Social Media and Your Mental Health

Social Media and Your Mental Health

Social media is a bit of a double-edged sword. For some people, it’s a great resource that allows them to stay connected to loved ones while also breaking up the tedium of a day. Others find social media stressful and even claim that it’s causing mental health problems.

The positive side of social media is:

• It’s something you can do on your own schedule which increases the odds of actually connecting with people you care about but who live too far away or have too different a lifestyle to make traditional connections possible

• It can make you feel less alone in the world

• Social media allows you to connect with people who share your passions and interests, no matter how obscure your tastes might be

• You can make great friends through social media connections

• Social media can sometimes push you to take on new challenges

Not everyone has a positive experience when it comes to social media. Many of the downsides people have encountered while using social media include:

• Feeling insecure because friends are always sharing their triumphs (but rarely post about the struggles they had before finally succeeding)
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Finding that they are becoming increasingly combative when they encounter someone who has a different opinion
• Getting bullied
• Losing track of time because they were on social media
• Discovering that social media is consuming their life

Most experts agree that it doesn’t matter if your experiences with social media are good or bad, it’s in your best interest to set limits and not spend all of your free time on various social media platforms. Make sure you put down your phone or step away from your computer. Messages, posts, and comments will all be there when you log back in. 

Taking time away from social media channels gives you a chance to remember that there is a great deal more to life than staying in touch with people via social media. Use this time to enjoy some face-to-face time with your loved ones. Get outside and breathe in some fresh air. Read a book or simply spend an hour vegged out in front of the television. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel after spending some time away from the constant drama of social media.

If you are the type of person who loses track of time when you are online, set an alarm and log off your social media accounts each time it goes off. If you can’t simply ignore the allure of social media, remove the apps from your phone so that you can only log into your accounts when you’re on your computer or tablet.

In addition to limiting the amount of time you’re on social media during the day, schedule a few days a month where you don’t go near your social media accounts. You can use these social media free periods to access your mental and emotional health and really decide if social media is making your life better or slowly harming your mental health.

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Who Goes to Prison for Tax Evasion

Who Goes to Prison for Tax Evasion

Taxes and the possibility of a simple mistake on our tax form leading to an arrest for tax evasion is the worst nightmare for many of us. That’s why we spend so many hours going over our tax returns with a fine-toothed comb, looking for a single mistake that could get us into all sorts of trouble with the IRS. 

You’ll be pleased to know that you can relax. First, contrary to what it might seem like, very few people actually go to prison for tax evasion. According to HR Block, in 2015 the IRS looked at about 150 million people for legal source tax evasion. Of those 150 million, only 1,330 people were actually indicted. Second, the IRS really can tell the difference between a simple mistake and a full-blown case of tax evasion.

The bulk of the cases involving legal source tax evasion involve people who either misreport their annual income or who fail to fill out the proper tax returns.

One of the interesting things about the IRS is that they typically don’t decide to pursue legal action against individuals who failed to pay their taxes because they simply didn’t have the funds needed to pay the owed taxes. While the IRS is aware of these individuals and will keep an eye on their financial situation, they aren’t the IRS’s main concern.

The IRS is primarily interested in people who have the money needed to cover the taxes they owe, but who are blatantly trying to get out of giving that money to the IRS.

When the IRS suspects a person is guilty of tax evasion, they start by ordering an audit. This audit requires that the person provide financial history for a specified number of years. The IRS doesn’t give the person much time to gather the necessary information because they don’t want the person to come up with a good hiding place for extra cash or assets that they failed to report.

Continually delaying to provide the requested financial information will make the IRS suspicious and could prompt them to take legal action against you.

If you’re being audited, you don’t want to lie to the auditor. These are highly trained investigators. Not only do they have a strong understanding of finances and taxes, but they’re also trained to read people and have the skills needed to find holes in your story and use those holes to get at the truth.

If the IRS believes you are guilty of tax evasion and decides to pursue legal action, you could face one year in prison for each year of tax evasion you committed. You’ll also have to pay the taxes you owe, plus interest.

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Most Common Reasons People Are Arrested During the Holiday Season

Most Common Reasons People Are Arrested During the Holiday Season

The holidays are here. For most of us, that means spending time with friends and family members we love. This is a time when we make good memories and spread love.

