False child abuse allegations

False Allegations of Child Abuse in California

False child abuse allegations

Child abuse laws are designed to protect children from being hurt. They’re good laws that make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, they are also laws that can be used against people, particularly parents who are engaged in a child custody dispute. It’s not unheard of for one parent to accuse the other parent of child abuse in order to obtain full custody of the children. It’s an accusation that can deal a lasting blow to both sides.

While there have been instances of men lodging false child abuse claims against women, it’s far more common for a woman to falsely accuse a man of child abuse. Data collected by the Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) indicates that 85% of all child abuse protective orders are filed by men and issued against men. One lawyer estimates that approximately 90% of those that are filed during a divorce and that mention child abuse are a tactical move to gain custody of the children.

California’s family court judges are legally obligated to take all child abuse accusations seriously. The last thing anyone wants is for a child to be hurt because the court failed to act. As soon as one parent accuses the other of child abuse, the court will take action, usually siding with the parent who made the accusation. If you are the one accused of abusing children, you shouldn’t assume that you’re promptly out of luck. You do have to be willing to take a defensive stance.

It’s in your best interest to demand that the court investigate the accusations. Be prepared for this to involve an in-depth and invasive investigation into your background. Court-appointed experts will interview several people which can include:

  • Your children
  • Family
  • Friendly
  • Doctors
  • Teachers

The process is time-consuming and often frustrating. When you feel impatient, remind yourself that you’re doing this for the good of your child.

The topic of false child abuse accusations in California is addressed in Family Code section 3027. According to the code, once it’s proven that the allegations filed against you were knowingly false, you have the right to seek monetary compensation for your court fees and additional costs that were connected to proving your innocence. The result of the investigation could lead to a significant change in which parent is granted custody of the children.


mail theft

Mail Theft in California

mail theft

Lawmakers aren’t fooling around when it comes to people messing with other people’s mail. The issue of mail theft is explored in US Code Section 1708. It’s important to understand that because mail theft involves the United States Postal Service, a federal agency, mail theft is considered a federal offense. The State of California will likely add a few charges as well.

What is Mail Theft

If you read US Code 18 Section 1708 you’ll learn that taking any piece of mail that wasn’t sent to you is considered mail theft. It doesn’t matter if the mail is taken directly from a post office employee, snatched from a mailbox, or snuck of a mail truck. It’s all mail theft.
Additional Offenses That Are Frequently Added to Mail Theft Charges

It’s rare for a person to be charged with just mail theft and nothing else. Identity theft is one the charge that’s most commonly linked to mail theft. Identity theft charges are usually added if the stolen mail included:

  • Birthdates
  • Social security numbers
  • Birth certificates
  • Tax I.D. numbers
  • Banking/credit card account information
  • Death certificate information
  • School I.D. numbers
  • Driver’s license numbers

Other charges that have been added to mail theft include:

  • Assault
  • Breaking and entering
  • Embezzlement
  • Deception
  • Fraud

Federal Consequences of Mail Fraud

The government is messing around with mail theft. They want everyone to think twice about what they could lose before they snatch up a piece of unattended mail. If you’re found guilty of federal mail fraud, the maximum sentence includes:

  • Up to $250,000 in fines
  • Up to 5 years in a federal prison

Getting Charged with Mail Theft in California

California lawmakers are serious about mail theft. Anyone who is caught stealing someone else’s mail will likely find that in addition to dealing with the federal court, they’ll also be charged by the state. California’s Penal Code 530.5e PC states that “every person who commits mail theft, as defined in Section 1708 of Title 18 of the United States Code, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment.”

The interesting thing about California and mail theft is that it is one of the only theft type crimes where the punishment isn’t determined by the monetary amount of the crime. The state doesn’t care if you stole a couple of thousand dollars worth of mailed paychecks from your neighbor or if you simply swiped a handful of sales flyers from an unattended mailbag. The consequences will be the same.

What if Mail was Delivered to the Wrong Person?

If a postal employee delivers the someone else’s mail to you, don’t panic and assume that you’re going to be charged with mail theft. This is an honest mistake. It’s also something you need to take care of immediately. As soon as you discover the error, contact the post office, and alert them to the situation. You’ll be instructed on how to return the mail to the post office. What you shouldn’t do is throw the mail away or to put the mail in your neighbor’s mailbox.


pet laws in california

Laws Every California Pet Owner Should Know

pet laws in california

Owning a pet is a wonderful experience. In exchange for providing for their physical needs, your pet gives you unconditional love and great joy. Pet owners are usually healthier and happier than California residents who don’t own pets.

