Consequences of High-Speed Chases in California

Consequences of High-Speed Chases in California

High-speed car chases happen all over the country, yet whenever people hear about a high-speed chase, they automatically assume it took place in California. That’s because California, and more specifically, Los Angeles, is considered the Car Chase Capital of the World.

There are a few reasons that California and high-speed chases go together. The first is that there are a lot of people in California and an extensive highway system. That combination means more opportunity. In 2002, there were over 700 car chases just in Los Angeles. 

The second is that there is more media coverage, specifically helicopter film coverage, in the L.A. area, which means that rather than being a single paragraph buried in the bottom of an online newspaper column, the California chase makes it onto television and attracts a lot of attention.

The problem with high-speed car chases is that while they look fun on television, they are actually extremely dangerous, and often it’s the bystanders who get hurt and even killed as a result of the car chase.

It doesn’t matter how good a driver you think you are, you will never be able to outrun the police, who will use radios to stay on top of your exact location. Engaging in a high-speed car chase will simply get you in even more legal trouble than you faced prior to trying to flee the police. Even worse, there will be elements of the chase you simply can’t control.

A recent California car chase illustrated just how badly things can go when you attempt to flee the police. In June, a driver in a flatbed truck attempted to evade the police. At one point he was driving on the wrong side of the road. He lost control of his vehicle when the police deployed a spike strip and crashed his vehicle. The wreck was so severe the 10 Freeway was shut down while debris was removed.

California lawmakers call fleeing the police reckless evasion, a wobbler offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Reckless evasion is addressed in the California Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC.

If you’re convicted of misdemeanor reckless evasion, you could be sentenced to:

• Up to one year in jail Fined $1,000

 
If you’re convicted of felony reckless evasion, the sentence can include:

• Up to 3 years in prison
• A fine that’s as large as $10,000
• The judge could order that the vehicle you used to flee from the police be impounded for thirty days, which will make you responsible for impound fees as well as towing.

 
In order to convict you of reckless evasion, the prosecution has to prove that:

• You intentionally evaded the police
• That it was clear both the vehicle the officer was in and the officer was a member of the police force 

 
It doesn’t matter if you’re worried about getting a ticket or if you’re about to be arrested for a serious crime, trying to evade the police and leading them on a high-speed chase will only make the situation much worse. Not only will the evasion lead to additional charges, but if your actions lead to property damage or if someone gets hurt, you could also find yourself as the defendant in a costly civil lawsuit.

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3 Signs That Your Child is being Victimized by a Bully

3 Signs That Your Child is being Victimized by a Bully

Many of the kids who are returning to school this fall haven’t attended an actual school since March 2020. While this return is good in terms of reconnecting on a social level and regaining some normalcy, it also means that once again, parents are worried about bullies. 

A single bully can do an enormous amount of damage to a child. They hit the child’s self-confidence takes can haunt your child for the rest of their life. In addition to psychological trauma, parents also worry about bullying and physical abuse.

Most kids don’t report bullying problems to their parents. Catching the early warning signs and putting together a plan of action takes a great deal of diligence, observation, and communication.

Pay Attention to Your Child’s Appearance Both Before and After School

The first sign that a child is being bullied is often changes to their clothing and overall appearance at the start of the school day versus the end. Yes, kids trade clothing and jewelry. Yes, kids rip, tear, and stain their clothing via innocent actions. However, if your child is consistently coming home looking bedraggled, or is hiding torn clothing, or constantly has items of clothing missing, it could indicate that your child has attracted a bully.

Look for Bruises, Cuts, and Scrapes

Active kids do get banged up while playing, but kids who are being bullied will often also be covered in cuts and bruises which is why you should ask how your child was injured. Not only should you pay attention to how they received the injury, but also to how they tell you about it. If the bruise was sustained while playing sports, your child will likely have an entire adventure regarding the wound. However, if they are quiet about the injury or try to hide it, it could indicate a bullying problem.

Changes in Personality

Kids’ personalities are in a constant state of flux. They go through stages of intense joy, irritation, and resistance. Sometimes these changes happen at a rapid-fire pace. What isn’t normal is for a happy, bubbly kid who likes school to go through a prolonged period of depression where they no longer want to socialize. It’s also unusual for your child to suddenly lose all interest in activities and friends that they have always loved in the past. 

Sudden and long-term changes often indicate a bullying problem.

