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The Ins And Outs Of Brake Checking in California

The Ins And Outs Of Brake Checking in California

The Ins And Outs Of Brake Checking in California

It has happened to all of us. You’re driving along at what you think is a perfectly acceptable speed when you notice a car behind you. Under most circumstances, the other car wouldn’t bother you, but this driver has decided you’re not going fast enough so they proceed to get as close to your bumper as they possibly can with the hopes that it will encourage you to step on the gas.

Some of us can ignore this behavior. Other drivers will speed up. Then there are those of us who decide this is the perfect time for a brake check.

What Is A Brake Check?

A brake check is stepping on your brakes, hard, for no reason other than to startle the driver behind you into backing off.

Are Brake Checks Legal?

While the idea of brake checking the driver behind you seems appealing, you should stop and consider the consequences before you do so. California’s highway patrol is quick to point out that drivers who brake check are quite possibly breaking vehicle code 22109. That means you could be the person who gets the ticket.

The problem with brake checking is that most of these instances tend to involve two aggressive drivers. The driver in the lead is irritated that they’re being pushed. The driver that’s tailgating is irritated that they’re not traveling faster. Too often what starts off as tailgating and brake checking leads to a nasty road rage incident.

How You Should Respond If Someone Is Tailgating You

Rather than brake checking the driver who is tailgating you, you should employ one of two methods designed to get them off your bumper.

The first is to simply ignore them. If they don’t want to pass, simply keep driving until they finally give in and either slow down or work their way around you. If you decide to do this, don’t slow down, which the other driver could perceive as an aggressive move.

The second thing you can do is pull over and let the other driver go around you. Only do this when you’re in a location where you can safely do so.

If the situation doesn’t get better or you feel that the other driver poses a threat, you can call the police and report the situation. Make sure you give them your location, the direction your traveling, and a description of the car that’s tailgating you.

 

California Probation Violations: Here’s What Happens In California

California Probation Violations: Here’s What Happens In California

California Probation Violations: Here’s What Happens In California

When you’re on probation, the courts will let you know what requirements you have to meet, but no one is going to hold your hand and remind you of those requirements every single day. It’s up to you to remember what you are and aren’t allowed to do. If you violate your probation, no one will be interested in excuses.

The issue of probation violations in California is covered by Penal Code section 1203.3. The code gives the court the option to decide to revoke or modify your probation following a violation.

When your probation officer alerts the court to a violation, you’ll have to appear at a probation revocation hearing.

Probation revocation hearings are different from traditional trials. The prosecution doesn’t have to prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The only thing the prosecution has to do is prove that the probation violations that have been leveled against you are likely true. You are allowed to have a defense attorney argue your side of the case.

One of the more fascinating aspects of probation revocation hearings is that if the alleged violation took place during an alleged crime, you can actually be acquitted of the crime but still be found guilty of the violation, which could result in your probation getting revoked. The reason is that even if you didn’t commit the actual crime, you placed yourself in a situation where you could have done something illegal which is a violation of your probation.

You should get a letter that notifies you of the time and place that the probation revocation hearing will take place. The letter should also provide some insight into what you allegedly did to violate your probation in California.

The exact consequences of your probation violation will depend on how severe the violation was. In extreme cases, the judge will decide to completely revoke your current probation and decide that you should serve the maximum sentence for the crime you committed. In some situations, this can result in your spending years in prison.

Another judge might decide that you shouldn’t be sent to prison for the violation. Instead, they will extend the amount of time you have to remain on probation. Once again, this could mean spending years dealing with strict rules and a probation officer before you finally regain your complete freedom.

If the violation involved using substances, drinking alcohol, or getting into a fight, there’s a good chance that the judge will require that you enroll in a counseling program.

When it comes to minor violations, some judges opt to either add some additional terms to the current probation. Another option for mild probation violations is requiring that you do some sort of community service.

When all is said and done, it’s best to stay on the straight and narrow path and obey all the rules while you’re on probation.

 

Distracted Driving In 2021

Distracted Driving In 2021

Distracted Driving In 2021

Most of us are familiar with drunk driving and know that it’s something we should avoid. Few of us know about distracted driving. Distracted driving is exactly what it sounds like. If you’re ticketed for distracted driving, it means that rather than paying attention to the road, the bulk of your attention was focused on something else.

Most distracted driving tickets are issued because the driver was using their cell phone while driving, but you can be ticketed for getting in an argument with your passengers, trying to set your navigation system while your vehicle is in motion, or even trying to mop up coffee that you’ve spilled all over yourself.

