What to do if you find a lost pet

Found a Lost Pet? Here’s What you Have to Do

What to do if you find a lost pet

It happens all the time. A dog appears in your yard or you find a cat while your out on a walk. Even though the animal isn’t yours, you invite it into your home. At this point, you find yourself in the crossroads of an ethical decision. Do you keep the lost pet or do you make an effort to track down the owners?

Protocol for Finding Lost Pets

While you might think it’s up to you to decide if you want to keep the pet or find it’s owner, California lawmakers think differently. Many lawmakers are animal lovers who have gone through the agony of having a cherished pet disappear. In an effort to help lost pets reunite with their devastated owners, the lawmakers passed legislation that requires that you report the found animal within 48 hours of finding them.

You can report the lost animal to animal control, the local police, or a local vet clinic. This gives the owner a chance to contact the same organizations as they attempt to track down the missing pet. In most cases, as soon as you contact animal control or the vet clinic, you’ll find the owner has already reported the missing animal. At that point, the only thing left for you to do is arrange for the owner to pick up their missing pet.

Don’t be surprised if you’re told that you have to bring the pet in and have it scanned for a microchip.

What Happens if you Don’t Report a Found Pet

Not reporting that you’ve found a pet within 48 hours means you’re facing a misdemeanor charge. The good news is that if you have reported the found pet and no one claims them, you are free to keep the pet.

Tips for Reuniting Found Pets with their Owners

It’s is always in your best interest to reunite a found pet with its owner. This can be a problem if it doesn’t have a microchip. The good news is that you’re not out of options. In addition to contacting the local shelters, animal control, and vet clinics about the animal, you should also post it in local social media groups. These groups are often the first place devastated owners go when they’re trying to find their missing pet.

If you’re a pet owner, it’s in your best interest to get your pet microchipped. It drastically increases the chances of you enjoying a happy reunion if the worst happens and your pet somehow escapes.


bail bonds

Ponzi Schemes and California Law

bail bonds

Ponzi schemes aren’t legal in California. The state considers these financial cons a type of financial fraud. California’s judicial system is currently set up in such a way that it helps protect whistleblowers and consumers from getting caught up in the legal drama that always surrounds Ponzi schemes.

Understanding the Difference Between Ponzi Schemes and Pyramid Schemes

Many people mistakenly assume that Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes are the same things. While there are quite a few similarities, there are also a few key differences.

Ponzi schemes are usually handled by a single person. That individual convinces investors to take part in something, usually a promised investment, that never comes to fruition. Investors are convinced that they can’t possibly lose money and will make a huge return on their investment. It usually takes a great deal of time for the investors to realize that the person who is “managing their portfolio” is actually running a con and is keeping their money.

The Bernard Madoff debacle is a perfect example of a Ponzi scheme. Madoff created the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and was able to convince several people he was the real deal. His pitch was so good, he amassed close to 5,000 investors. It’s believed that his take was close to $65 billion.

A pyramid scheme is more elaborate and involves more people, some of which don’t realize that they’re committing a crime. With a pyramid scheme, a single person not only recruits investors but also recruits people who gather even more investors. The original person is the very top of the pyramid in this particular scheme. Most pyramid schemes involve a type of product that does actually exist.

Business in Motion is an example of an illegal pyramid scheme. The program revolved around the sale of economical vacation plans. Each person who bought into the program invested $3,200. If the person was able to sell additional vacation packages to friends and family, they’d earn a $5,000 commission.

Approximately 2,000 people bought into the pyramid scheme. In 2008, they launched a class-action lawsuit against the program’s creator. A judge agreed that the program was a pyramid scheme and awarded the investors a $6.5 million ruling.

The Legal Ramifications of Running a Ponzi Scheme

Ponzi schemes are prohibited in California. The laws that address Ponzi schemes are found in the California Penal Code Section 319. The creators of Ponzi schemes in California can be charged with:

Charles Ponzi is considered the father of the Ponzi scheme. Ponzi was eventually convicted of mail fraud and spent 14 years in prison.


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.


What are protesters rights

What Are Protester’s Rights?

What are protesters rights

One of the great things about living here in the United States is that people can always speak their mind. The First Amendment to the Constitution grants every US citizen the right to freedom of speech and peacefully protest. This way, if someone doesn’t like something that is going on in the world, they can speak out against it and try to make a change.

