bail bonds

Strange Laws from California

bail bonds

When people think about laws, they often think about sensible rules that make sense. However, it is important to remember that laws are made by people, and this means that some real nonsense can be made into actual laws that govern the people. This is true of every country, state, and city. California is no exception.

The Golden State is home to its own bits of weirdness thanks to some odd laws. Many of these laws were created long ago, and as such, show their age. Others are a little more recent, and while it may be possible to see what the lawmaker was going for, the wording of the law isn’t quite right.

Why Are These Even Laws?

California became a state on September 9, 1850. Over the last 170 year period, a lot of laws have been enacted and removed across the state’s 160,000 square miles. Some of the laws have made sense, such as don’t steal from people and don’t kill each other. Others are a bit stranger. Some of the weirder laws that are still technically active in California include:

  • A person can only wear cowboy boots in Blythe if they own two or more cows.
  • A person cannot wash someone else’s car without the owner’s permission in Los Angeles.
  • Cursing on a golf course in Long Beach is illegal.
  • Detonating a nuclear device in Chico will result in a $500 fine.
  • Flying a kite higher than 10 feet is illegal in the city of Walnut.
  • Garages in San Francisco are meant for storing personal vehicles and nothing else.
  • In California, it is illegal for women to drive cars while wearing housecoats.
  • In San Francisco, ugly people are not allowed to walk down the street.
  • It is illegal to drive in reverse in Glendale.
  • It is illegal to pour salt on Hermosa Beach streets.
  • Men and boys are not allowed to dress as women in Walnut unless it is for a play, or they receive a permit from the sheriff.
  • Peacocks always have the right of way in Arcadia.
  • San Diego homeowners can be fined $250 for having their Christmas lights up after February 2nd.
  • Vehicles without drivers cannot drive over 60 mph.
  • Visitors of Fresno city parks are prohibited from bothering lizards.
  • Women may not wear high heels in Carmel city limits.

What Are the Penalties?

With how easily broken some of these laws can be, some people may wonder what would happen to them if they did break any of these laws. Luckily, the enforceable laws are pretty unknown by most law enforcement agents. Even if they do know about these laws, no one in their right mind would fault someone for breaking these laws.

The only law on the above list that will result in penalties, and rightfully so, is detonating a nuclear device within Chico city limits. However, the consequences for doing so will probably be more than just a $500 fine. The person will have to pay $501, at least.

These Laws Are Still in the Books

What seems to happen with a lot of these odd laws, is that they just get laughed at and forgotten. No one in this day and age is going to fine someone for wearing cowboy boots when they don’t own a cow, or arrest a woman for wearing high heels. Most of these laws are so outlandish that a person has nothing to worry about. These laws serve only as jokes at this point.


What Is Money Laundering and Why Is It Illegal?

Money laundering

Everyone is aware of the obvious fact that committing crimes is illegal. What can often get people into trouble is not knowing which acts are considered illegal in the first place. This leads to people doing something they thought was okay and then winding up in trouble with the law.

For instance, people are aware that stealing money from someone else is bad. However, many people do not realize that just depositing illegally gained money into a bank account is illegal. While it sounds a little, silly, there is a good reason for this.

The Definition of Money Laundering

The act of depositing illegally gotten money into a bank account, or any other legitimate institution, is called money laundering. This is a reference to how the person depositing the dirty money, because it was obtained from criminal activity, is trying to “clean” it by putting it to use in legitimate institutions such as banks and other businesses.

This crime is made illegal under 2 California laws: Penal Code (PC) 186.10 and Health and Safety Code (HS) 11370.9. The reason for the two different laws is the distinction between how the money was obtained. HS 11370.9 is only concerned with money that was obtained through all drug crimes. PC 186.10 covers money from any other type of crime.

Both of these crimes require specific intent or knowledge of criminal activity. In other words, money laundering can only occur when a person is knowingly trying to “clean” the money by placing it into a financial institution.

Why Is Money Laundering Illegal

After learning what money laundering is, some people are left wondering why the act is even illegal. Why punish someone for depositing illegally obtained money? Shouldn’t the illegal act be punishment enough?

For California, money laundering became illegal to help combat organized crime rings. In these crime rings, the lower-ranking people were the ones who would commit the illegal activity and therefore they were the ones who faced the consequences. Meanwhile, the bosses were able to get away with the money and without any consequences.

Making it illegal to handle criminally obtained money made it possible to go after the bosses of criminal organizations.

Penalties for Money Laundering

Money laundering is a wobbler offense under both PC 186.10 and HS 11370.9, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. How exactly it is charged will be dependent on the person’s criminal record and the crime itself.

When either crime is charged as a misdemeanor, the person will face:

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

When PC 186.10 is charged as a felony, a person will face:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of either $250,000 or twice the amount of the money that was laundered, whichever is greater.

The maximum fine for this crime can increase if this is not the first time the person was convicted of money laundering. Also, the maximum prison sentence can increase if the total amount of money laundered was greater than $50,000.