If you notice signs that your child’s return to school has resulted in them being bullied, you’ll want to take a proactive stance before the situation leaves your child emotionally or physically scarred.

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California Ear Bud Laws

California Ear Bud Laws

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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How to Get Into Trouble With Airport Security

How to Get Into Trouble With Airport Security

Even though everyone should know that the individuals who work in airport security don’t appreciate a sense of humor, we’re still being bombarded by news stories about people who simply couldn’t behave themselves either at the airport or on the plane and found themselves on the wrong side of airport security. 

You don’t want your name attached to any of these stories so if you’re future plans include flying, it’s a good idea to take some time and review the things that could get you into trouble with airport security.

Joking With Airport Security

Oddly enough, the thing that seems to land the most people in hot water with airport security is joking around. Some people simply can’t stop themselves from saying things that might be funny to most people. The problem is that while the security person you’re talking to might have a sense of humor, their training makes it impossible to play along. Saying the wrong thing, such as commenting about a bomb or having weapons, will result in you getting detained.

It’s in your best interest to keep your jokes to yourself until you’re far from the airport.

Failing to Double Check the Protocols for Flying with Liquids

One of the biggest headaches most people run into is forgetting the rules regarding liquids and tucking something such as mouthwash or a bottle of water into their carry-on bag that doesn’t meet airport regulations. 

The good news is that the airport isn’t telling you that you have to leave all of your liquids behind. You can still bring them with you, but if there are in a container that’s bigger than 3.4 ounces and in a resealable bag, they can’t be in your carry-on luggage. It’s important to note, that the size of the container is important. It doesn’t matter if you’re only transporting an ounce of liquid, if it’s in a full-size container, you must stow it in your checked luggage.

If you do forget and tuck something in your carry-on that doesn’t meet the airport’s requirements for liquid on flights, pay careful attention to how the security team tells you to dispose of the container and follow their instructions to the letter. Don’t get belligerent or obnoxious, simply do what you’re told.

Carrying a Large Amount of Cash

Perhaps one of the strangest things that can get you in trouble with airport security is having a large quantity of cash on you when you enter the airport. The good news is that airport security won’t stop you from flying simply because you have a lot of cash tucked into your pockets, but you should be prepared to answer questions about why you’re using so much cash rather than relying on debit/credit cards while you travel. The existence of the cash will also usually get you flagged for additional security tests so be prepared for the check-in process to take longer than it would if you didn’t have a large amount of cash on you.

Being Obnoxious

Honestly, the biggest thing that gets people into trouble with airport security is their own attitude. The problem is that traveling is already a stressful process and it doesn’t take much to bring out the worst aspects of our personalities. As a result, we can get short-tempered when the airport staff asks us questions that seem too personal or irrelevant. The problem is that the worse your temper gets, the more likely it becomes that airport security will get involved and detain you. 

When you’re flying, it’s in your best interest to take several deep breaths and remain as calm as possible.

The good news is that provided you follow the rules, give yourself plenty of time, and are on your best behavior, you shouldn’t have any trouble with airport security the next time you fly.

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Car Theft in California

Car Theft in California

Car theft is a serious problem in California. Data collected by the California Highway Patrol revealed that in 2019, 151,244 California vehicles were stolen. That means that someone had a vehicle stolen in California every 3.5 minutes. The accumulated value of these vehicles was about $1.2 billion. 

What is really alarming is that those figures indicate a shocking 8.2 percent increase in auto thefts from the year before. 

Things got even worse in 2020 when 180,939 vehicles were reported stolen. The accumulated value of the stolen vehicles was $1.6 billion. This represents a 19.6% car theft increase from 2019.

Law enforcement would like to turn that trend around.

The issue of car theft in California is addressed in Penal Code 487(d)(1) which is where the topic is formally referred to as grand theft auto. When you read through the law, you’ll find that taking any vehicle without the owner’s permission when that vehicle has a value that exceeds $950, is considered grand theft auto. If you’re caught, the prosecutor will decide if they want to pursue misdemeanor or felony charges.

The consequences of a car theft conviction in California are severe. 

If felony charges are pursued, you face a sentence that includes:

• Sixteen months to three years in prison
• Up to $5,000 in fines
• Restitution

 
In many cases, grand theft auto in California is combined with other crimes, such as burglary, assault, reckless endangerment, and traffic violations.