While this law is a great one, there is often a bit of confusion around it. Sometimes people find themselves being arrested for what they believe to have been them exercising their First Amendment Rights. This is especially common during protests. The problem is that some people don’t understand what is and isn’t protected, and so they may overstep and do something they think is protected when, in fact, it is considered illegal.

The First Amendment to the Constitution

The US Constitution is what gives us citizens our many rights. The First Amendment to the Constitution grants citizens freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the freedom of religion, and the right to assemble/petition. This is the amendment that gives people the right to protest when they are upset about something.

The Amendment was a part of the Bill of Rights, which is the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. It was adopted into law in 1791 to protect the civil liberties of US citizens.

Where People Run Into Trouble

The problem that most people run into while protesting is that they start to break laws even though they think they are just exercising their right to free speech.

True, everyone has the right to free speech. However, no one is allowed to threaten the safety of others or to lie or slander other people. Threatening to hurt or kill people is never acceptable and is not protected under the First Amendment. Doing this will get a person arrested, and rightfully so. No one should ever be made to feel like their life is in danger. A protester is also not allowed to say things that could start a riot or other dangerous behavior.

People are allowed to gather and protest, as long as they do so safely and in designated public areas. Some acceptable places to protest include parks, sidewalks, public streets, public auditoriums, the steps of city hall, in front of government buildings, and on private property with the property owner’s permission. A person can protest in any of these locations without fear of arrest, so long as they are not exhibiting any unsafe behavior, such as blocking traffic.

Protesters still have to listen to orders given by peace officers whose jobs it is to protect people’s safety. Police officers are meant to keep people safe. If they are telling someone to stop acting in a dangerous manner, which can include disrupting traffic, disturbing the peace, or risking public health, the person needs to listen or they will be arrested.

A protester is allowed to peacefully express their opinions as long as they continue to follow other established laws. If they don’t do that, then they could be arrested for breaking those laws.

Laws Protesters Can Be Charged with in California

A person can get arrested while protesting if they start breaking laws. Some of the laws that are most commonly broken by protesters include:

  • PC 148: Resisting arrest. A person breaks this law when they resist arrest or obstruct an officer from arresting someone else.
  • PC 403: Disturbing a public meeting. A person breaks this law when they willfully disturb or break up a lawful public meeting.
  • PC 409: Failing to disperse. A person breaks this law when they stay at a riot or other unlawful assembly after being told to leave by a police officer.
  • PC 415: Disturbing the peace. A person breaks this law when they play excessively loud music, start a fight with someone, or use offensive language meant to start a fight.
  • PC 602: Trespassing. A person breaks this law when they enter or remain on private property when they don’t have permission to be there.

Everyone Has Rights

Here in the US, is a person doesn’t like something, they have the right to say so. They have the right to try and peacefully convince others of their idea. However, they do not have the right to do whatever they want while protesting.

While a person is protesting, they must remember other peoples’ rights as well. People have the right to go about their daily lives peacefully, they have the right to not be threatened with violence, and everyone has the right to speak their mind, even if their opinion is different.


robbery

Is There a Difference between These 3 Crimes?

robbery

When it comes to legal stuff, there is a lot that the general public doesn’t know, and it’s understandable. Anyone who has ever tried to read a law before has come face to face with the seemingly cryptic language known as legalese. That stuff is not easy to understand and so it’s only natural that people don’t have a perfect understanding of the thousands of laws in existence here in California.

A common misconception is that theft, burglary, and robbery are all the same crime. However, they are not. The law views each one differently. Each crime has specific circumstances tied to it that helps distinguish it from the others.

What Is Theft in California?

Theft is defined under California Penal Code (PC) 484 as the wrongful taking of someone else’s property. This can be done in a number of ways, such as taking an item, or money, when no one is looking or lying to get someone to hand over an item or money.

This crime is broken up into two categories, petty and grand. Which category a person falls into depends on the monetary value of what was stolen. If the monetary value of the stolen goods is under $950, then the thief will be charged with petty theft. If the monetary value is over $950, then the person will face grand theft charges.

The consequences for theft are dependent on which version a person has been accused of. For petty theft, a person faces misdemeanor charges that come with:

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

If the person has been charged with grand theft, they can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, a person faces:

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

If grand theft is charged as a felony, a person faces:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.

