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False Allegations of Child Abuse in California

false-allegations-of-child-abuse-in-california

Child abuse laws are designed to protect children from being hurt. They’re good laws that make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, they are also laws that can be used against people, particularly parents who are engaged in a child custody dispute. It’s not unheard of for one parent to accuse the other parent of child abuse in order to obtain full custody of the children. It’s an accusation that can deal a lasting blow to both sides.

While there have been instances of men lodging false child abuse claims against women, it’s far more common for a woman to falsely accuse a man of child abuse. Data collected by the Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) indicates that 85% of all child abuse protective orders are filed by men and issued against men. One lawyer estimates that approximately 90% of those that are filed during a divorce and that mention child abuse are a tactical move to gain custody of the children.

California’s family court judges are legally obligated to take all child abuse accusations seriously. The last thing anyone wants is for a child to be hurt because the court failed to act. As soon as one parent accuses the other of child abuse, the court will take action, usually siding with the parent who made the accusation. If you are the one accused of abusing children, you shouldn’t assume that you’re promptly out of luck. You do have to be willing to take a defensive stance.

It’s in your best interest to demand that the court investigate the accusations. Be prepared for this to involve an in-depth and invasive investigation into your background. Court-appointed experts will interview several people which can include:

  • Your children
  • Family
  • Friendly
  • Doctors
  • Teachers

California Lemon Laws For Dogs

california-lemon-laws-for-dogs

When you bring a dog into your family, you assume that you’re getting a healthy animal who will be a buddy and best friend for several years. Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t work out the way you hope. Instead of a pet who will go on hikes and give you comfort, your new dog develops health problems that ruin your financial stability.

If you find yourself in this situation, you might want to look into California’s dog lemon laws.

California is one of 22 states that currently have lemon laws in place that are designed to protect pet owners. They are surprisingly similar to vehicular lemon laws.

What are California’s Lemon Dog Laws?

The purpose of California’s lemon dog laws is to protect you from the financial headaches that go hand in hand with inadvertently acquiring a dog that has health problems. The lemon dog law says that you can reasonably expect the dog to be healthy and free of illness and disease for the first fifteen days they live in your home.

In order to take advantage of this law, you have to obtain written certification from your veterinarian that the dog developed some type of illness that had previously existed in the dog prior to you acquire it. It could also apply if the seller lied about vaccinating the dog prior to you taking possession of the animal.

The second aspect of California’s lemon dog law deals with congenital and hereditary problems. If the dog develops a health problem that makes it impossible for you to use the dog in the way you intended or means taking on veterinary bills you didn’t anticipate, you have the ability to contact the breeder and discuss reimbursement. These health problems have to appear within the first year of the dog’s life.

If the dog passes away as a result of congenital or hereditary health problems during the first year of its life, you are also protected by California’s lemon dog laws.

The Seller’s Responsibility Under the Lemon Dog Laws

The purpose of California’s lemon dog laws is to encourage breeders to breed responsibly. The hope is that the laws will encourage breeders to get a full genetic workup on their breeding dogs prior to mating them. It also encourages sellers to disclose known health problems in all sales contracts.

  • If your dog develops health problems that are covered by California’s lemon dog laws, the seller has a few choices.
  • They can reimburse your vet bills that are related to the health issue until that amount matches the purchase price of the dog
  • They can offer a replacement puppy

The Right to Remain Silent

the-right-to-remain-silent

We’re all familiar with the Miranda Rights, which basically grants us the ability to not tell the police anything if we’re arrested. While we’ve heard thousands of television cops recite the famous words “you have the right to remain silent” few of us actually know what that means.

The History of the Miranda Rights

The Miranda Rights take their name from Ernesto Arturo Miranda. He was arrested in 1963 and placed in a line-up. The victim selected Miranda. When the police questioned him, he confessed to the crime. It looked like an open and shut case, when in fact, it turned into a case that forever changed police procedures in the United States.

After Miranda was found guilty of raping and kidnapping, his attorney argued that the case should have been thrown out because Miranda was never told that he had the “right to remain silent.” Instead of ignoring the claims, the case, along with three similar cases, made it to the Supreme Court. In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled that in situations like the one Miranda found himself in, the police can’t use a confession unless the accused has first been advised of their right to remain silent and reminded that if they confess, the confession can be used against them during the court case.

