Exhaust noise laws

California Vehicle Exhaust Noise Laws

Exhaust noise laws

When it comes to noisy cars people always have one of two opinions: they either think the deep rumble sounds awesome or they think it is the most obnoxious and irritating thing they’ve heard all day. Many feel that a car with either a broken or modified exhaust is a major nuisance and disruption. To simplify the matter, California’s lawmakers created exhaust noise laws. These set a very strict limit on the amount of noise your vehicle can legally make as you drive it down the road.

California’s vehicle exhaust noise laws are addressed in the California Vehicle Code. They’re numbers 27150 – 27153.

California Vehicle Code # 27150 requires that your vehicle have an adequate muffler. This doesn’t just mean that not only does your car has to have muffler, but that it also has to be in good working order. This must be in place when you bring your car in for its registration inspection. The same law states that your vehicle won’t pass its inspection if the muffler or exhaust system has been set up with any type of cutout or bypass.

California Vehicle Code # 27151 prohibits you from making modifications to your exhaust that either directly violate VC 27151 or that raise the decibel level of your vehicle above 88 dbA. If your vehicle weighs less than 6,000 pounds or is a motorcycle, it can’t make noise that exceeds 95 dbA. It’s worth noting that most contemporary vehicles, even the ones that have a nice throaty roar, are designed in such a way that the noise they make doesn’t exceed 75 dbA.

One of the challenges driver’s face is that the way the vehicle codes that deal with excessive noise are written, police officers don’t necessarily know how much noise your exhaust system makes. They can pull you over simply because your vehicle is nosier than the rest of the cars on the road. The current writing of the law allows them to “exercise their own judgment.” There’s a chance that they’ll issue an excessive noise ticket even if your car is within the legal noise limits.

If you’re issued an excessive noise ticket, you’ll have to take your vehicle to a mechanic and have the problem repaired (or removed if there’s an illegal modification.) The next step is going to the California Referee Center. After looking at both your ticket and your vehicle’s registration the Referee Center will test your exhaust system and determine if it meets the legal requirements. If everything is in order, they’ll issue a Certificate of Compliance which you’ll have to show the traffic court.

The tickets for illegal exhausts and excessive noise vary. For a first offense, the ticket is usually $25 with fees climbing to $193. There have been some instances where the overall cost of the illegal exhaust fines reaching $1,105.

If the police pull you over, it’s possible that they will notice other issues, such as unpaid parking tickets, bench warrants, parole violations, etc. All things considered, it’s in your best interest to keep your car quiet and not attract police attention.


California suspended license

Driving on a Suspended License in California

California suspended license

Several California drivers have found that they didn’t fully appreciate how much independence they enjoyed as a result of their driver’s license until the state suspended that license, making it impossible for the person to drive themselves.

Why California Driver’s Licenses Are Suspended

There are a variety of reasons your California driver’s license could be suspended. The most common cause for suspensions is a DUI conviction. Unpaid tickets, severe driving infractions, and simply accumulating too many bad driving points can also result in a suspension. There are even cases where California driver’s licenses have been suspended for non-driving offenses, the most common of which is unpaid child support.

What a Suspended California Driver’s License Means

If your license has been suspended it means you can’t drive, for any reason, until you’re able to get the license reinstated. In some cases, such as drunk driving and reckless driving, the suspension has a time limit, such as 6 months. In other cases, it remains suspended until you correct whatever issue triggered the suspension. For example, if it was suspended because you didn’t pay child support, it will remain suspended until you’ve gotten caught up on what you owe.

Driving on a Suspended California Driver’s License

California’s Vehicle Code #14601.1 deals with the issue of anyone who is caught driving on a suspended license in California. It states, “(a) No person shall drive a motor vehicle when his or her driving privilege is suspended or revoked for any reason other than those listed in Section 14601, 14601.2, or 14601.5, if the person so driving has knowledge of the suspension or revocation. Knowledge shall be conclusively presumed if mailed notice has been given by the department to the person pursuant to Section 13106. The presumption established by this subdivision is a presumption affecting the burden of proof.”

The penalties that can be connected to driving on a suspended driver’s license in California include:

  • Having to spend time in jail
  • Substantial fines
  • Probation
  • Additional costs for any additional traffic violations that were committed while you drove with a suspended license

If your California driver’s license is suspended and you can’t fathom how you’ll get by without it, there’s a chance you can appeal to the court and get what California calls a hardship license. This type of license is a heavily regulated one that limits where you can drive and even what times you can drive. If you’re caught driving at a time or for a purpose that doesn’t align with the limits, you’ll be charged with driving on a suspended license.


the reality of bumper stickers

The Ugly Reality of Bumper Stickers

the reality of bumper stickers

Bumper stickers seem like a good idea. They provide you with a great opportunity to put your own personal stamp on your vehicle, helping you stand out from the crowd. In some cases, they provide you with a wonderful opportunity to brag about your child, spouse, and pet. They can also be a great conversation starter in parking lots.