What Is Burglary?

Burglary is defined by PC 459 as entering a structure or vehicle with the intent of committing a crime. As far as this law is concerned, a person is guilty as soon as they enter the building or vehicle, regardless if they actually stole anything after that. All this law is concerned with is entering a place with the intent of committing a crime.

As with theft, burglary is also broken down into two categories: first- and second-degree burglary. First-degree burglary occurs when a person burglarizes a residence. Second-degree burglary occurs when a person burglarizes a commercial building.

This law is a wobbler, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. How it is charged depends on the facts of the case. First-degree burglary is always charged as a felony and comes with:

  • 2, 4, or 6 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.

Second-degree burglary can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a felony it carries the following consequences:

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

When charged as a felony, the crime comes with:

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

What Is Robbery?

In California, the crime of robbery is defined under PC 211 as taking something from someone’s immediate presence against their will through the use of force or fear. Basically, this means that a person took something from someone by force. An example of this crime would be using a gun to take a woman’s purse from them.

Again, as with the other 2 crimes, robbery can be broken down into two categories: first- and second-degree robbery. First-degree robbery occurs when one of the following is true about the case:

  • The victim was driving some sort of motor vehicle.
  • The crime took place in some sort of residence.
  • The victim had just visited an ATM.

Second-degree robbery occurs when a robbery doesn’t meet any of the above qualifications.

First-degree robbery is a felony that comes with:

  • 3, 4, or 6 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.

Second-degree robbery is also a felony, and it comes with:

  • 2, 3, or 5 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.

They Are Different

When written out in plain English, it is easy to see the differences between these crimes. Theft is stealing something, robbery is forcibly stealing something from a person’s immediate possession, and burglary is entering a structure with the intent of committing a crime. Burglary doesn’t have anything to do with stealing at all.

The consequences that a person faces depends on which crime the person has been accused of. Theft has much lighter consequences than robbery does due to the nature of the two crimes. Robbery is inherently more violent and threatening. Meanwhile, burglary consequences can be a bit light, but that is likely due to the fact that a person will probably face other charges on top of the burglary charge.

The bottom line is, even though the general public views these terms as synonymous, they are actually distinctly different.


Can children be home alone

When Can Children Be Left Home Alone?

Can children be home alone

Parenting is rarely an easy task at the best of times. When times get tough, like they have recently, parenting can get even tougher. With schools shut down all over the country, many parents have suddenly been reminded of just how tough parenting is. This is only made worse when some parents are still working, meaning their kids have to be left home alone.

Parents of younger kids can be left in a very tough spot. They need to work, but they also need to keep an eye on their children at home. They worry that their children may not be old enough to be left home alone. Then they wonder at what age a child can legally be left home alone in California.

It Depends on the Child

Deciding to leave a child home alone is not an easy decision to make. Most parents spend hours agonizing over that decision the first time. They may search online for answers, but unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. The one nice thing is that there is no law here in the state of California that states when a child can be left home alone.

When it comes to leaving a child home alone, things vary from kid to kid. This is one of the main reasons why the state doesn’t set an age limit to when a child can be left home alone. Some kids mature faster than others, and so an 8-year-old may be ready to take care of herself for an hour or two while a 9-year-old may still need constant supervision. The state can’t make exact guidelines for this kind of thing and so refer to the parent’s expertise on their child.

To help parents make a truly informed and well thought out decision, the state does provide parents with a list of questions to ask themselves regarding their child on the California Department of Education’s website. These questions include:

  • Can he creatively solve problems?
  • Do you live in an isolated area without close neighbors?
  • Does he always let you know where he is going and when he will return?
  • Does your child become bored easily?
  • Is a neighbor home to help if needed?
  • Is he easily frightened?
  • Is she responsible?
  • Is your neighborhood safe?
  • Will you or another adult always be available to your child in case of an emergency?
  • Would caring for the younger sibling restrict the older child’s activities?
  • Would she be at home with an older brother or sister? Do siblings get along?
  • Would she spend her time responsibly?
  • Would the older sibling resent caring for the younger one?
  • Would your child rather stay home than go to a child care or after-school program?

