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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.