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Is Social Media a Danger to You?

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Social media is extremely important to many of us. We use it to develop careers, stay in touch with friends and family, learn new hobbies, and make life altering connections. As much as we love social media, there are times when we find ourselves wondering if the channels we’re using could be potentially dangerous to us.

The truth is that there are some times and some circumstances when social media is a danger to you. The good news is that once you’re able to identify the signs that social media is potentially becoming dangerous allows you to tweak how you use your social media accounts so that you can restore them to the safe escape you previously enjoyed.

Over Sharing Information About Your Location

Honestly, the biggest way that social media becomes a danger to you is when you share information about your location. While letting friends and family members know exactly when you’re dining at a your favorite café and instantly sharing holiday pics might seem like a great idea at the time, they also provide criminals with a great deal of insight into your life. Doing share any information that lets people know when you’re not home, where your exact location is at a given time, or provides valuable insight into your daily routine. You simply don’t know when a criminal will be paying attention to your posts or how they could decide to benefit from the information.

Not Thinking How a Post Could Hurt Your Career

Before you post a cutting comment about your manager or an inappropriate photo of you at work, remember that you simply can’t trust your privacy settings. Assume that there are was your boss or co-workers could gain access to your social media account. Before you post a picture, comment, or share an article, take some time to think about if the social media post could negatively impact your career or even get you fired. If it could, resist the impulse to share the post.

Losing Track of Time

The biggest danger connected to social media is that if you’re not careful it can quickly take over your entire life. More than one person has logged onto their social media account with the idea that they will only spend a few minutes responding to a few comments only to lose track of time. This can result in negatively impacting your relationships, professional life, and even lead to a deterioration in your health.

Set a time each time you log onto your social media accounts and log out each time that timer goes off. This will do wonders to limit the impact the negative impact social media has on your life.

Bullying

There is something about social media that makes some people think that it is okay to engage is cyber bullying. This behavior has resulted in all sorts of psychological problems for the person who is being bullied. If someone’s online behavior is having a negative impact on your life, it’s time to block them from your social media accounts. If you’re unable to block them, delete your accounts and dedicate the time you had spent on social media to self-care. You’ll be amazed by how much this improves our overall attitude towards life.

What steps have you taken to make sure social media doesn’t become a danger to you?


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How Serious is Road Rage

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The first time the term “road rage” was officially used was during the 80s when a team of broadcasters decided the term perfectly summed up the cause of a highway shooting. Since that broadcast, road rage has become a regular part of our working vocabulary. At the same time, it has become a serious problem for every single driver.

Road rage is a burst of strong, negative emotion that is triggered by some incident that happens while a person is driving. In most cases, we’re able to clench our jaws, hang onto the steering wheel, and wait for the emotional vortex to pass.

The problem is that some of us aren’t able to ride out a burst of road rage. Some of us are can barely think during this period of emotional upheaval and subsequently, make some incredibly poor driving decisions that can put both our lives and the lives of every other person on the road at risk.

Data collected by Carsurance provides an alarming insight into how common road rage is. The site reports that eight out of every ten drivers will experience bouts of road rage while they’re driving. Even more alarming is how the same report indicates that road rage is the main reason behind a majority of car accidents in the United States.

It’s estimated that approximately two-thirds of the fatal accidents that occur in the United States are linked to road rage.

Road rage incidents are quite common. Triggers include crowded driving conditions, slow-moving traffic, frequent stops, and starts.

The driver will likely receive tickets for moving violations which could include reckless driving, speeding, improper passing, etc. If the person has a firearm in their car, and/or uses the firearm during the road rage incident they could face serious legal charges.

Considering the potential consequences of a single road rage outburst, it’s in your best interest to explore techniques that will help you keep your cool while you’re behind the wheel.


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Littering Consequences in California

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You already know that you’re not supposed to litter. It’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t throw things out your car windows, leave trash scattered around a campsite, or drop food wrappers while you’re walking.

What you might not know is exactly what happens if you fail to do the right thing and clean up after yourself.

California’s littering laws are some of the toughest in the country.

California lawmakers created California Penal Code (PC) 374 specifically to deal with the issue of littering. The great thing about this law is that not only does it create clear-cut consequences for littering, it also helps define what is a waste product, which helps clear up some of the gray areas other states struggle with when dealing with littering cases.

The law defines littering in California as, “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.”

The law goes on to clarify that the following items are considered waste and that improperly disposing of them is considered littering:

  • Lighted or nonlighted cigarette, cigar, match, or any flaming or glowing material
  • Garbage/trash
  • Refuse
  • Paper
  • Packaging/construction material
  • The carcass of a dead animal
  • Any nauseous or offensive matter
  • Any object that’s likely to injure any person or create a traffic hazard.

While the law does a nice job of stating what litter is, it’s not as helpful when it comes to the consequences associated with getting caught littering.