A parent should carefully consider all of these before coming to a conclusion about what they should do with their child. Some parents may find that after considering these points, their child isn’t ready to be left on their own. Others may determine that child is ready to handle the extra responsibility that comes with being home alone.

If a parent decides that they can leave their child home alone for a few hours, the California Department of Education recommends creating some rules for the child. Some of the rules they recommend are:

  • Are they allowed to leave the house or go outside?
  • How she can reach you.
  • The foods she may eat, preferably nothing involving the stove.
  • What appliances and devices can be used.
  • What TV shows can be watched.
  • Which friends are allowed to come over.

These simple rules can help keep a child safe while they are on their own.

It’s the Parent’s Decision

No one ever said that raising kids would be easy, and that was when things were generally right in the world. With schools shut down now, parents who are stuck going to work are being forced to face the dilemma of whether or not their child is mature and responsible enough to be staying home alone.

Luckily, there is no direct law stating when a child can be left on their own for a little while. This means the act of leaving a child home alone itself is not illegal. However, a parent can run into complications if by leaving the child alone, the child stood a more than likely chance of getting hurt. In those instances, a parent could be charged with neglect. If taken to court, the judge would likely default to the parent’s reasoning and thoughts on the matter. After all, parents are the best experts on how responsible and mature their children are.

What do you think of California’s lack of laws surrounding when a child can be left home alone? Should there be a law regulating this, or is it best to leave the decision up to the parents? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.


Stimulus check

Don’t Get Scammed out of Your Stimulus Check

Stimulus check

As the world practically shuts down in response to the spreading COVID-19 Pandemic, many people are now finding themselves stuck at home. For some, this time away from work can be very welcome. For others, however, not making any money is very stressful. Millions of people across the country have either had their jobs shutdown and are receiving no paycheck, or were laid off entirely. This is a pretty big deal for those who were living paycheck to paycheck.

To counteract the lack of income, and to keep the economy from crashing entirely, the US government agreed on a $2 trillion stimulus plan. All of this money would go to places it was needed most, such as the pockets of American citizens trying to pay their bills.

As great as this plan sounds for many Americans, it sounded even better for a shady group of people. Scammers heard news of the stimulus plan being approved and immediately began creating schemes. There has been a very noticeable uptick in scams revolving around the stimulus checks that will soon be going out to people.

What Is the Stimulus Plan?

The approved stimulus plan will be issuing checks of up to $1,200 to eligible Americans across the country. People who are eligible for these checks include:

  • People making less than $75,000 a year.
  • Couples making less than $150,000 a year.
  • Disabled veterans.
  • People who receive social security.

The money will be delivered to individuals based on how they receive their tax returns. If people chose to have their tax returns deposited directly into their bank account, then that is what will happen with their stimulus money. If people selected to have their tax return check mailed to them, then their stimulus check will be mailed to the same address.

For people who do not have to file taxes each year, such as low-income taxpayers, they will need to fill out a simple tax form. More information on that can be found on the official IRS website.

The money is slated to start going out in the next few weeks, but it will likely take several months for everyone to get their money.

Scammers Are Surfacing

Scammers love when people are scared or in a panic. In this state, people are easier to trick since they aren’t paying as much attention to details as they normally are. This is why scammers always try to scare their victims. However, with all of this fear from the pandemic, they don’t have to instill that fear, they can go straight to feeding off of it.

If a person receives any form of communication regarding their stimulus money, they should ignore it. There will be no fees that need to be paid before funds can be issued. There will be no need to give personal information over the phone or through email.

The IRS states that people on social security and those that file their taxes will not have to do anything to get their stimulus checks. The system will figure out who’s getting money and how/where to send it based on previous tax information. Chances are, the IRS, or any other government agency, will not be contacting people about their checks, so there is no reason to respond to any communications about the subject.

If a person suspects that a communication is legit, then they still should not respond through the presented method. Instead, a person should go to the official IRS website and contact someone through the methods presented there. The site can be identified by having .gov at the end of the site address instead of the usual .com.

Don’t Panic

Everyone can understand how money is a bit tight right now for a lot of people. Shutting down entire industries means that millions of people are without work and likely without pay. This is why the government enacted this stimulus package. They want to ensure that people get the money they need to stay in their homes until this pandemic has come to an end.

