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Attending School During the Pandemic

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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:

Transporting Marijuana in California

transporting-marijuana-in-california

Transporting Marijuana in California

Nearly four years ago, Californians voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state. That law went into effect in 2018 and as such, there is still some confusion about what is and isn’t legal when it comes to marijuana in the state of California. People are still unsure about what can and cannot get them into trouble when it comes to the drug.

While the drug is legalized for recreational use, it is heavily regulated. If a person doesn’t follow the rules and laws, then they can find themselves in some serious trouble even though they thought they were doing something legal. A big thing that people need to worry about when dealing with marijuana is transporting it.

Transporting and DUI

A big issue with transporting marijuana is the potential for DUI. A person is guilty of DUI if they drive a motor vehicle with drugs or alcohol in their system. This does include driving while high on marijuana.

As such, legal marijuana is subject to the same types of laws as alcohol. This means a driver cannot have an open container of marijuana in their vehicle. Marijuana also needs to be transported in the storage compartment of the vehicle, just like alcohol. Basically, if a person couldn’t expect to do something with alcohol in a vehicle, then they can’t do it with marijuana either. A person caught driving high will face standard DUI charges.

Marijuana Possession and Transport Laws

When it comes to transporting the drug or someone keeping it on their person, they need to be careful. A person is only allowed to have so much marijuana in their possession at a time. If they have more than that legal amount, then they could face simple possession charges.

As far as California law is concerned, a person over the age of 21 can only have up to 28.5 grams of marijuana, or up to 4 grams of concentrated cannabis, on them at a time. A person having any more than that in their possession at one time is illegal here in California. Having possession of the substance doesn’t just include the person holding the item. It can also include:

  • Being in a person’s home
  • Being in a person’s car

Is Blackmailing Illegal in California?

is-blackmailing-illegal-in-california

Is Blackmailing Illegal in California?

Blackmailing is never fun, especially when you are at the receiving end of it. The trope of someone finding some secret of another person and then using it to get the victim to do whatever they say shows up a lot in fiction. Unfortunately, it is present in the real world too.

Luckily, the act of blackmailing an individual is illegal here in California. Anyone who is caught blackmailing another individual to get what they want will face legal charges. For committing the act, a person will face harsh consequences.

What Is Extortion

The act of extortion, more commonly known as blackmail, is defined under Penal Code (PC) 518 as using force or threat to compel another individual to give money or property or to compel a public official to perform an official act. Some examples of extortion can include, but are not limited to:

  • Threatening to release compromising images of another individual unless they agree to pay a certain amount of money.
  • Threatening to harm a person’s loved ones unless they give them a certain item.
  • Threatening to expose a public official’s affair unless they support a certain project.
  • A public official threatening to permit a certain project unless a person pays them off.

Wrongfully Parking in a Handicapped Spot

wrongfully-parking-in-a-handicapped-spot

Wrongfully Parking in a Handicapped Spot

Having a disability can make tasks that most people take for granted difficult to complete. To make things easier for people with disabilities, several laws and practices have been adopted here in California, and the rest of the nation at large. This includes things such as automatic doors, ramps instead of steps, and even specialized parking spots.

Disabled, or handicap, parking spots can be found in most parking lots. These spaces are often located close to the building or near an elevator. This is meant to help provide a person with a disability better access to their intended destination.

Since these spots are located in such desirable locations, or can regularly be found empty, some people decide to use them even though they are not disabled themselves. They don’t see it as a big deal, which is why they are often surprised by the consequences of wrongfully parking in a handicap spot.

Disabled Parking Spots

Disabled parking spots are easy to spot thanks to their blue paint and the symbol of a person in a wheelchair. In parking lots, the spaces will also have a section beside them that is marked off by diagonal white lines. These spots are not for parking but are intended to provide room for the disabled person to get in and out of their car.

Other places where vehicles with disabled passengers can park include:

  • Along blue curbs
  • Street-metered spaces free of charge
  • On public streets where parking is typically reserved for residents and business customers
  • Along green curbs without a time limit

What Is California’s Shelter in Place Order?

what-is-californias-shelter-in-place-order

What Is California’s Shelter in Place Order?

Over the last few weeks and months, Californians have seen a drastic change in their lifestyle, just like millions of others across the world. The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 Virus, more commonly referred to as the Coronavirus, has forced closures of businesses all over the state, and the world at large.

As the scale of this pandemic became known, officials began encouraging social distancing as a way of combating the spread of the disease. The simple act of avoiding social events and keeping 6 feet away from people at all times drastically lowers the chances of the virus spreading. As more cases began popping up, local governments were forced into action. Recently, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a shelter in place order as some people began to push the boundaries of their so-called social distancing.