The first thing you have to understand is that the consequences for throwing fast-food wrappers out your window are going to be significantly different than leaving a mattress in a ditch, or failing to dispose of hazardous waste.

At this point, littering is treated as an infraction, not a misdemeanor. Don’t assume that the lack of jail time means you can litter to your heart’s content. Fines for littering can range from $100-$750 depending on how many times you’ve been cited for littering and what type of materials were involved in the littering infraction. You’ll also be required to complete anywhere from 8-24 hours of community service.


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Making Social Media Threats in California

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Social media has had a strange impact on many people. There is a sense of anonymity and protection associated with the internet that makes us feel comfortable saying things via social media that we would never dream of saying in a real-world situation. The good news is that most of us understand that there are certain things we simply shouldn’t say or do, not even online, and we’re able to get through the day without overstepping any boundaries.

The bad news is that there are some people, even some exceptionally mild-mannered individuals who seem to develop an entirely new personality while they’re online. They don’t just become pushy and/or overbearing as they engage in online battles, but they will actually post some extremely vile threats on their social media accounts or use social media to bully other people.

In some cases, the situation has gotten out of control.

The truth of the matter is that it’s not okay to use any social media sites to post threats or to become dangerously aggressive. The issue of social media violence has gotten so bad that lawmakers and police officers aren’t just taking notice, they’re taking action.

Making social media threats can quickly escalate into cyberbullying. When it does, you could find yourself facing serious charges.

The issue of cyberbullying is dealt with in the California Penal Code 653.2 PC. When you read through the code, you’ll quickly come to realize that you don’t have to actually intend to go through with the threat. The only thing the court system is concerned with is if your victim thinks you intend to mean them harm. If the threat is designed to trigger fear, you could face criminal charges.

At this point, cyberbullying is a misdemeanor, though it’s possible a day could come when it turns into a wobbler offense. It’s also possible that law enforcement will find additional charges they can add to the cyberbullying accusation. If you’re convicted of using social media sites for cyberbullying the maximum sentence is up to a year in a county jail and a $1,000 fine. It’s likely you’ll also be asked to attend anger management classes and maybe have to do some community service.

The next time you’re poised on the brink of making threatening a social media associate, remember how much trouble you could get into, and curb the impulse.


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Crosswalk Safety in California

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Walking to work means you don’t have to worry about getting caught in a traffic jam. It’s a great way to build some stamina while also burning a few calories. It also provides you with the means to start slowing down and develop a connection with the world you live in.

Just don’t think that walking to work is safer than driving yourself. A surprising number of California pedestrians are killed annually. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were 972 pedestrian deaths in 2019. Approximately 22% of fatal traffic episodes in California involve a pedestrian. These alarming statistics prompted California lawmakers to pass the “Right-of-Way at Crosswalks” law.

The Right-of-Way law is written up in Code, Section 21950(a). When you read through the formal law, you’ll learn that drivers are legally required to yield to a pedestrian who is strolling through a crosswalk. The law requires that drivers yield to the pedestrian in both marked and unmarked crosswalks. The implementation of the law also requires that drivers use a little additional care when approaching a crosswalk and be on the lookout for pedestrians who may be about to step onto the street. If a pedestrian is stepping onto the street, the driver will have to stop to allow the pedestrian to safely cross the road.

Another issue that’s dealt with in the Right-of-Way law is passing while driving through a crosswalk. Passing while driving through a crosswalk is dangerous for several reasons, including that the passing driver may not see a pedestrian until it’s too late.

The interesting thing about California’s Right-of-Way law is that it’s designed to protect the rights of both pedestrians and drivers. Drivers do have the right away at crosswalks that are controlled with signals, provided the signal indicates that the driver can go. In this situation, the pedestrians are supposed to yield for drivers. However, drivers do have to wait for slow-moving pedestrians who may be struggling to reach the opposite side in a timely fashion, and the driver must be prepared to take safe and evasive action if a distracted pedestrian fails to notice the sign.

Drivers who are caught failing to adhere to California’s Right-of-Way law will likely receive a traffic citation which will involve a steep fine, points, and the possibility of having the state consider revoking their driving privileges.


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What to Do if You’re Being Stalked

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Every single year, approximately 7.5 million Americans become the victims of a stalker. If you suspect that you’ve attracted the attention of a stalker you must remain calm while simultaneously taking steps to protect yourself.

Don’t Dismiss the Threat

One of the biggest mistakes many stalking victims make is deciding that they are imagining things or that the situation isn’t all that serious. When it comes to a stalker, it’s best to be over-cautious. Being the victim of a stalker not only puts your mental health at risk, but it can also be life-threatening. The University of Gloucestershire conducted a six-month study that revealed that stalking was a component in 94% of the studied homicides.