If you are borrowing someone’s vehicle, it’s in your best interest to make sure they write down that they gave you permission to drive it or at the very least, have a few people witness them saying that you were welcome to use the vehicle. Treating the loan of a vehicle as a business deal reduces the chances of a communication breakdown resulting in car theft charges. When borrowing a vehicle, it’s always best to be extremely cautious and to make sure everybody connected to the car understands the situation.

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Be Prepared for a Blackout

Be Prepared for a Blackout

Electricity is one of those things you don’t appreciate until you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a blackout. The good news is that there are some things you can do to make sure you’re ready the next time the power goes out, even if the power remains out for several days.

Know Where Your Flashlights Are

Instead of using candles, keep a large supply of flashlights and batteries on hand. Ideally, you should have one flashlight in every single room so you can quickly find them. Make sure that everyone in the house is in habit of putting the flashlights back after each use. The flashlights won’t do you any good during a blackout if you can’t find them.

Stock up on Power Packs for your Electronics

Pick up a few power packs and charge them up. These will come in handy if the power goes out for a long time. They allow you to keep your phone charged so that you can contact someone if there’s an emergency. During a blackout, you should try to conserve your cell phone’s battery by only using it for important calls. Don’t use the power packs to charge anything but the cell phones until the power comes back on.

Keep Some Food Staples in Your Home

Even if you don’t eat things like crackers and other non-perishables very often, it’s not a bad idea to have some stashed in your pantry so you can eat while you wait for the power problem to be resolved. Remember, without power, you’re microwave, hot plates, and electric stoves won’t work so there could be an extended time that you’re unable to cook food, so you need something that can be eaten straight out of the package.

In addition to making sure you have plenty to eat, make sure you also have plenty of bottled water on hand at all times.

Keep your Gas Tanks Full

If you’re in the middle of a city-wide (or larger) blackout, the gas stations won’t have power either. This is why it’s a good idea to always make sure you keep enough gas in your vehicle so that if something does happen in a blackout, you can at least drive to the nearest hospital.

Get a Carbon Monoxide Alarm

An increasing number of people are investing in generators, which allows them to use some things during a blackout. The bad news is that this also increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Having a few alarms in your home goes a long way towards keeping you safe if fumes somehow leak into your own home.

The most important thing to remember during a blackout is that staying calm makes the situation easier and that eventually, the power will come back on.

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Distracted Walking in California

Distracted Walking in California

Everyone is familiar with distracted driving tickets, but few of us have ever heard of distracted walking laws. If you’re wondering if that’s even a real thing you’re not alone.

Rest assured, not only is distracted walking a viable concern, but one California city, Montclair, has already passed a distracted walking law. In April 2018, the city’s distracted walking law officially went into effect. Once that happened, anyone caught using their cell phone while walking across the street was subjected to a $100.

It seems like a silly rule, but if you take a few minutes watching people walking on the sidewalk and you can see why distracted walking is a concern. These days, people are completely glued to their phones and often unaware of what is happening around them. Some don’t even look up when they start crossing the street. This type of behavior has prompted more cities to explore the concept of distracted walking laws.

A team of researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark revealed that the number of medical emergencies that included head and neck injuries has substantially increased in the past 20 years. 

Legally, drivers are supposed to be aware of pedestrians and do everything in their power to avoid hitting them with their vehicle. The problem that arises is how are drivers supposed to predict when a pedestrian who is texting will suddenly step into the path of oncoming traffic. What makes the issue even more challenging is that many of these pedestrians don’t even realize that they are now in the middle of the road and don’t behave rationally.

Do you think more cities should have distracted walking laws? If distracted laws became common and patrol cops started issuing tickets and fines, would you be more inclined to leave your phone in your pocket, or would you continue to talk and text?

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Consequences of Being Caught with a Fake Id

Consequences of Being Caught with a Fake Id

California has strict laws when it comes to the use of fake IDs. According to California’s Penal Code 470b PC, it’s not technically illegal to have a fake ID in your possession, but the minute you use that fake ID for anything like gaining access to a club or trying to purchase a drink, you’re breaking the law

California’s Penal Code 470b PC states that: “Every person who displays or causes or permits to be displayed or has in his or her possession any driver’s license or identification card of the type enumerated in Section 470a with the intent that the driver’s license or identification card be used to facilitate the commission of any forgery, is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”

Don’t assume that because you purchased a real driver’s license off an older college student or you simply altered your own license so that your birth year looks different, you can’t be charged with having a fake ID in California. State lawmakers consider all of the following to be fake IDs.