What Does the Shelter in Place Order Mean?

The shelter in place order issued by Governor Newsom means exactly what it sounds like. This order makes it so that people can only leave their homes for essential errands, such as getting the mail, getting groceries, getting gas, providing aid to friends and family members, or going to work at jobs that are considered essential.

While people are out running errands and working, they are expected to practice social distancing. This means they should stay a minimum of 6 feet away from other people at all times.

A lot of times, one might here officials talking about flattening the curve of the virus’s spread, but what does that mean? To put it simply, they want to reduce how often the virus is spread. Consider someone who is sick, if that person goes out and interacts with just two people, they become sick too. Then those two people go out and interact with 2 more people each and now 6 people are infected. If each person keeps interacting with others, they keeping infecting more and more people at a faster and faster rate. When charted on a graph, the line would start with a shallow slope and then rapidly curve up until it was almost vertical.

Social distancing and sheltering in place reduces human interactions and thereby reduces the chances for the virus to spread. This slows how quickly that line on the graph curves upwards.

If enough people practice social distancing and shelter in place, the bulk of the spread could be delayed until a cure or treatment is found.

What Happens if Someone Doesn’t Follow the Order?

Some people were a bit confused when Governor Newsome issued the recent shelter in place order since many people were doing that already. The thing is, before the order was issued, sheltering in place and avoiding people was just a recommendation. Now it is an official order. This means that if someone doesn’t heed the order, they could get into trouble.

Law enforcement agencies across the state have been instructed to ensure people comply with this order. This means that a person could be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for failing to heed the order. This is because not listening to this order is considered an imminent threat to public health.

That is something that everyone should be aware of. However, the chances of actually getting arrested for venturing outside are slim. More than likely, people who don’t heed the order will be told to go home.

Could Martial Law Be Issued?

After hearing that the National Guard would be deployed to help deal with the virus, many people began to worry that martial law would be issued, however, that is not the case. Martial law, the act of suspending civil laws and putting a military force in charge of a jurisdiction, is something that is very rarely used here in the US. The last time it was used was in Hawaii after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Yes, martial law could be used to enforce the shelter in place order that has been issued, however, that would only happen as a last resort. As long as people continue to shelter in place like they are supposed to and follow any other orders issued by the government, there won’t be a need for martial law.

Just Stay Home and Don’t Panic

This pandemic is a natural disaster on a scale that many people have not seen in a long time. It is shocking and scary. People’s lives have been disrupted in ways many had thought impossible. However, this is not the time to panic. If enough people can remain calm and follow the advice of health officials to shelter in place, the virus’s spread could be slowed drastically.

As many people have already pointed out online, this is probably the only time where people can save lives by staying at home, so don’t mess this up.

The best thing to do is to listen to government officials and only accept information about the virus from reputable sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

What Is Price Gouging?

what-is-price-gouging

What Is Price Gouging?

Anyone who knows about economics and the concept supply and demand knows that as demand goes up and supply struggles to keep up, prices can rise too. The more people want something, and the less of it there is, the more expensive that item becomes. This is something that a lot of people are experiencing as shortages of basic goods abound thanks to the panic caused by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

As people struggle to get basic necessities, some people are taking advantage of the shortage to make a quick buck. For instance, the prices of hand sanitizer and facemasks shot up by roughly 500% on eBay. Similar practices can be found pretty much everywhere due to the virus, and while some people may think it is okay, raising prices like this during an emergency is pretty frowned upon by most people.

Is It Legal?

Here in the state of California, the act of price gouging is made illegal under the Penal Code (PC) 396. Under this law, it is illegal for someone to unjustifiably raise the prices of basic goods and services by excessive amounts during a state of emergency. As far as the law is concerned, an excessive amount is 10% or more of a price increase during an emergency compared to the prices before the emergency was declared. The items that are protected from price gouging are mostly basic household items that families regularly need.

Some of the items that are specifically listed under the law include:

  • Food and drink.
  • Pet food.
  • Toiletries.
  • Emergency supplies.
  • Diapers.
  • Batteries.
  • Radios.
  • Medical supplies.
  • Construction materials.
  • Oils and gasoline.

Services that could be essential to recovering from a disaster are also protected from price gouging.

Some of these services include:

  • Transportation.
  • Storage.
  • Towing.
  • Building repairs.
  • Hotel rates
  • .

Prices of these goods and services can legally be raised slightly to reflect shortages or an increase in the cost of labor during the emergency. In these instances, the seller or service provider will have to prove that the increased prices were necessary.

The Consequences of Price Gouging

PC 396 makes the act of price gouging a misdemeanor offense. Any seller or service provider who is caught price gouging their customers will face misdemeanor charges.