As soon as you even suspect you’ve attracted the attention of a stalker, you need to take steps to protect yourself.

Block Your Social Media Accounts

Social media has made stalking easier than ever before. Routing posts provide an incredible amount of information that a stalker will use against you. When you feel that you’ve attracted the attention of a stalker, set all of your online profiles to private and stop posting updates, particularly updates that a stalker could use to figure out where you’re going and your routine.

Alert Loved Ones to the Situation

Even if you only have a funny feeling about someone, you should talk to your loved ones about the situation. Not only will they help you decide if you’re imagining things, but they can also take steps to make sure you’re protected. A perfect example of how alerting a loved one to the situation will help you out is that they’ll be willing to accompany you on errands. Not only is there safety in numbers, but the second pair of eyes means you will have a witness to the stalking which will strengthen your case if you have to press charges.

Start Keeping a Record

Pull out a notebook and start recording everything that relates to your stalker. This record should include gifts you’ve received, any time they’ve been in the same location as you, and all virtual and in-person conversations you’ve had with them. It’s a good idea to keep copies of these records in different locations. The data you collect will be a key piece of evidence against your stalker.

Get Serious About Personal Protection

You can’t afford to get casual with your personal protection. As soon as you feel that you’re becoming the victim of a stalker, you need to take a long look at your current situation and evaluate how you can make it safer. You need to lock your doors. You need to alert loved ones about where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Consider taking a self-defense class. Get into the habit of frequently checking in with loved ones. You may even want to consider staying with a friend or loved one until you can figure out how to resolve the situation.

Talk to the Police

As soon as you start to feel threatened by the stalker, it’s time to contact the police. The amount of protection they can provide will depend on your exact circumstances. Even if the situation hasn’t escalated to the point of you being able to obtain a restraining order or file charges against your stalker, contacting the authorities is always a good idea since it officially shows that you’re concerned about the situation and creates yet another record that strengthens your case. The police will also likely have some advice about additional steps you can take to protect yourself.

The most important thing to remember when you’ve attracted the attention of a stalker is to cut your ties with them and to trust your instincts.


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Boating While Under the Influence in California

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Everyone knows about the dangers and legal consequences of driving while under the influence, but we have a tendency to get lax when it comes to other situations. For example, while most of us would never dream of getting behind the wheel of our car after we’ve had a few beers, we have no hesitation when it comes to steering a boat as we drink.

One of the reasons we don’t give boating under the influence a second thought is because very little is ever said about the legal repercussions of doing so. The truth is, that if you’re caught driving a boat while intoxicated, your immediate future could be ruined.

The issue of boating under the influence in California is dealt discussed in Harbors & Navigation Code 655. The law states that:

(b) No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug.

(c) No person shall operate any recreational vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, or similar device if the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more in his or her blood.

(d) No person shall operate any vessel other than a recreational vessel if the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more in his or her blood.

(e) No person shall operate any vessel, or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device who is addicted to the use of any drug. This subdivision does not apply to a person who is participating in a narcotic treatment program approved pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 11875) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code.

(f) No person shall operate any vessel or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, any drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug, and while so operating, do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in the use of the vessel, water skis, aquaplane, or similar device, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than himself or herself.

Getting caught boating under the influence isn’t a joke. You will be charged and face legal consequences. The exact consequences will depend on if it’s your first offense and exactly which aspect of Harbors & Navigation Code 655 was violated.

In most situations, boating under the influence in California is a misdemeanor offense. The maximum sentence for a first-time offense is six months to one year in jail and/or a potential fine of up to $1,000. It’s also possible that the judge will include substance abuse counseling and community service into the sentence.

In the right circumstances, a boating under the influence charge can become a felony offense. This usually happens if your actions resulted in someone getting hurt or if you caused a boating accident that created substantial property damage. If convicted of felony boating under the influence in California, your sentence could include 16 months to three years in jail.

The best way to make sure you don’t have to deal with the hassle of a boating under the influence charge in California is making sure that a designated captain who agrees to not to drink is the only person who piolet the boat.

Your boating adventures should be handled the same way you handle nights out with friends.


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California Ear Bud Laws

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Earbuds are awesome. They provide you with a way to tune out all the noise connected to the world and lose yourself in music, white noise, audiobooks, and podcasts. The earbuds fit snugly into your ear so that you don’t have to worry about anyone being disturbed by what you’re listening to.

What you might not know is that California does have some earbud laws that could impact you.

Cars and Earbuds

The first is you aren’t allowed to drive with earbuds in your ears. Not even if you’re using them to use your cell phone. The reason driving with earbuds in both of your ears is strictly prohibited in California is because lawmakers believe that the noise-canceling features of earbuds make it difficult to identify and react to outside stimuli that could prevent you from getting into an accident. It’s also possible that having the sound pumped directly into your ears, rather than coming from your radio speakers serves as a distraction.