While there are lots of perks associated with owning a pet, there are also several California pet laws all pet owners need to know.

Your Dog Must Be Properly Licensed

If you own a dog, it has to be licensed. Failing to stay on top of your dog’s license could result in your county charging you a fine. The only dogs who are exempt from the state’s licensing laws are puppies who haven’t turned four months old.

All Dogs Have to be Up to Date With Their Rabies Vaccination

If you own a dog, you’re responsible for making sure it has had a rabies vaccination. In some areas, they have to get a rabies vaccination every year. In other areas, you can go for three years between the vaccine. The vaccine has to be given by a certified vet. Without proof of the rabies vaccination, you can’t purchase a dog license.

You Can’t Abandon Your Pet

Once you accept responsibility for your pet, you are expected to keep the pet for the rest of its life. If you can’t you need to rehome it. You’re not allowed to simply abandon it. If you’re caught abandoning an animal, you will face animal cruelty charges.

You’re Responsible for your Pet

You’re expected to be in control of your pet at all times. If your dog ruins someone’s personal property or bites someone, it’s your fault. Civil charges can be brought against you.

California’s Spay/Neuter Laws are Changing

California lawmakers have become increasingly aware of the pet overpopulation problem in their state. They hope that tougher spay/neuter laws will reduce the number of strays animal control deals with each year. All shelters are required to provide proof that the animals they’re putting up for adoption have been spayed or neutered.

California’s pet laws are constantly changing. If you own any type of pet, it’s in your best interest to routinely review both local and state pet ownership laws.


Unemployment fraud

The Reality of Unemployment Fraud

Unemployment fraud

Unemployment fraud isn’t new. There have been instances of it dating all the way back to when the system for helping people stay financially solvent after they suddenly lost a job was first created.

The high number of people who were forced to claim unemployment benefits when the pandemic struck the United States, combined with some unexpected unemployment bonuses the government instituted in an attempt to keep the economy running has triggered an interest in unemployment fraud.

Loree Levy, a spokesperson for the California Employment Development Department, recently confirmed that the state is on the lookout for people who are committing unemployment fraud.

Levy’s department released a press release the addressed the issue. “These perpetrators are often using stolen identity information from national and global data breaches, as well as exploiting expedited payment efforts in the federal PUA program,” the release stated.

In California, you can be charged with unemployment fraud if it’s believed that you knowingly supplied inaccurate information to obtain unemployment benefits you aren’t entitled to. Even if you’re application isn’t approved, you can be charged with unemployment fraud.

Examples of unemployment fraud include:

  • Providing false identification information on the application
  • Failing to report earned income while collecting unemployment
  • Failing to report additional forms of compensation you’re collecting while also collecting unemployment
  • Not being a legal California resident
  • Falsifying employment information
  • Stealing another person’s unemployment check

Individuals aren’t the only ones who can be accused of unemployment fraud. Employers can also end up in hot water. If an investigation reveals that employer-supplied false information to the state to make it difficult for an employee to collect the unemployment benefits they deserve, the employer will be charged with unemployment fraud.

Unemployment fraud in California is a wobbler offense. Whether someone is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the amount of money they collected from the scam. If the amount is less than $950 misdemeanor charges are filed. The penalty can include a $1,000 fine and spend up to six months in county jail.

If the amount is greater than $950 and the prosecutor decides to stick to with a misdemeanor, it’s a potential $10,000 fine and year in a county jail.

In felony unemployment fraud cases the amount must exceed $950. Being found guilty could result in up to a 5-year jail sentence and a $50,000 fine. In addition to the fines, the state demands that the money was stolen from the system be returned and adds a 30% interest rate to the total.

The best way to avoid an unemployment fraud charge is to be completely honest on your unemployment application.


The right to remain silent

The Right to Remain Silent

The right to remain silent

We’re all familiar with the Miranda Rights, which basically grants us the ability to not tell the police anything if we’re arrested. While we’ve heard thousands of television cops recite the famous words “you have the right to remain silent” few of us actually know what that means.