• Altered identification cards/driver’s licenses
• Identification cards/driver’s licenses that have blatantly wrong information
• Forged identification cards/driver’s licenses
• Duplicated identification cards/driver’s licenses
• Reproduced identification cards/driver’s licenses
• Counterfeited identification cards/driver’s licenses

 
One of the interesting things about the way Penal Code 470b PC is written is that there’s no mention that using a fake ID in California is one of the state’s wobbler crimes. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. It appears that whether to charge it as a felony or misdemeanor is left to the prosecutor’s decision. Factors they’ll consider when determining whether to pursue felony or misdemeanor charges include:

• How the fake ID was used
• Your criminal history
• The circumstances surrounding your arrest
• If you’re willing to disclose how you obtained the fake ID

 
If you’re convicted of misdemeanor use of a fake ID in California, the judge’s sentence could be as minor as community service and probation. It could also be as harsh as serving a year in a county jail and being fined up to $1,000.

If you’re convicted of felony using a fake ID in California, the potential sentence could include:

• Felony probation
• Up to $10,000 in fines
• Sixteen (16) months, two (2) years or three (3) years in state prison

 
There aren’t many defenses that can be used in a fake ID case. The few options available to you include that you didn’t intend to use the ID or that you didn’t realize that the ID was fake.

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Down Powerline Safety Tips

Down Powerline Safety Tips

There are a variety of ways a power line can come down including severe winds, natural disasters, and even an auto accident. The reason the power line is down isn’t important. The important part is knowing how to stay safe when you find a downed power line.

Don’t assume that just because the downed power line isn’t sparking or because it’s coated with rubber that it’s safe. When it comes to power lines, always act like it’s a live wire and that touching it will result in a fatal shock. Power lines aren’t something you should ever take a chance on.

As soon as you spot the downed power line, you need to change the way you move. Instead of lifting your feet when you walk, start shuffling. Keeping your feet, especially if you’re wearing rubber-soled shoes, on the floor increases the odds of your remaining grounded and safe from the electricity.

Most people assume that the damaged power line is the only dangerous thing. It’s not. When a power line goes down, the electricity actually fans out, which means that anything in the area could potentially deliver a deadly shock. Stay at least 100 feet, the length of two semi-truck trailers, away from the line and don’t touch a single thing. The further you are from the line, the safer you are.

Immediately call 911 rather than the power company. Not only will 911 alert the power company for you, but they will also contact the police and fire department so that the area can be safely and legally blocked off.

As long as you are safe, remain in the area. Your responsibility while you wait for the proper authorities to arrive is to warn anyone who approaches of the danger and prevent them from coming into contact with any stray voltage.

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California’s Arson Laws

California’s Arson Laws

There’s nothing funny about arson. Not only does arson result in a great deal of property damage, but it can also cause fatalities. In some cases, arson has resulted in wildfires. California’s lawmakers want to discourage everyone from even thinking about arson, which is why they have some pretty severe arson laws.

The issue of arson is dealt with in California’s Penal Code 451 PC. It states that, “a person is guilty of arson when he or she willfully and maliciously sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned or who aids, counsels, or procures the burning of, any structure, forest land, or property.”

We tend to think of arson as a crime that’s committed by a professional Firestarter who is hired by a client who hopes that the fire will result in an insurance payout. The truth is that anyone can commit arson. Some convicted arsonists are simply people who started a fire after they got mad at a spouse, neighbor, or relative. It’s also important to note that arson doesn’t always involve the burning of a large, fancy building. Many cases of arson involve someone setting a shed, car, or tree on fire.

Arson is always a felony charge. The interesting thing about arson in California is that the type of building involved in the case is what determines the type of sentence you receive after your conviction.

• If you set personal property on fire, you could be sentenced to 16 months, two years, or three years in a state prison
• If you burn a public structure or start a forest fire, your sentence could be two, four, or six years in a state prison
• If the fire involved an inhabited structure, the sentence is three, five, or eight years in state prison
• If someone was hurt as a result of the fire you started, your sentence could include five, seven, or nine years in a state prison

 
In most arson cases, arson is only one of the charges involved. It’s not uncommon for an arson case to be involved with assault, insurance fraud, reckless endangerment, and even homicide/manslaughter cases. 

It’s also important to note, that in addition to facing criminal arson charges, your victim could also choose to pursue civil charges.

If you are convicted of arson, it will negatively impact your ability to legally own firearms.

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