There is some wiggle room. The law reads that you can’t restrict both ears, but doesn’t say anything about having an earbud in a single ear.

It’s worth noting that even if you don’t have anything pumping through the earbuds, you still can’t drive with two earbuds.

If you are caught driving while wearing earbuds, the experience will cost you. The traffic violation will cost $160 plus court costs, plus any other violations the traffic officer is able to cite you with.

California Bikes and Earbuds

Don’t assume that just because you’re on a bike, you can get away with wearing earbuds. The same law that applies to drivers also applies to bikers. You can have an earbud in one ear, but not in both. If you’re caught with both ears covered, you will be ticketed.


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The Legal Ins and Outs of Street Racing in California

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Street racing is fun. It’s exciting. It might even seem like a good idea. It’s also the type of fun that can land you in a great deal of legal trouble.

California lawmakers believe that street racing is reckless and dangerous behavior which is why they’ve created strict laws. The hope is that the laws are enough to convince you to give street racing a pass and look for a different, legal way, to get your kicks.

It’s important to understand that California lawmakers are cracking down on all types of street racing. You aren’t allowed to drag race, drift, or engage in a straight-up speed race while you’re on a public road. If you want to race, find a private racetrack.

At this point, street racing is a misdemeanor in California. Don’t assume that just because it’s a misdemeanor that you’ll get away with a reprimand.

The potential consequences of first-time offense for street racing in California include:

  • 40 hours of required community service
  • Losing your driver’s license for between 90 days and 6 months
  • Serving between 1 day and 90 days in county jail
  • A fine that ranges from $355-$1000
  • Potentially having your vehicle impounded for 30 days (which means 30 days of impound fees)

You probably already guess, the consequences are worse after the first time you’re convicted of street racing in California.

If less than 5 years have passed since your first street racing conviction, the consequences can include:

  • A mandatory 6-month suspension of your driver’s license
  • Serving 4 days to 6 months in the county jail
  • Paying fines that could range from $500-$1000
  • High impound fees

Many street racers are caught because someone is hurt during the race which means medical personal and police arrive on the scene. Not only do the injuries bring law enforcement, but the injury also means significantly worse consequences to everyone who was busted on the street racing scene.

Street racers who are caught in a race that resulted in minor injuries can be sentenced to 30 days up to 6 months, have their license suspended, be required to do a significant amount of community services, and be issued fines of $500 to $1,000.

When a person is seriously injured as a result of a street race in California, you could be sentenced to 16 months to 3 years in jail, lose your driving privileges for a long time, and be required to pay as much as $10,000 in fines. It’s also likely that you’ll be named as the defendant in a civil lawsuit.

If someone passes away because of injuries sustained in a street race, you could be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Additional charges that are frequently added to the street racing charges include:

  • Reckless endangerment
  • Reckless driving
  • Evading the police
  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield

When you consider the potential consequences of street racing, it really is in your best interest to take the time to find a private race track where you can legally race to your heart’s content.


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4 California Bike Laws you Probably Don’t Know About

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Do you spend a lot of time biking in California? If so, there are some California bike laws you’re probably not familiar with.

Bikes and Crosswalks

Did you know that as a cyclist, you’re not supposed to stop your bike in the middle of a crosswalk? When you’re on a bike, you need to treat it the exact same way you would if you driving a car. Instead of pulling into the crosswalk, you’re supposed to stop at it. This gives pedestrians the opportunity and space needed to use the crosswalk.

Prep Your Bike For Nighttime Rides

If you’re cycling at any time between dusk and full-on morning sunlight, you need to have your bike properly equipped with enough equipment that motorists can easily see your bike. It’s not enough to simply rely on the reflectors the bike came with You should also have a red solid or flashing light attached to the back of your bike that can be easily seen from a distance of 500 feet away. On the front of your bike, you need to attach a white light that not only helps with your visibility but can also be seen from 500 feet away.

Ideally, you should wear clothing that has reflectors on it as well.

Keep One Ear Open

You see it all the time, cyclists cruising along with headphones in their ears, taking advantage of their ride to listen to audiobooks, songs, and podcasts. What you probably don’t know is that you can’t legally have two ears full of earbuds or be covered by a headphone while you’re cycling. CVC 27400 states that you must leave one ear uncovered while you’re riding your bike.

Stay Away from that Oversized Bike

If you think it’s okay to send your child out on the bike they haven’t quite grown into, or you’re tempted to purchase a massive bike you’ve been admiring each time you visit your favorite bike shop, you need to think again. California’s bike laws prohibit you from operating an oversized bicycle on public roads.

CVC 21201(c) states that, no person shall operate upon a highway a bicycle that is of a size that prevents the operator from safely stopping the bicycle, supporting it in an upright position with at least one foot on the ground, and restarting it safely.

Were you familiar with these bike laws?