What the Right to Remain Silent Really Means

The right to remain silent doesn’t mean that the police can’t question you. The right to remain silent is designed to provide you with a layer of protection in two different circumstances.

If you are in court and under oath, the right to remain silent means you aren’t legally required to say something that could incriminate you in criminal activity. If you do say something, the prosecution can use the confession, even an inadvertent one, against you. In this type of situation, the right to remain silent is commonly referred to as Taking the Fifth.

The second situation where the right to remain silent comes into play is if you’re being detained by the police. They’re allowed to question you, but you don’t have to say anything that could be considered a confession to a crime.

When do the Miranda Rights Come into Play?

The police are supposed to read you your Miranda Rights as soon as they make a move to take you into custody. Being taken into custody means that you don’t have the ability to leave when you decide that you’ve had enough. You’re right to remain silent kicks in as soon as the police put handcuffs on you, which is why it’s important to remain cool, calm, and collected while they drive you to the police station. You don’t want to lose your temper while you are in the back of the car that could be used against you.

The Reality of Unemployment Fraud

the-reality-of-unemployment-fraud

Unemployment fraud isn’t new. There have been instances of it dating all the way back to when the system for helping people stay financially solvent after they suddenly lost a job was first created.

The high number of people who were forced to claim unemployment benefits when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States, combined with some unexpected unemployment bonuses the government instituted in an attempt to keep the economy running has triggered an interest in unemployment fraud.

Loree Levy, a spokesperson for the California Employment Development Department, recently confirmed that the state is on the lookout for people who are committing unemployment fraud. “We certainly have legitimate PUA claims in California, but we do suspect that a big part of the unusual recent rise in PUA claims is linked to fraud.” (source)

Levy’s department released a press release the addressed the issue. “These perpetrators are often using stolen identity information from national and global data breaches, as well as exploiting expedited payment efforts in the federal PUA program,” the release stated. (source)

In California, you can be charged with unemployment fraud if it’s believed that you knowingly supplied inaccurate information to obtain unemployment benefits you aren’t entitled to. Even if you’re application isn’t approved, you can be charged with unemployment fraud.

Examples of unemployment fraud include:

  • Providing false identification information on the application
  • Failing to report earned income while collecting unemployment
  • Failing to report additional forms of compensation you’re collecting while also collecting unemployment
  • Not being a legal California resident
  • Falsifying employment information
  • Stealing another person’s unemployment check

The Legal Consequences of Public Fighting

the-legal-consequences-of-public-fighting

Street fighting, barroom brawls, and throwing a punch at a guy who steals your parking space. In the movies, these things never seem like a big deal. The worst thing that ever seems to happen to the characters who are involved in public fighting is that they spend a few hours in jail.

Sadly, real-life doesn’t mirror the movies. California has public fighting laws. If you’re busted for public fighting in California, you’ll face serious consequences.

What is Public Fighting?

California considers public fighting to be a disturbing the peace crime. The issue is addressed in the Penal Code 415. When you read PC 415 you’ll discover that it doesn’t take much for an officer to decide that you’re in violation of the law.

PC 415 states that you can be charged with disturbing the peace if you’ve:

  • Challenged another person to a fight while in a public place
  • If you get into a fight with a person while in a public place
  • If you’ve deliberately and maliciously used a loud noise to disturb someone
  • If you’re caught using malicious language or words that are designed to hurt or provoke someone while you were in a public place

What Happens When the Police Knock on Your Door

what-happens-when-the-police-knock-on-your-door

There is nothing quite as gut-wrenching as opening your front door and finding the police standing on the other side. They never bring good news.

Experiencing a moment of panic and indecision when they ask to be let in is perfectly natural. Questions that will likely run through your mind at this point include:

  • Do they need a search warrant?
  • Should you call a lawyer?
  • Do you have to let them in?
  • Should you shut the door without saying a word?

First, Stay Calm

No matter what happens, it’s in your best interest to stay calm. Losing your temper doesn’t do any good and it could actually make things much more difficult for them.