When HS 11370.9 is charged as a felony, a person will face:

  • 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of either $250,000 or twice the amount of the money that was laundered, whichever is greater.

It’s an Odd but Important Crime

Money laundering is a bit of an odd crime. For starters, it doesn’t involve laundry in any way. Then there is the fact that people are being punished for putting money into a bank account. However, as strange as this may seem, it does make sense. Making this simple act illegal allows law enforcement agents to go after those in charge of different crime organizations. This way, everyone in the criminal organization can get punished, not just those doing the grunt work.


Juvenile vs adult

Laws That Minors Can Break but Adults Cannot

Juvenile vs adult

Everyone knows what crimes are and what would happen if they were to commit one. This is just something that people learn over time. However, there is something about laws and crimes that people know, without ever really considering. What a lot of adults may not consider, is that there are somethings they can do without fear of breaking a law, while a minor would face legal trouble for doing the same.

What Are Status Offenses?

According to the law, there are plenty of things out there that adults can do, but minors cannot. This leads to an interesting section of the law where things are considered illegal, but only for minors. This means these acts can’t be crimes, because adults can do them pretty much any time they want. This is why the term status offense exists.

A status offense is any activity that a minor could get in trouble for doing simply because of their age at the time of the act. It is estimated that 20% of all juvenile arrests are due to status offenses.

Some of the most common status offenses that a minor can be charged with include:

  • Being uncontrollable by parents or guardians.
  • Consuming alcohol.
  • Consuming marijuana.
  • Consuming tobacco.
  • Possessing alcohol.
  • Possessing marijuana.
  • Possessing tobacco.
  • Running away.
  • Skipping school.
  • Violating curfew.

It is easy to see how these kinds of things affect minors, but aren’t a big deal for adults. Most adults don’t have to worry about skipping school or following their parents’ rules anymore.

Why Status Offenses Are a Big Deal

When people began to look closer at status offenses, they noticed the alarming trend that minors who committed status offenses were more likely to commit more delinquent acts in the future. This has led to many states, including California, to adopt programs and strategies aimed at achieving the following:

  • Preserving families.
  • Ensuring public safety.
  • Preventing young people from becoming delinquents.

This is one of the many reasons why, when minors get into trouble they receive lighter penalties. The goal of punishing a minor after committing a crime is to teach them that their behavior was wrong and that they don’t want to commit that type of behavior again.

Penalties for Status Offenses

The penalties that a minor will face for a status defense can vary greatly depending on the minor’s record and the status offense they are being charged with. Some of the common penalties that a minor will face for a status offense include:

  • Being required to attend an educational program.
  • Being required to attend counseling.
  • Having their driver’s license suspended.
  • Paying a fine.
  • Paying restitutions for any damages.
  • Removing the minor from the care of the minor’s parent or guardian.

This is just a small sample of what a minor can face when charged with a status offense, and some of these consequences are more common than others.

Minors Need Different Rules

It’s a bit of an odd thought to realize that minors can get into trouble for doing things that some adults do daily without having to worry about breaking a law. However, many of these status offenses make sense. Kids should be in school, furthering their education so that they have a better chance once they reach adulthood. It wouldn’t make sense for many of these things to be made into crimes for everyone, which is why they are status offenses that only apply to minors.


Traffic offenses

What Are Traffic Offenses?

Traffic offenses

Driving is a privilege, not a right, and as such, a driver needs to be responsible behind the wheel. One simple mistake while driving is all it takes to completely change someone’s life forever. If a driver is not careful, they could be pulled over and ticketed for a traffic offense.

Traffic offenses are something that most drivers are familiar with. Even if they have never been pulled over before, a driver still knows about traffic offenses. This broad range of laws covers everything from minor infractions such as making illegal U-turns up to more severe crimes such as Driving under the influence (DUI).

What Are Some Common Traffic Offenses?

Due to the broad range of traffic violations, getting pulled over can always be a bit concerning for drivers. Even the most well-behaved drivers fear the worst when a law enforcement vehicle is driving behind them. Luckily, if a driver is obeying all of the traffic laws, then they have nothing to worry about.

However, if a person has been pulled over, they shouldn’t panic. Most traffic offenses are only infractions. This means that if a person is charged with one of these, they will only face a small fine, around a few hundred dollars, and no possibility of jail time.

A common infraction level offense that driver’s face regularly is speeding. Speeding is made illegal under California Vehicle Code (VC) 22350. Under this law, it is illegal for a person to drive over the posted speed limit for any given road or highway.

Another fairly common infraction is making an illegal U-turn. VC 22102 makes making a U-turn in a business district, any stretch of road where 50% or more of the property along the street is occupied by businesses, illegal unless at an intersection or an opening that provides an opening for the turn.

DUI’s, on the other hand, are often charged as misdemeanors but can be charged as felonies under certain circumstances. A driver is guilty of DUI any time they drive a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All drugs are considered under this law, including marijuana and even prescription drugs.