During this tough and confusing time, it is important for people not to panic. Doing so could cause them to fall victim to any number of scams. The best thing for everyone is to stay calm and to never give personal information to anyone who contacted them first.


How to properly pull over

How to Properly Pull Over

How to properly pull over

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

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

What to Do When Pulled Over

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

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

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

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

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

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

What If the Car Is Unmarked?

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

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

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

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

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

Stop and Listen to Avoid Trouble

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


California marijuana laws

What Are the Laws on Marijuana in California?

California marijuana laws

It seems like just yesterday that the usage of marijuana was illegal here in California. However, Californians voted to make marijuana usage legal in the state back in 2016, and the recreational use of marijuana became legal January 1st, 2018. This change allowed a whole lot of people to use marijuana without having to worry about getting into trouble with the law or needing it for medical reasons.

While this legal change has been in effect for 2 years now, there is still the occasional bit of confusion for some people on what is and isn’t legal. For instance, some people don’t know how much marijuana they are allowed to grow, or how much they can have on their person at one time.

The State’s Marijuana Possession Law

California has several different laws that describe what is and isn’t legal in regards to marijuana. For instance, when it comes to possession of marijuana, Health and Safety Code (HS) 11357 states how much a person can carry on them. Under this law, people over the age of 21 are allowed to hold 28.5 grams or less of marijuana. That’s just a little more than an ounce. Under this law, a person is also allowed to carry up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis.

A person breaks this law when they:

  • Are under 21.
  • Possess more than 28.5 grams
  • Possess marijuana on the grounds of a K-12.

The penalties for breaking this law vary depending on how exactly it was broken. The charges for this crime can range from an infraction to a misdemeanor. They can have fines anywhere from $100 to $500, up to 6 months in jail, and require drug counseling.

Laws about Growing Marijuana

HS 11358 dictates who can grow marijuana and how much of it they can grow. Anyone over the age of 21 can grow up to 6 plants of marijuana. It typically has to be grown indoors, unless the city has a local ordinance that permits outdoor growth. Wherever marijuana is grown, it has to be in a secure location inaccessible to minors.

If a minor grows any marijuana, they are guilty of an infraction and will face:

  • $100 fine.
  • A drug counseling course.

If an adult grows more than 6 plants, they will be guilty of a misdemeanor and face:

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

In some instances a person can face felony charges for goring more than 6 plants if they:

  • Have been convicted of serious violent felonies.
  • Are a registered sex offender.
  • Have 2 or more convictions of growing 6 or more plants.
  • Violated certain environmental laws while growing their plants.

Marijuana Selling Laws

HS 11359 outlines who is allowed to sell marijuana. Only people who have acquired a license to sell marijuana from the state are allowed to sell the drug. Anyone else who is caught selling marijuana without a license will usually face a misdemeanor that comes with:

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

However, in some instances, a person can face felony charges if:

  • They have been convicted of certain serious violent felonies.
  • They have 2 or more previous convictions of marijuana possession with intent to sell.
  • They tried to sell marijuana to a minor under the age of 18.
  • As a felony, a person can face time in county jail ranging from 16 months to 3 years.

Marijuana and Driving Laws

Driving while in possession of marijuana is made illegal under Vehicle Code (VC) 23222. This is the same law that prohibits people from driving while possessing an open container of alcohol. Basically, this law makes it illegal for anyone to drive a vehicle while in possession of opened marijuana containers.

Driving under the influence of marijuana is just as illegal as driving under the influence of alcohol. This is why the crime is referred to as driving under the influence (DUI), not driving while intoxicated (DWI). DUI is more inclusive of driving under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. If a person drives while high, they will face the same consequences they would if they were driving drunk.

These Laws Differ from Federal Laws

While marijuana usage is legal here in California, it is still illegal at the federal level. This means that even if a person is following the state laws for possessing and selling of marijuana, they could still be arrested and punished at the federal level. Despite that fact, for the most part, federal law enforcement isn’t that interested in the individual use of marijuana.

Still, there are instances where federal law enforcement will care about individual marijuana use. This will primarily occur when a person is on federal property such as:

  • Federal buildings.
  • Federal courthouses.
  • National parks.
  • Post offices.
  • Public airports.

If a person is caught possessing marijuana, they face the following under federal law:

  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Up to 1 year in federal prison.