The History of the Miranda Rights

The Miranda Rights take their name from Ernesto Arturo Miranda. He was arrested in 1963 and placed in a line-up. The victim selected Miranda. When the police questioned him, he confessed to the crime. It looked like an open and shut case, when in fact, it turned into a case that forever changed police procedure in the United States.

After Miranda was found guilty of raping and kidnapping, his attorney argued that the case should have been thrown out because Miranda was never told that he had the “right to remain silent.” Instead of ignoring the claims, the case, along with three similar cases, made it to the Supreme Court. In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled that in situations like the one Miranda found himself in, the police can’t use a confession unless the accused has first been advised of their right to remain silent and reminded that if they confess, the confession can be used against them during the court case.

What the Right to Remain Silent Really Means

The right to remain silent doesn’t mean that the police can’t question you. The right to remain silent is designed to provide you with a layer of protection in two different circumstances.

If you are in court and under oath, the right to remain silent means you aren’t legally required to say something that could incriminate you in criminal activity. If you do say something, the prosecution can use the confession, even an inadvertent one, against you. In this type of situation, the right to remain silent is commonly referred to as Taking the Fifth.

The second situation where the right to remain silent comes into play is if you’re being deposed by the police. They’re allowed to question you, but you don’t have to say anything that could be considered a confession to a crime.

When do the Miranda Rights Come into Play?

The police are supposed to read you your Miranda Rights as soon as they make a move to take you into custody. Being taken into custody means that you don’t have the ability to leave when you decide that you’ve had enough. You’re right to remain silent kicks in as soon as the police put handcuffs on you, which is why it’s important to remain cool, calm, and collected while they drive you to the police station. You don’t want to lose your temper while you are in the back of the car that could be used against you.


benefits of virtual learning

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online School

benefits of virtual learning

The idea of online school isn’t new. Online schooling has been around for some time and many parents have taken advantage of it. Other parents have thought about it from time to time and briefly considered looking into it but never got around to it.

The pandemic has pushed the concept of online schooling to the forefront of everyone’s mind. Some schools have even opted entirely do away with in-classroom learning and devote all of their resources to virtual education.

How Online Schooling Differs from Home Schooling

It’s important to understand that online schooling and homeschooling aren’t exactly the same thing.

Homeschooling is a type of schooling where the parents have total control over their child’s education. In some cases, the parent works with a group of like-minded parents, an organization that has created a curriculum, or even tutors. In other instances, the parent does all the teaching themselves.

Students who partake with online schooling are still connected to the school’s curriculum. Teachers who are employed by the school handle the student’s educational needs.

Advantages of Online Schooling

Prior to the outbreak, the biggest advantages connected to online schooling was that students who didn’t do well in a traditional classroom setting still enjoyed a high level of education. The set up was ideal for students who were in living situations that required them to learn from different locations, such as a parent’s house one day, a grandparent’s house in a different county, or during a commute. Online schooling was also good for the children who didn’t have a reliable means of getting to school every single day.

Parents often like online schooling because it is designed in such a way that parents are able to be involved in their child’s education without having to worry about doing the actual teaching.

Students who do best when they’re able to work at their own pace generally excel when they’re removed from the traditional classroom and enrolled in an online schooling program.

Disadvantages of Online Schooling

The simple reality is that while online schooling is wonderful for some students, other students struggle with it.

The disadvantages of online schooling include:

  • It limits the child’s ability to socialize with people their own age
  • Students who lack self-discipline struggle
  • Students don’t connect as well with the teacher which makes them reluctant to ask for additional help

One of the biggest disadvantages connected to online learning is that it eliminates a sense of competition that many students require before they’ll push their limits and strive to excel.

If your child is taking advantage of online schooling this year, it’s important that you make an effort to connect to the school and go over the rules for logging in each day, know when homework needs to be completed, and have a plan to make sure that you can take the steps needed to help your child thrive in an at-home learning environment.


California wildfire season

Staying Safe During California’s Wildfire Season

California wildfire  season

Each year, California has wildfires that attract national and sometimes even international media attention. The various media channels like to talk about what might have caused the wildfire, how big it’s gotten, and how teams are desperately working to fight it, as someone who lives in California, you’re first priority is doing everything possible to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during this year’s wildfire season.

Prepare Early

Don’t wait until you can hear the roar of the wildfire bearing down on you to start preparing. Wildfires spread quickly and they can also start quickly. Don’t wait until you’re in a high-risk area to start preparing for a wildfire. As soon as you move to California, you need to create start preparing for the possibility of a fire.