Before you attach that super cute, personalized bumper sticker to your vehicle, you need to understand that doing so can be a dangerous act.

While you might see a benign, adorable bumper sticker, a predator sees something very different. For example, that honor roll sticker your child brought home provides a predator with information about what area you live in, where your child goes to school, and even tells them about what age your child is. In some cases, the sticker might even provide the child’s name.

But what about that cute bumper sticker that provides the breed and name of your dog? Still not a good idea. If someone wants to break into your house, they know about what size your dog is, what to call it to convince it to stop barking. Having the dog’s name on your bumper sticker also provides a dog snatcher with the information needed to lure your best friend from your car and into theirs.

You should also avoid bumper stickers that contain information about the types of sports/hobbies you enjoy. A simple sticker that states you’re a golfer tells a thief that there might be valuable golfing clubs in your car. The same is true of a bumper sticker that professes your love of computers or skiing. You don’t want to make your vehicle an appealing target.

Even a completely benign bumper sticker that shares no personal information but simply draws people’s attention can be dangerous. It provides a stranger with an opportunity to draw you into a conversation. Ninety-nine percent of the time this is a good thing, but there is always a chance that the person who is chatting with you about the bumper sticker is trying to lure you into a false sense of security before they try snatching your purse/keys or shoving you into their vehicle.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy those cute stickers. You can still buy them. Just place them somewhere that they can’t tempt a thief. The front of your refrigerator is a good, safe, choice.

When it comes to the safety of yourself and those you love, you can’t afford to not be careful.


Driving drunk halloween party

Drunk Driving on Halloween

Driving drunk halloween party

It’s no secret that getting behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking is a bad idea, yet there are a few nights of the year where driver’s leave their common sense at home and drive home after having one too many. Halloween is such a night.

Why People Drink on Halloween

Halloween is a festive holiday. A time when lots of people like to cut loose and relax. There are usually lots of parties where the alcohol generally flows. The happy atmosphere combined with the anonymity of wearing a costume makes it easy to cut loose and lose track of how much you’ve had to drink.

The Dangers of Drinking and Driving on Halloween

There’s never a safe time to drive after drinking, but it’s particularly dangerous on Halloween. The lure of free candy means that the streets are full of very young children. Many of these children aren’t paying attention to anything but getting to the next house as quickly as possible. They don’t look before they cross streets or rush around blind alleys. Sober driver’s often struggle to stay alert when driving through popular trick-or-treating areas. With alcohol dulling your reflexes the odds of you getting into a drunk driving accident on Halloween increase.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Halloween is one of the holidays when police officers are out in force and they are going to be extra alert. The slightest sign that you’re driving while impaired on Halloween and they will pull you over.

The Consequences of Drunk Driving on Halloween

The legal blood alcohol count (BAC) for the average adult driver in California is 0.08%. If it’s any higher, the police will file drunk driving charges against you. Even if you’re BAC is slightly lower than 0.08% when you’re pulled over, there is still a good chance that they’ll arrest you so that they can conduct a second test once the last drink you enjoyed hits your system.

Getting found guilty of DUI on Halloween will have a serious and negative impact on the quality of your life.

  • First offense-$390-$1,000 in fines, up to 6 months in jail, your license can be suspended for up to 6 months.
  • Second offense-$390-$1,000 in fines, up to one year in jail, your license can be suspended for 2 full years. The court can order your ignition locked for a full year.
  • Third offense-up to $1,800 in fines, minimum 120 days maximum 12 months in jail, your license can be suspended for 3 years and your ignition can be locked for 2 years.

If you’re planning on drinking this Halloween, it’s in your best interest to arrange for a cab, Uber driver, or have a friend serve as your DD. The last thing you need is to end the holiday with a drunk driving conviction.


california dui laws

The Long-Lasting Consequences of Drunk Driving in California

california dui laws

Like all other states, California has taken a hard stance on drunk driving. It isn’t tolerated. If you’re caught behind the wheel after having just a little too much to drink, you’ll face steep consequences that will have a major impact on the overall quality of your life.