Distracted driving became a thing when manufacturers started installing radios in cars and people started getting into accidents because they were changing the station rather than watching the road. Today, cell phones are the biggest source of distracted driving. Stats indicate that sending a short text while you’re behind the wheel means your 23 times more likely to get into an accident. Many of these distracted driving accidents end with someone getting hurt.

California drivers have been getting distracted driving tickets for several years, but now that 2021 has begun, those tickets are a much bigger issue.

California law refers to distracted driving as “anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road or hands off the steering wheel – especially when texting or using your phone.”

The tweaks made to the distracted driving law in 2021 focus exclusively on anyone who is using their cell phone while they are behind the wheel.

The first time you’re caught using a cell phone while driving, you’ll be issued a ticket for $162. Any distracted driving tickets you collect after that first one will cost a whopping $285. If you get two or more tickets that are connected to using a cell phone while driving, the state will add a point to your license. Too many points and the state could suspend your driver’s license.

If you’re in an accident or cause a moving violation while you’re driving, the police officer will likely write additional tickets. When all is said and done, deciding to answer a text message while you’re behind the wheel could destroy several months of careful budgeting.

At this point, you will only receive a distracted driving ticket if you are using your hands to operate your cell phone. Hands-free phone operation is still allowed.

Tougher distracted driving penalties are just one of the changes drivers will encounter during 2021.

 

Elder Abuse In California

Elder Abuse In California

Elder Abuse In California

Society dictates that we take care of our elders. The idea is that they cared for us when we were too young to fend for ourselves, and now it’s our turn to return the favor. The problem is that some people don’t behave the way that society dictates and commit a crime that’s called elder abuse.

California’s elder abuse laws are designed to protect state residents that have passed their 65th birthday. Most victims are older and no longer able to completely care for themselves.

Elder abuse in California includes:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Neglect

Elder abuse in California is one of the state’s famous wobbler laws. This means that you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. The decision isn’t based on whether the DA is having a bad day, but rather a specific set of criteria.

Elder abuse in California is covered by Penal Code section 368(c). The law is written in such a way that prosecutors have 12 months to investigate an alleged instance of elder abuse before they either have to let the case go or file charges. Anyone responsible for caring for an elderly patient/relative can be charged with misdemeanor elder abuse in California.

If you’re convicted of misdemeanor elder abuse, you could be sentenced to a full year in jail.

The rules change in cases of felony elder abuse. One of the big changes is that prosecutors have more time to determine if they should file charges. They aren’t hampered by the one-year time limit. While the prosecutor gets more time to file charges against you, they also have to build a much stronger case.

To convict you with felony elder abuse, the DA has to prove that someone in your care experienced great bodily harm. In most cases, the abuse takes place over a long time, but it can also be a single incident, such as pushing the elderly person you were caring for down a flight of stairs.

If you’re found guilty of felony elder abuse, you could spend the next four years in a state prison and also have to pay a substantial amount of fines.

It’s worth noting that there are circumstances that can trigger an even more severe punishment for elder abuse. In these cases, the age of the victim is an important factor. In a felony elder abuse case that involves a person who is older than 70, the judge can add an additional four years to your sentence. If a 70-year-old senior citizen dies as a result of the abuse you inflicted upon them, an additional seven years can be added to your sentence.

 

Figuring Out How Stimulus Checks Impact Your 2020 Tax Returns

Figuring Out How Stimulus Checks Impact Your 2020 Tax Returns

Figuring Out How Stimulus Checks Impact Your 2020 Tax Returns

2020 has finally ended which means we now have to think about our 2020 taxes. The issue is complicated by the fact that many of us received a COVID-19 stimulus check during 2020 and now have to figure out how that impacts our federal tax situation.

The Stimulus Isn’t An Income

The biggest concern most of us have is whether the stimulus check counts as income. In some of our cases, that simple check is enough to change our tax bracket and can seriously impact how much we owe the IRS.

According to Kathy Pickering, chief tax officer at H&R Block, you don’t have to worry about how the stimulus check will impact your income because it doesn’t count as income. That’s a relief for many people who are already struggling to pay their bills and simply can’t afford any more financial blows.

What If You Didn’t Get A Stimulus Check?