What Are the Penalties for These Offenses?

Since traffic offenses can vary so much, the penalties for them can vary as well. They can range from a small fine, all the way up to large fines and jail time. On top of the fines and possible jail time, many offenses add points to a driver’s record, which can raise the cost of the driver’s insurance. If a driver acquires too many points within a certain amount of time, they could have their license suspended. What a person will face depends on what particular offense they were charged with.

For instance, if the person is facing a speeding ticket or a ticket for making an illegal U-turn, they will only face an infraction. This means they will face a small fine.

For speeding, the fines break down as follows:

  • $35 for speeds 1 to 15 mph over the limit but under 100 mph.
  • $70 for speeds 16 to 25 mph over the limit but under 100 mph.
  • $100 for speeds 26 mph over the limit but under 100 mph.
  • $500 and a 30-day license suspension for a first-time offense driving over 100 mph.
  • $750 and a 6-month license suspension for a second offense of driving over 100 mph within 3 years.
  • $1,000 and a 1-year license suspension for a third offense of driving over 100 mph within 5 years.

Each time a person receives a speeding ticket, they will also receive one point on their driver’s record.

When a person is ticketed for making an illegal U-turn, they will face a fine averaging around $230 and a point on their driver’s record.

When DUI is charged as a misdemeanor, such as when it is a person’s first offense, they will face:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Up to 9 months of DUI school.
  • A 4-month driver’s license suspension.

When DUI is charged as a felony, a person will face:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Up to 30 months of DUI school.
  • A 5-year driver’s license suspension.

Follow the Rules of the Road

Nobody wants to get a traffic ticket, which is why drivers should follow the rules of the road. As long as they do that, they won’t be ticketed for any traffic offenses, then they will never have to worry about being pulled over.

If a person is getting pulled over, they should cooperate. The worst thing that a driver can do when getting pulled over is run. Running will only make the situation worse.


marijuana laws

Can Marijuana Legally Be Smoked in Public?

marijuana laws

Back in 2016, Californian voters chose to approve the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana. The law went into effect at the start of 2018, and so for the last two years, people have been able to enjoy marijuana. However, even though marijuana usage has been legal for 2 years, there is still a lot of confusion around the law.

Two years isn’t a lot of time in legal terms. Many of the laws that people are familiar with have been around for decades, which is why people are so familiar with them. Since the marijuana laws are so new, the general public hasn’t had enough time to get to know every single detail. This is why some people are still confused

Where Can Marijuana Be Smoked?

One of the biggest questions people still have is where can marijuana legally be smoked and consumed now. Even though the usage of marijuana has been legalized, there are still restrictions on where it can be used. When people aren’t aware of these restrictions, they can find themselves in trouble with the law.

The laws surrounding marijuana usage are practically identical to the laws surrounding alcohol and cigarettes. A person can get a good understanding of when and where marijuana can be consumed by looking at those regulations.

Since smoking cigarettes is banned in most businesses and public areas, smoking marijuana is also banned in those areas. Just like people have a right to not be exposed to secondhand smoke from cigarettes, they also have the right to not be exposed to marijuana.

The usage of marijuana is banned on all government property, especially schools. Employers are permitted to keep their workplaces marijuana free just like they can keep them alcohol-free. They also are legally allowed to test their employees for marijuana.

Marijuana also cannot be consumed while a person is in a car, especially if they are driving. A person cannot consume or have an open container of alcohol in their vehicle, so they cannot do the same with marijuana.

The biggest thing to note about the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana is the recreational part. Primarily, a person is only allowed to consume marijuana in places where they would normally relax, such as their home or backyard.

Penalties for Using Marijuana Where It Is Prohibited

The penalties for misusing marijuana in California can vary greatly depending on where the person consumed marijuana. If a person smokes or consumes marijuana at their job, where it is banned, they may not face legal consequences, but they could be fired.

If a person is caught with marijuana on school grounds, they could be charged with a misdemeanor that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $250 for a first offense.

Simply having an open container of marijuana in a vehicle can get a person charged with an infraction that comes with a fine of up to $100.

If a person is charged with DUI, then they could face:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Up to 9 months of DUI school.
  • A 4-month driver’s license suspension.

Be Considerate of Others

It is important to remember that while the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized here in California, it is still illegal at the federal level. This means that even if a person follows all of the rules laid out in the state legislature, they could still be arrested at the federal level. Luckily, this is unlikely to happen unless a person is doing a lot of illegal things with marijuana, or they bring it onto federal property. Some common examples of federal property include airports and federal government buildings.

The recreational use of Marijuana was legalized to allow people who wanted to consume it to do so in ways that don’t bother other people. Most people do not enjoy the smell of marijuana and would prefer to not have to smell it when they are out in public. Then there is the fact that no one wants their kids exposed to marijuana.

If a person is wondering if they can have marijuana in a certain area, such as a public park, they should think about whether cigarettes or alcohol are allowed there. Most parks ban smoking, so that includes marijuana.