California’s Legal Limit

California has different legal limits for different types of drivers. For the average, adult driver in California, anything over a blood alcohol count (BAC) of 0.08% is considered too high to legally drive. Drivers who haven’t reached their 21st birthday, anything over 0.05% is considered a DUI. Commercial drivers as well as drivers who are involved with a ride-share program aren’t allowed to get behind the wheel if their BAC is above 0.04%

If you are pulled over and the officer believes you’ve been drinking, they’ll likely administer a breath test that measures your BAC. If the BAC is considered close, but not quite at the legal limit, it’s likely you’ll still be arrested. The reason for this is because it can take a little time for the true BAC to be accurate. You’ll receive a second test at the jail. By this point, the BAC level will be accurate. If it’s above the legal limit, the officer will go through with the arrest. Both of the BAC tests are admissible in court. In many cases, the first test is a breath test and the second test is taken via a blood draw.

Penalties of Driving Drunk in California

California lawmakers aren’t playing around when it comes to drunk drivers. The penalties are steep and were designed to scare people into only getting behind the wheel while they’re sober. The penalties become more severe each time you’re charged with a DUI.

First Offense

The first time you’re caught driving while under the influence, the maximum amount of time you can spend in county jail is six months. You’ll also be charged fines that will range from $390-$1,000. Your license will be suspended and you won’t be able to drive for up to six months. Your ignition can be locked for 6 months to one full year, and you’ll only be allowed to drive on a restricted license during that time.

Second Offense

The second DUI charge means a minimum of 92 hours and a maximum of 1 full year in a county jail. The court can charge you fines that range from $390-$1,000. You can lose your license for a full two years, making it difficult to work, especially if you live in a rural area. After you get a restricted license, the court can limit your driving with an ignition lock that will remain on your vehicle for up to one year.

Third Offense

The third time you’re found guilty of DUI charges, you’ll be sentenced to as little as 120 days or as long as one year in jail. You’ll get charged at least $1,800 in fines. You’ll also lose your license for 3 years and potentially have an ignition lock installed on your vehicle for an additional 2 years.

California lawmakers have arranged things so that each DUI conviction remains on your record for a full 10 years.

In addition to actual DUI penalties, if you were in an accident while driving drunk, you will also face any charges that were incurred during the accident. This can include minor traffic offenses or vehicular manslaughter.

Medications Can Mess up Your Life

There are several medications that can play havoc on your body when you mix them with alcohol. The problem with many medications, even some over-the-counter allergy medications is that they alter the way your body absorbs alcohol. This means that if you go to the bar and have your normal amount of alcohol, and the amount that in most cases allows you to legally drive home, the medication could have created a significantly higher blood alcohol level and you’ll be arrested for DUI. Several people have had their lives destroyed because they didn’t realize how badly the medication and alcohol would react.

If you’re on medication, it’s in your best interest to not get behind the wheel if you have accidentally mixed the alcohol and the medication. Call a friend, get a room, hire a taxi. Do anything other than getting in your car.


The reality of prop 25

The Reality of Prop. 25

The reality of prop 25

The November third election is a big one for California voters. Not only do they have to decide which candidate they want in the Oval Office, they also must decide if they want to vote for or against, Proposal 25.

What is Proposal 25

The goal of Prop 25 is to end the current cash bail system. If it passes, California would be the first state to do away with this system. Instead of using a tried and true cash bail system, the state would create a system that would run a “risk-assessment” on suspects. Each suspect would be assigned a risk which would categorize them as:

  • Low-risk
  • Medium-risk
  • High-risk

Low-risk suspects would be individuals that, based solely on a generic test, would be determined a low-risk for not appearing in court and who were deemed a minimal risk to society. They would be promptly released from jail.

On the other hand, someone who is considered high-risk might not show up for their court dates and they’re deemed a threat to society. These individuals would not be released. Eventually, high-risk individuals would get a few moments before a judge, at which point they’d be allowed to explain why the high-risk assessment is unfair.

Individuals who fall into the medium-risk category pose a problem. They might or might not appear in court. And they might, in the right circumstances, be a threat to society. It’s not entirely clear how the courts would be expected to deal with medium-risk individuals, other than some lawmakers stating that cases would depend on the local court’s rules.

Individuals who have been charged with misdemeanors would be exempt from the risk exceptions, though lawmakers are quick to point out that there will be exceptions.

The Problem with Prop 25

At first glance, Prop 25 doesn’t seem like a bad idea. It has the potential to provide individuals with limited income who have created minor offenses with the ability to get out of jail. That’s a good thing, right? Maybe not.

First, even low-income individuals do have the opportunity to be released from jail. If they don’t have the money needed to bail themselves out, they can contact local family-owned businesses like Absolute Bail Bonds where they can take advantage of flexible payment plans that include zero% interest, 20% discounts, and low-payments.

The biggest problem with Prop 25 is that it doesn’t appear that anyone has a good way to run the risk assessments. Fans of Prop 25 haven’t been able to provide much information about how the assessments will be run or how they’ll be evaluated.