Where the stimulus check will come into play is if you didn’t get one or if you got one but it was for less than what you were entitled to. There are many reasons this may have happened including having a child in 2020, experiencing an economic setback, the IRS didn’t have the correct information on file. When you file your tax return, the IRS will become aware of the issue. They won’t send you a separate check, but they will add the missing amount to your tax refund.

Seek Professional Assistance

If you didn’t get a stimulus check, it’s in your best interest to hire a professional tax preparer who will go over your return and make sure everything is correct and that it’s very clear that the IRS still owes you a stimulus check. Utilizing a professional tax expert spares you from potentially making a mistake on your tax return which could cost you thousands.

File Early And Be Patient

Don’t expect this tax season to be just like the ones before it. The IRS is backlogged and has already pushed the filing start date back by two weeks. You can’t submit your 2020 tax return until February 12. The IRS has said that while it might take them a little longer than normal to process the return, they still hope to have the refunds sent within 21 days of you filing your return.

Things that will shorten the amount of time it takes to get your tax return include filing electronically and accepting direct deposits.

 

California Vehicle Exhaust Noise Laws

California Vehicle Exhaust Noise Laws

California Vehicle Exhaust Noise Laws

When it comes to noisy cars people always have one of two opinions: they either think the deep rumble sounds awesome or they think it is the most obnoxious and irritating thing they’ve heard all day. Many feel that a car with either a broken or modified exhaust is a major nuisance and disruption. To simplify the matter, California’s lawmakers created exhaust noise laws. These set a very strict limit on the amount of noise your vehicle can legally make as you drive it down the road.

California’s vehicle exhaust noise laws are addressed in the California Vehicle Codes 27150 – 27153.

California Vehicle Code # 27150 requires that your vehicle have an adequate muffler. This doesn’t just mean that not only does your car has to have muffler, but that it also has to be in good working order. This must be in place when you bring your car in for its registration inspection. The same law states that your vehicle won’t pass its inspection if the muffler or exhaust system has been set up with any type of cutout or bypass.

California Vehicle Code # 27151 prohibits you from making modifications to your exhaust that either directly violate VC 27151 or that raise the decibel level of your vehicle above 88 dbA. If your vehicle weighs less than 6,000 pounds or is a motorcycle, it can’t make noise that exceeds 95 dbA. It’s worth noting that most contemporary vehicles, even the ones that have a nice throaty roar, are designed in such a way that the noise they make doesn’t exceed 75 dbA.

One of the challenges driver’s face is that the way the vehicle codes that deal with excessive noise are written, police officers don’t necessarily know how much noise your exhaust system makes. They can pull you over simply because your vehicle is nosier than the rest of the cars on the road. The current writing of the law allows them to “exercise their own judgment.” There’s a chance that they’ll issue an excessive noise ticket even if your car is within the legal noise limits.

If you’re issued an excessive noise ticket, you’ll have to take your vehicle to a mechanic and have the problem repaired or removed if there’s an illegal modification. The next step is going to the California Referee Center. After looking at both your ticket and your vehicle’s registration the Referee Center will test your exhaust system and determine if it meets the legal requirements. If everything is in order, they’ll issue a Certificate of Compliance which you’ll have to show the traffic court.

The tickets for illegal exhausts and excessive noise vary. For a first offense, the ticket is usually $25 with fees climbing to $193. There have been some instances where the overall cost of the illegal exhaust fines reaching $1,105.

If the police pull you over, it’s possible that they will notice other issues, such as unpaid parking tickets, bench warrants, parole violations, etc. All things considered, it’s in your best interest to keep your car quiet and not attract police attention.

 

Evading The Police In California

Evading The Police In California

Evading The Police In California

A fairly common spectacle on the news, especially in Southern California, is a high speed chase. Whenever a high speed chase begins, news stations send their helicopters to follow it. This leads to thousands of people watching the pursuit with baited breath, waiting to see what will happen next and how it will all end.

The sight has become so common, that some people have begun to think that running from the police might be a good idea. This is despite the fact that every chase either ends with the suspect being caught, or sent to the hospital. Neither of those are great outcomes. Plus, they come with worse consequences than whatever crime the runner might have been trying to avoid.

Running from the police is illegal. As such, running will only make things worse for a person.

California Vehicle Code 2800

Here in the state of California, Vehicle Code 2800 defines what counts as evading a police officer. There are a few different levels to this law, Vehicle Code 2800.1, Vehicle Code 2800.2, and Vehicle Code 2800.3.