Early California fire preparations include:

  • Turning your property into a defensible space
  • Having an evacuation plan in place
  • Keeping your vehicle prepped in case you have to evacuate
  • Having a bag packed with life essentials in case you need to evacuate
  • Making sure your personal property is covered by property insurance

Creating a Defensible Space

You want to surround your property with a defensible space. This space serves as a buffer between an approaching fire and your home. The space shouldn’t have any items or vegetation that’s likely to burn. The defensible space should extend at 30 feet past your house.

Packing Evacuation Supplies

You don’t have enough room in your car for all of your personal belongings. Limit what you need to one bag per person. Most of the time you can keep his bag in your closet, but if it looks like there is a chance that you’ll have to evacuate, stow the emergency fire bag in your car. Fire moves quickly so each second you save is important.

Items you should have in your emergency fire evacuation bag include:

  • A change of clothing
  • Cash/credit cards
  • An extra charger for your cell phone
  • The contact information for your insurance company
  • A first aid kit
  • Any medication you take
  • Water
  • Food
  • A flashlight

Keep Tabs on your Neighbors

Fire doesn’t care who it hurts. It’s up to you to keep in touch with your neighbors and make sure that they’re able to protect themselves from a wildfire. Whenever possible, offer to help them evacuate. Taking a few seconds to contact your neighbor’s emergency contact, or helping load up their car helps save lives.

Prepare your Pets

You can’t afford to forget about your pets during an emergency fire evacuation. They can’t fend for themselves. You should also be prepared for even the most docile pet to become stressed as you evacuate. They might not understand exactly what is going on, but they do know that a fire is approaching and that you’re stressed.

Lock your pets in a different part of the house while you prepare to evacuate. This prevents them from bolting out the door and getting lost while you’re packing up your vehicle. When you’re ready to load your pets in the car keep them leashed or in a carrier. Don’t assume they will just follow you. Each time you stop the car for gas, make sure your pets are restrained before you get out of your car.

It’s a good idea to get your pet micro-chipped and to write its name and your phone number on their collar before you evacuate.

Before you drive away from your home, take a couple of seconds to double-check that all people and pets are loaded in your car.

Even though it’s hard to stay calm when you’re evacuating, you really need to. The calmer you can keep yourself in this situation, the smoother the evacuation will go.


earthquake safety kit

California Earthquake Survival Tips

earthquake safety kit

California is known for its earthquakes. Unlike wildfires which can be somewhat predictable and avoidable, there’s never much warning before an earthquake occurs. Even with the surprisingly accurate MyShake earthquake phone app you usually have less than a minute to prepare yourself for the tremor.

Early preparation and common sense is your best line of defense when it comes to surviving a California earthquake.

Keep Your Home in Good Repair

Routinely go through your home and any outbuildings and make sure that they are earthquake ready. The house met the current earthquake building guidelines when it was constructed, but it’s up to you to make sure that it stays earthquake ready. The best way to make sure your home remains standing during an earthquake is by staying on top of all home repairs.

Secure Your Space

At least once a week, go through your entire house and make sure it’s earthquake-proof. Make sure there is enough room in closets for you to fit into the small space during an earthquake. Double-check that you haven’t placed anything on a high shelf where it could fall off and hit you during an earthquake.

Create a Disaster Plan

Creating a disaster plan for an earthquake isn’t easy. You have no way of knowing where you or the rest of your family will be when an earthquake takes place. What you can do is arrange a place where everyone will meet following a large earthquake. You can also make sure that your entire family has a communication plan in place that will allow you to connect with one another after the earthquake.

Have Emergency Supplies on Hand

Create small emergency packs and store them throughout your home. The packs should contain non-perishable food, first aid supplies, a flashlight, batteries, and water. You should keep at least one of these packs in each of your rooms as well as in your car.

Purchase Earthquake Protection

Make sure you’re insured against an earthquake. This insurance means you’ll get reimbursed if your home is destroyed during the earthquake, making it possible for you to start over.

Lend a Helping Hand

Once you’ve successively survived a California earthquake, it’s time to help others. Check on your neighbors and make sure they’re okay. Offer to shelter to those who need it. Volunteer with earthquake survival groups. The sooner everyone pitches in to help, the sooner the state will recover from the earthquake.