The current system provides the court to look closely at each person’s criminal and community history. This information is used to determine how much money is needed to convince the person to stay out of trouble and attend all of their court appearances. The fact that bail can be revoked if the person does violate the terms of their release by engaging with certain people, leaving town, or committing a crime provides further incentive for everyone to walk the straight and narrow path while they wait for their case to reach its conclusion.

The biggest concern with Prop 25 is that while fans of the proposed law are convinced it will work, they’re unable to provide any detailed information about how the risk assessment will be conducted. When you read the bill, all it says is that the risk assessment will use “tools shall be demonstrated by scientific research to be accurate and reliable.”

That sounds a lot like the type of system internet dating sites use, and everyone who has used one of those sites knows that while love matches are possible, most of the connections are massive duds. Does anyone really want to have a bail system that has the same kind of success rate as the average internet dating service?


california littering laws

Littering in California

california littering laws

California lawmakers want to keep the state’s environment nice so that future generations will enjoy a high quality of life in California. Strict anti-littering laws is one of the tools being used to protect the environment.

What is Littering

We should all be responsible for our trash and make sure it’s properly disposed of, but it’s also important to understand that there is a big difference between a grocery receipt falling, unnoticed from our pocket, and being convicted of littering in California.

California’s littering laws are addressed in the California Penal Code Section 374. According to the code, littering is:

“(a) Littering means the willful or negligent throwing, dropping, placing, depositing, or sweeping, or causing any such acts, of any waste matter on land or water in other than appropriate storage containers or areas designated for such purposes.

(b) Waste matter means discarded, used, or leftover substance including, but not limited to, a lighted or nonlighted cigarette, cigar, match, or any flaming or glowing material, or any garbage, trash, refuse, paper, container, packaging or construction material, the carcass of a dead animal, any nauseous or offensive matter of any kind, or any object likely to injure any person or create a traffic hazard.”

The state isn’t shy about cracking down on anyone who they feel is violating California Penal Code Section 374. If you’re found guilty of littering, you will be charged with a fine.

California’s littering fines are:

  • A maximum of $1,000 for a first offense
  • A maximum of $1,500 for a second offense
  • A maximum of $3,00 for subsequence offenses

It’s worth noting that some cities, including Los Angeles, have started to crack down on littering. COVID-19 is to blame. City officials have noted a surge of face masks and surgical gloves scattered in parking lots, strewn across park benches, and tossed onto the sides of streets. Disgusted by the mess and worried about the potential health threat of the debris, police are on the lookout for anyone who carelessly discards their COVID protection.

The last thing you want is to get in trouble for tossing something silly on the ground. Instead of having to spend a day in court and pay a heavy fine because you failed to pick up the fast-food litter that fell out of your car when you opened the door. Take a few minutes to survey your surroundings clean up after yourself. Not only could the small act save you a great deal of money, but you’ll also find that doing so makes you feel good about yourself.


tips to help stop cyberbullying

What to do if Your Suspect Your Child’s Being Terrorized by a Cyberbully

tips to help stop cyberbullying

As a parent, there’s nothing worse than knowing your child is hurting. When a cyberbully is the cause of that hurt, it’s perfectly natural to want to shatter your smartphone/laptop/tablet and never allow any type of social media into your home. Unfortunately, that’s not a realistic option.

If you suspect your child is being terrorized by a cyberbully there are a few things you can do that will help the situation.

Support Your Child

The first things cyberbullies do is undermine their victim’s self-confidence. They chip away at their victim’s self-esteem until there’s nothing left. As a parent, it’s up to you to keep your child’s spirits up. Remind them that they’re important and loved. Spend time with them. Encourage them to talk. Even if the conversation never turns to the cyberbully, simply knowing that you’re in their corner will help bolster your child.

Redirect Their Attention

It’s easy to tell someone who is being victimized by a cyberbully that they should simply turn off their electronics and ignore the situation. The problem is that many of the victims are oddly compelled to keep engaging with their tormentor. While you should encourage your child to stay away from their social media accounts, you’ll find that they are far more likely to follow your advice when you provide them with something else they can use to fill their time.

Gather Evidence

Whenever possible, collect evidence that show your child is being tortured by a cyberbully. The best evidence includes screenshots of photos and text conversations. Once you’ve taken the screen shots, keep them stored in a safe place. It’s always a good idea to have backup files for your proof.

Don’t Handle it on your Own

While it’s okay to reach out to the cyberbullies parents and alert them to the situation, you should never do anything that could make you come across as a bully. Don’t lash out at their child. Don’t use abusive language. Don’t make any threats. Simply request that they do something to rein in their child.

If the cyberbullies parents refuse to take any action, it’s time for you to contact both the police and the school and get them involved in the situation.

When it comes to cyberbullies, the sooner you take action, the better things will turn out for your child.