The penalties for this crime are:

  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.

How to Deal with Price Gouging?

Price gouging is monitored and enforced by the California Attorney General and local district attorneys. If a person suspects that they are dealing with price gouging, then they should report the incident to their local district attorney’s office or go to the California Attorney General’s website where there is a form that can be filled out online.

During a state of emergency, such as a global pandemic, no one should have to deal with increased prices on necessary goods and services just so one bad person can make a quick buck. This is why price gouging is a crime here in the state of California.

What are your thoughts on price gouging and California’s law against it? Is it a good idea to protect people during times of emergency? Is the punishment for the crime appropriate? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

What Counts as Looting in California?

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What Counts as Looting in California?

Whenever an emergency strikes, people are bound to panic. This is only natural as systems that people have been able to rely on for their day to day lives begin to shut down. This is exactly what is happening as the COVID-19, Coronavirus pandemic spreads across the world. In response to this virus, many non-essential systems have been shut down to reduce the spread of the disease.

Combine this with the fact that thousands, if not millions, of people have been panic stockpiling all kinds of resources, making it harder for everyone to get even the essentials, a lot of people are scared. For most people, this just means staying at home and avoiding going into public, which is what everyone should be doing anyway.

Unfortunately, there are people out there that see the deserted shopping centers and decide to use that to their advantage. These people figure that if no one is around to stop them, they can do whatever they want without fear of repercussion. However, that is not the case. Law enforcement agencies are still operating and enforcing the law.
If they catch anyone looting, there will be consequences.

California’s Different Looting Laws

California state law defines the act of looting as someone committing second-degree burglary within a county or area that is currently experiencing a state of emergency due to natural or man-made disasters. This definition does include the national emergency called in response to the Corona Virus.

The following laws can all be considered looting under California law:

  • Penal Code (PC) 459 Burglary
  • PC 484 Petty Theft
  • PC 487 Grand Theft

Burglary is defined as the act of entering a house or any other building with the intent of committing larceny. In other words, burglary is the act of going into a building to steal something. First-degree burglary occurs when a person enters a residential building. Second-degree burglary occurs when a person enters a commercial building.
Petty theft is defined as wrongfully taking someone else’s property that is valued at less than $950. Grand theft is the same, except the value of the items exceeds $950.

The difference between burglary and theft is that burglary is entering a place with the intent to steal something. Theft is the actual act of stealing something. This means that a person may not be charged with theft if they try and fail to steal something, but they could still be charged with burglary for attempting to do so.

The Penalties of Looting

The penalties for looting are dependent on what particular crime the person committed. When it comes to burglary or grand theft, a person can either be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case.

Looting by burglary and looting grand theft have the same consequences. When the crimes are charged as misdemeanors, they come with:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.
  • Up to 240 hours of community service.

As a felonies, the crimes comes with:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.
  • Up to 240 hours of community service.

Petty theft looting is always a misdemeanor offense and comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.
  • Up to 80 hours of community service.

Don’t Be a Looter

Stealing is never a good idea. However, doing it during an emergency is especially horrible. People already have enough problems to deal with during an emergency, such as the spreading of a virus. They shouldn’t have to worry about people looting their homes and stores. This is why the act of looting is illegal, and it is taken very seriously.

What are your thoughts on California’s looting laws and looters in general? Do you think the laws are enough of a deterrent or should the consequences be more severe? Maybe you think the laws are too harsh as is. Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

When Should You Report Suspicious Activity?

When Should You Report Suspicious Activity?

When Should You Report Suspicious Activity?

The goal of law enforcement officers is to ensure that people follow the law and to keep people safe. Unfortunately, they can’t do anything unless they see the act or someone informs them of it. This is why law enforcement agencies always ask people to report any suspicious or criminal activity. Doing so allows them to enforce the law and help out people in need.

This is exactly what happened in Palm Beach, Florida when one person heard screams for help coming from a neighbor’s house. Officers quickly responded to the call, prepared to rescue someone in danger. However, it is safe to assume they had no idea what they were in for when the call came in.

Who Needed Help?

On December 29th, 2019 someone was minding her business at home when she began to hear screams from a woman. The woman was asking for help and to be let out. Upon hearing the screams, the neighbor did the right thing and called the police. She told them what she heard and officers rushed to the scene as quick as they could.

When officers arrived at the house where the screams were reported to be coming from, they found the homeowner in his driveway working on a car. The officers approached the man and when they informed him of why they were there, he laughed and offered to get the screamer. The homeowner went into his backyard and returned a few moments later holding a green parrot. This earned a laugh from many of the officers at the scene.