If They Don’t Have a Warrant

If the police don’t have a warrant, they can ask to search your home, but you don’t have to let them in. California law also prohibits the police from forcing their way into your home if they don’t have a warrant. However, if an officer knocks on your door and you open it enough for them to see something suspicious, say on the table behind you, they are allowed to seize the item without a warrant. Anything that is in plain view is basically fair game. That’s why so many lawyers recommend only opening the door a crack when the police knock.

As long as your polite and don’t do anything rash, the police can’t arrest you for denying them entry into your home when they’re unable to produce a warrant.

If They Have a Search Warrant

Police can’t get a search warrant just because they feel like going through your home. They have to be able to provide a judge with enough probable cause for the judge to justify issuing a search warrant.

If the police have a search warrant for your home, you are legally required to let them into your residence. What they can’t do is say they have a warrant and not show it to you. If they can’t produce the physical warrant, you don’t have to grant them access. The search warrant should include information about where the police are allowed to search.

Things the police can’t legally do without a warrant include:

  • Taking a DNA swab
  • Searching outbuildings
  • Going through your car

California’s Spay Neuter Laws and How They Impact You

californias-spay-neuter-laws-and-how-they-impact-you

Most of the people impacted by California’s spay/neuter laws barely noticed a change. The reason for this is because the vast majority of the people who are mentioned in the law were already spaying and neutering their pets.

Why California Created Spay/Neuter Pet Laws

California lawmakers realized that there was a major pet problem in the state. The lawmakers didn’t mind that lots of people owned loved and well cared for pets. They were concerned about the sheer number of pets that were running around the streets and rural areas that were homeless. Lawmakers decided that it was time to step up and force people to do something about their pets.

Rescues Have to Spay/Neuter Pets

Most rescues had a spay/neuter policy in place before the official passing of the law, but there were some exceptions. The law specifically requires that any pet that is adopted from an animal shelter must be spayed or neutered. If there is a medical reason why the pet isn’t spayed or neutered, such as being too young, before it’s sent to live in its new home, correct documentation must be provided and steps should have been taken to ensure that the pet will get spayed/neutered at the earliest possible time.

In extreme cases where an animal’s health is simply too poor for the animal to go through the surgery, the rescue will have to contact local lawmakers and document the pet’s health problems and the steps both the shelter and new owner plan on taking to make sure the pet doesn’t reproduce.

Breeders will have to contact a local government agency and find out how they can get their breeding animals excused from the law.

Los Angeles Spay/Neuter Laws

For more than 10 years, Los Angeles has had the toughest spay/neuter laws of any city in the USA. The city provided pet owners who owned an unsterilized pet with documentation of subsidized sterilization services and said the owner had two months to have the surgery performed, or to provide a vet certificate stating why the pet was exempt from the sterilization laws. If the pet owner failed to have their pet sterilized, they were charged $100 and required to provide 8 hours of community service. The second offense resulted in a $500 fine and 40 hours of community service.

California’s spay/neuter law is just one of the laws that pet owners need to be aware of before they introduce a new pet to their family.

Watering your California Lawn

watering-your-california-lawn

All of us want the lush, gorgeous kind of lawn we see featured in landscaping ads and gardening magazines. Even with minimal landscaping, a beautiful, healthy lawn really showcases the home, giving it a great deal of curb appeal.

The problem many California homeowners encounter is that maintaining that stunning lawn takes a great deal of water. Using too much water on your lawn could create some serious legal headaches.

How Much Water Can You Use

There are some parts of the world where you can put as much water on your yard as you’d like. That’s not the situation in California. The entire state is always conscious of a potential water shortage. It’s something state and local lawmakers would like to avoid. Many places have limited the amount of water, the times, and even the places, you can water your California lawn.

It would be easy if you knew you could only water your lawn for an hour on odd days of the calendar month. That would be straightforward and easy to adhere to. The problem is that it’s not that straightforward. Each township/city has their own lawn watering rules. Further complicating the situation is that the rules can change from week to week depending on how much rain the area has received.

The best way to make sure you’re not accidentally violating one of the rules, it’s in your best interest to frequently check local government websites where any alterations to local ordinances about lawn watering will be listed. Violating the ordinances and overwatering your lawn will likely result in a citation and you’ll have to pay a fine.