Growing, possessing with intent to sell, and sale of less than 50 pounds or 50 plants, is punishable with:

  • A max fine of $250,000.
  • Up to 5 years in federal prison.

Staying Out of Trouble Isn’t Too Hard

This is just a sample of some of the more common laws surrounding marijuana usage and cultivation here in California. Even though the laws went into effect 2 years ago, they are still new enough to cause some confusion.

As long as a person follows the above laws, they shouldn’t run into too much trouble with the law, at the state level anyways. When it comes to dealing with federal law, a person is better off leaving the marijuana at home. If they don’t do that, they could face some very harsh consequences.

What do you think of California’s many marijuana laws? Do they do a good job at keeping people safe, or are they too complicated? What about the federal laws regarding marijuana? Is it fair for people to get into trouble at the federal level even though they are following state laws? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.


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What Are California’s Car Seat Laws?

lynwood bail bonds car seat laws

The goal of every good parent is to keep their child safe. Unfortunately, this task is a lot easier said than done thanks to all of the different ways a child can get hurt. At times, it can feel a bit overwhelming for a parent, but they never give up. Their child is counting on them after all.

One area where kids need extra protection is when they are riding in a car. People often forget how dangerous driving can be, until there is an accident. In order to help keep kids safe, parents are required to put their kids into car seats while driving them anywhere. Failing to do so could lead to their child being severely hurt, and to the parent facing legal troubles.

The Rules on Car Seats

This can come as a shock to some people, but seat belts can actually cause more harm than good to little ones in a car. This is due to the fact that built-in seat belts on cars are designed to keep adults, not children, safe in the event of an accident. This is why car seats are so important, they are designed for children and babies.

The problem is, figuring out when to move a child up to the next level of seating can be a bit confusing. This matter is only made more stressful due to the fact that the state of California has a law requiring children to be properly restrained while riding in vehicles. This means that getting the car seat wrong could result in the parent paying a fine.

Vehicle Code (VC) 27360 is California’s child restraint law. This law dictates what kind of car seat a child needs at what stage in their life.

For starters, all children under the age of 2 must ride in a rear-facing car seat. The only exception to this is if the child weighs over 40 pounds or is taller than 40 inches. Basically, once a child reaches any one of those limits, they can move on to a forward-facing car seat.

Experts recommend keeping kids in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible due to their safety, but parents should always be aware of the car seats weight and height limits, which typically top out at 40 pounds and 40 inches. This is why kids are allowed to be moved up to forward-facing car seats when they reach those sizes, even if they aren’t over the age of 2 yet.

In California, children have to be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old, or are 4’9”. Again, experts recommend keeping a child in a car seat or booster seat until they max out the weight and height restrictions of the seat.

To simplify things, a parent just needs to follow the weight and height guidelines for the car seats. Keep a child in a rear-facing car seat until they are too big for it, then move them to a forward-facing seat until they eventually outgrow that. From there, move them to a booster seat until they outgrow that, and then they should be big enough to wear a regular seat belt.

The Penalties for Not Using a Car Seat

Aside from the obvious fact that children will be more likely to be severely injured in the event of an accident when they are not properly restrained, a parent could face a nice little ticket for not buckling up their child properly.

When a driver fails to properly restrain their child in a vehicle, they will face the following:

  • A $100 fine for a first offence.
  • A $250 fine for any subsequent offense.
  • 1 point on their driving record.

It is important to remember that the prices listed above are only the base prices. Thanks to all of the additional fines, fees, and assessments that California has tacked on, the ticket will really cost a lot more than those prices.

While the singular point on the driving record doesn’t sound all that bad, a person needs to remember that if a driver accumulates too many points within a certain amount of years, they can be labeled a negligent driver and have their license suspended or even revoked altogether.

Buckle Up Your Kids

Car seats and the California laws surrounding them may seem complicated and confusing, but they are actually pretty straight forward. As long as a parent follows the guidelines for height and weight limits on their child’s seat, they won’t have to worry. Their child will be safe in the car and they will be safe from getting a ticket for not properly restraining a child in a vehicle.

What do you think about the state’s child seat laws? Are they a good idea to help keep kids safe, or do they over complicate things? What about the penalties for failing to use a car seat, are they fair or too much? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.