Unfortunately, not all of us will enjoy the holiday season. Some studies indicate that crime rates increase during the holiday season. There are a few different reasons for the surge of crime. First, people have time off work which gives them more time to get into trouble. Second, many people who don’t usually overindulge will often misjudge how much alcohol they’ve consumed. The increased alcohol content lowers inhibitions and results in them doing things they’d never have considered if they were sober. The third reason crime rates increase during the holiday season is because money is often tight.

Police have noticed that there are certain crimes that surge more than others during the holidays.

Drunk driving offenses are always a problem during the holidays. People get together and want to have a good time which often involves alcohol. The problem is that many don’t plan to spend the night where they are drinking and fail to have a DD at the ready so they slide behind the wheel and ultimately get caught driving while intoxicated. 

The best way to make sure you aren’t charged with a DUI this holiday season is to only drink while you’re home, always having a DD at the ready, or arranging to take a cab/Uber home. If you aren’t sure you’ll be able to get yourself home safely, stay away from the alcohol. Staying sober might not seem like fun, but it beats spending a night in jail and dealing with the fallout of a drunk driving arrest.
Retailers report that shoplifting increases during the holiday season. This is likely due to the fact that some people find themselves short of money and unable to purchase gifts for their families. If you’re contemplating stealing a gift this holiday season, please reconsider. Store managers are going to be on the lookout for sticky fingers and with more stores installing elaborate video surveillance systems, the odds of you getting away with the theft are small. Instead of trying to steal a gift, consider making a homemade present.

Domestic violence arrests also increase during the holiday season. There are likely a few different reasons for this. First, stress over finances and strained family relationships can push some people over the edge. Second, people are often home rather than working and the increased contact can result in some pushed buttons. Third, having family and friends around can encourage the victim to report the violent acts which they may not have felt they could do in the past.

Recognizing that emotions run high during the holidays, it’s in your best interest to recognize when your temper is getting short and remove yourself from the situation before you react with violence. It’s better to take a walk or go for a long drive than to get arrested for domestic violence during the holidays.

Stay safe this holiday season!

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What Happens if You’re Caught With Heroin in your Possession in California

What Happens if You're Caught With Heroin in your Possession in California

California lawmakers have adopted a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to heroin. It doesn’t matter if you transporting it, using it, dealing it, or anything else, getting caught with heroin is a serious offense. 

California has a number of specific laws that pertain to heroin. They include:

• Possession for personal use
• Possession with the intent to sell
• Driving under the influence of heroin
• Being caught under the influence of heroin

The state is so serious about cracking down on heroin use, charges can even be filed against you if you happen to be near someone who is using or in possession of heroin.

The majority of the heroin cases that make their way through the California legal system are cases that deal with the simple possession of heroin. Simply having heroin in a pocket or stored in your car is a violation of HS 11350. This is a misdemeanor offense. The good news is that if you’re convicted, the amount of time you spend in jail isn’t terribly long, the maximum sentence is a year in a county jail. The bad news is that the conviction could come as a serious financial blow, with a maximum fine of $20,000.

Many people who are caught with simple possession of heroin opt to take part in California’s drug diversion program.

If you are convicted of possession with the intent to sell heroin, you’re guilty of violating Health and Safety Code 11351 HS. This is a felony conviction. The sentencing includes 2-4 years in a California state prison and a fine as large as $20,000.

The amount of heroin you have on you at the time of your arrest will also play a huge role in how serious the sentence is. If you have more than one kilogram of heroin on you when you are arrested, the judge will take the original sentence they’ve issued and add anywhere from 3-25 years to the amount of time you have to serve in prison. The $20,000 fine could also be increased to several hundred thousand of dollars.

Any heroin arrest that involves the intent to sell automatically disqualifies you from the drug diversion program.

But what if you’re not using heroin but simply happen to be hanging out with someone who is? If you know that they are using heroin while you’re with them, you can be charged with breaking Health & Safety Code 11365 HS. While this isn’t a good charge, it’s not nearly as serious as being in actual possession of heroin. If convicted, you’ll have a misdemeanor charge added to your record and could be potentially sentenced to 6 months in a county jail.

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