New Restrictions Coming

All California residents need to review two recently passed California water laws that will eventually impact everyone living in California. The laws are Assembly Bill 1668 and Senate Bill 606. These Bills are designed to restrict the amount of water you use every single day. Starting in 2022 each person in your home will only be allowed to use 55 gallons of water per day. By 2030, the amount decreases to 50 gallons. Using too much water will result in additional penalties being added to your water bill.

It is fully expected that as some point in 2020, the California Department of Water Resources, will present lawmakers with a list of guidelines that also suggests restricting how much water each California property owner can use outside their home for purposes like washing vehicles and watering the lawn.

If lawmakers approve the California Department of Water Resources’ recommendations, it could make it harder for you to enjoy a stunning lawn.

Attending School During the Pandemic

attending-school-during-the-pandemic

Never before have so many parents been confused about how their child’s education will take place during the upcoming school year. Concern about COVID-19 spreading through the schools has caused a great deal of confusion regarding how education will work during the 2020/2021 school year.

The Governor’s Thoughts About School This Year

One of the things making this school year so difficult is that California’s lawmakers seem to second guess themselves every single day. One day the governor announces that schools won’t open and all schooling will be done virtually. A few weeks later, an elementary school opens its doors and starts welcoming students.

The problem this poses for parents is figuring out how they’ll help their child get the education they need this year. Many aren’t even sure if the government has a plan in place to make sure that no child is left behind this school year.

The best thing parents can do is pay attention to any formal information their child’s school is passing on. As of right now, the governor has decreed that most of the schools will be going exclusively to virtual learning. There are some exceptions. Some schools have been issued waivers that allow them to open, provided they have measures in place to keep kids healthy this school year. Safety measures the schools who have received waivers are taking include:

Decoding the Difference Between a Domestic Violence Restraining Order and a Civil Harassment Restraining Order

decoding-the-difference-between-a-domestic-violence-restraining-order-and-a-civil-harassment-restraining-order

Feeling threatened and worrying about your physical/mental safety is an incredibly frightening and stressful situation. The one bright spot is that California’s lawmakers fully understand just how much danger you are in. Laws and protective orders are in place, each one is designed to keep you safe.

When you go to the police because you’re afraid of someone it’s important to understand that there is a difference between civil harassment and domestic violence.

Contrary to popular belief, in the eyes of the law, domestic violence is not a subcategory crime that’s connected to civil harassment.

The Difference Between Domestic Violence and Civil Harassment

The biggest difference between a domestic violence case and a civil harassment case is your relationship with the person you’re filing the restraining order against. If the person you’re afraid of is someone you have a relationship with, the case is a domestic violence case. The law considers a relationship close if the restraining order is filed against a parent, sibling, child, grandparent, lover, spouse. The idea of the domestic violence restraining order is that the close relationship you’ve shared with the person increases the amount of danger you’re in.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with the person you’re naming in the restraining order, you’re dealing with a civil harassment situation. In many cases, the other party mentioned in the restraining order is a co-worker, neighbor, friend of a friend, social media follower, or a member of a political/social party who has taken a personal and nasty dislike to your lifestyle/actions/viewpoints.

Getting a Restraining Order

It is far easier to request and obtain a domestic violence restraining order than it is a civil harassment restraining order. Police, prosecutors, and judges understand just how quickly domestic situations can turn deadly and are quick to issue a restraining order against one of your loved ones.

When you petition the court for a domestic violence restraining order, you need evidence of abuse (medical records, witness statements, written threats, police reports.)

Getting a civil harassment restraining order is much more complicated. The biggest challenge is establishing that the harassment has reached a point where you feel threatened. The court won’t accept that the person you want to be named in the restraining order is simply verbally harassing you. You’re going to have to submit some sort of proof that they are having a detrimental impact on your life. Getting this proof isn’t always easy. In the case of a civil harassment restraining order, you’ll likely need video, phone, witness, or written evidence. Strong witness statements, particularly by people who aren’t closely connected to you, will also help you obtain the civil harassment lawsuit.

The most important thing to remember when appealing for either domestic violence or civil harassment restraining order is that you must have proof that you are worried about your safety. The more evidence you have, the quicker the court will grant your request.