or sheriffs can do until the laws are changed. Prop 47 doesn’t care how many times a person is accused or convicted of a crime, it only cares about the one particular crime.

What are your thoughts on Prop 47 and the crime rates here in California? Do you think Prop 47 helped, or has it only made things worse? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.