As it turns out, the homeowner has a 40-year-old parrot named Rambo. While he had been working on his wife’s brakes, he put Rambo into an outdoor cage in the backyard where the parrot liked to talk, sing, and scream. When the man was a kid, he taught the parrot to say: “Help, let me out,” when the parrot still lived in a cage.

After seeing that there was no criminal activity, the officers left the scene. The man later introduced his neighbor, the one who called the police, to Rambo. They both had a good laugh over the incident.

See Something, Say Something

The Department of Homeland Security has a program called See Something, Say Something. The program is meant to encourage people to report criminal and suspicious activity that they witness to their local law enforcement. They encourage people to use the 5W’s when making a report to the local authorities. The 5W’s are:

  • Who did you see?
  • What did you see?
  • When did you see it?
  • Where did it occur?
  • Why is it suspicious?

If a person is able to provide this information to the police or local sheriffs with this information, law enforcement should be able to deal with the situation.

Always Report Suspicious Activity

Even though the 5W’s refer to seeing something, this does apply to hearing things as well. This is exactly what the neighbor did in Palm Beach, Florida. She thought she heard someone in trouble and did the right thing by reporting it. In this instance, luckily, no one was actually in trouble. Even though no one was actually in trouble this time, it is better to be safe than sorry.

It is never a crime to report something that a person truly thinks is suspicious or a crime. So, if a person ever sees or hears something that they think is suspicious, they should always report it to their local authorities.

Speeding Is A Big Deal

Speeding Is A Big Deal

Speeding Is A Big Deal

There are so many different laws here in California that it is practically impossible for a single person to remember every law within the state. However, there are some laws that everyone knows about and yet choose to ignore. There are a few select laws out there that people break all of the time, some even daily, because they don’t view it as a big deal.

A perfect example of this are speed limits. There are many drivers out there, especially here in California that view speed limits as suggestions. Some people view the limits as the slowest possible speed they will go. For the others, anyone going the speed limit is driving too slow. Still, speeding is illegal and incredibly dangerous, and should be avoided.

California Speeding Law

Here in California, speeding is made illegal under Vehicle Code (VC) 22350. This law makes it illegal for a person to drive faster than is considered safe for the circumstances. The exact wording is:

“No person shall drive a vehicle on the highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of person or property.”

In basic terms, this means that a person cannot drive at speeds on a road that a normal person would view as fast or dangerous. This is especially true on smaller or more crowded roads. This also includes when the weather makes the road dangerous through rain, snow, wind, and fog.

A driver is expected to exercise the proper caution and restraint needed in different situations. Just because a road has a certain speed limit does not mean a driver has to do that speed limit all the time. Sometimes the weather may require slowing down.

Consequences of Speeding in California

There are three different consequences a person can face when they are caught speeding by law enforcement:

  • They can receive a fine and have their license suspended.
  • Receive points on their driver’s record.
  • Be held negligent for any accidents that occur due to the speeding.

When it comes to fines and license suspension, the exact amounts depend on how fast the person was going. If the speeds were under 100 miles per hour (MPH), then the person will face the following:

  • $35 for 1 to 15 MPH over the limit.
  • $70 for 16 to 25 MPH over the limit.
  • $100 for 26 MPH over the limit.

If the speeds where over 100 MPH, then the person will face the following for a first time offense:

  • A base fine of $500.
  • 30 day license suspension.

A second offense of driving over 100 MPH in 3 years comes with:

  • A base fine of $750.
  • 6 month license suspension.

A third offense of driving over 100 MPH in 5 years comes with:

  • A base fine of $1,000.
  • 1 year license suspension.

On top of the fines, a person will also receive a point on their driver’s license. Acquiring too many points within a time period can lead to a person having their license suspended. If a driver gets:

  • 4 points in 12 months,
  • 6 points in 24 months, or
  • 8 points in 36 months,

Then they will be designated a negligent driver and have their drivers’ license suspended.

Lastly, since driving at excessive speeds makes it more likely for a person to cause an accident, drivers who are caught speeding will be held responsible for any accidents that they caused. This means they will also have to face the consequences of any accidents that result from the speeding.

Don’t Speed While Driving

Many drivers fail to realize just how dangerous and problematic speeding can be. Speeding does increase the chances of a driver causing an accident. This is especially true in inclement weather, which is why the state law mentions that drivers need to adjust their speed to match their conditions. If a driver wants to avoid any trouble and avoid paying fines fines, then they need to follow the posted speed limits and adjust those speeds to match conditions. By doing so, a driver reduces the chances of causing an accident and getting a ticket.

What do you think of speeding and the state’s laws on it? Are the consequences for speeding fair or too extreme? Let us know in the comments down below.