Under Vehicle Code 2800.1, a person is guilty of misdemeanor evading a police officer if they were driving, saw a police vehicle flashing at least one red light at them and blaring a siren, and then willfully fleeing from that officer.

Under Vehicle Code 2800.2, a person is guilty of felony evading of a police officer if they do the above, and display disregard for the safety of other people and property. Basically, this is the crime people are guilty of when they have really intense police pursuits that almost cause accidents.

Lastly, under Vehicle Code 2800.3, a person is guilty of evading causing injury if while evading the police, they cause severe bodily harm to someone or kill another individual.

Penalties For Evading Police Officers

Based off of its name, Vehicle Code 2800.1, misdemeanor evading a police officer, this crime is charged as a misdemeanor. It comes with the following consequences.

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.
  • Having the vehicle impounded for 30 days.

Despite what the name of Vehicle Code 2800.2, felony evading of a police officer, suggests, it is actually a wobbler crime. This means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. Most of the time, it is charged as a felony. As a felony, a person will face the following charges:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $10,000.

Vehicle Code 2800.3 is also a wobbler. It can be charged as a misdemeanor if a person only suffered severe injuries. If someone was killed, it is always charged as a felony. When someone is injured, the felony consequences are:

  • 3, 5, or 7 years in state prison.

If someone is killed, the prison sentence options become 4, 6, or 10 years.

It is important to remember that these charges likely won’t be the only charges that a person faces when caught evading the police. They will also have to face charges for the original reason why the officer attempted to pull them over in the first place.

Just Pullover

Watching a police pursuit on TV may be entertaining, but it is never a good idea for a person to run from the police. Doing so only makes the person’s situation worse. Once caught, because the person never gets away in a car, the person will face charges for running on top of facing charges for whatever caught the officer’s attention in the first place.

The best thing for a person to do is to pullover when an officer signals them to. If the person gets in trouble for something, it is better than getting in trouble for that and attempting to flee.

What do you think of California’s laws against evading police officers?

Are they too much, or not enough? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

 

Beware Of Extreme Heat This Summer

Beware Of Extreme Heat This Summer

Beware Of Extreme Heat This Summer

Summer is in full swing here in California, and many parts of the state are feeling the heat. While for some this is a nice change of pace from the cold of winter, for others this is just another extreme to be dealt with. Just like the cold, the heat can become harmful and even deadly. That is why people need to take the proper steps to ensure their health and well-being this summer.

When the weather grows indescribably hot, there are several things a person should do to keep cool. At excessive temperatures, keeping cool isn’t just about comfort, it is about staying healthy. At high temperatures, a person can suffer from heatstroke or heat exhaustion. Both can be very serious conditions, have their own unique symptoms, and require their own responses to keep the person suffering from them safe. The following information comes from the National Weather Service’s website.

In addition, heat cramps could be a warning sign of these illnesses starting to take effect in the person. If a person has been in hot weather and is suffering from cramps, usually in their legs or abdomen, they should:

  • Apply firm pressure to the cramping muscle.
  • Massage the muscle.
  • Sip on water so long as the person isn’t nauseous.

Feeling Tired From The Heat?

Spending too much time in the sun, or even just a warm area, can cause a person to suffer from heat exhaustion. When a person is suffering from heat exhaustion, they will experience the following symptoms:

  • Cool, pale, clammy skin.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Fast, weak pulse.
  • Heavy sweating.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Nausea, vomiting.
  • Weakness.

If a person is suffering these symptoms, they should get to a cooler area as soon as possible. They should loosen, or if possible, remove clothing to help cool off. If the person is conscious, give them sips of water. Apply cool, wet clothes to as much of the body as possible.

If the person vomits more than once, seek immediate medical attention.

The Signs Of Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is another, more serious heat related condition. The symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Altered mental state.
  • Body temperature over 103 degrees.
  • Confusion.
  • Dizziness.
  • Faints.
  • Hot, red, dry, or moist skin.
  • Nausea.
  • Rapid, strong pulse.
  • Shallow breathing.
  • Throbbing headache.

If a person exhibits these symptoms, contact 911 or get them to a hospitable immediately. If waiting for emergency services, move the person into a cooler area, preferably with air conditioning. Apply cool, wet cloths to as much as the body as possible or put them in a cool bath. Fan them only if the air temperature is under 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do not give the person fluids.

Stay Cool This Summer

During the warm summer months, it is important for person to keep cool, not just to remain comfortable, but to remain in good health as well. Not only does a person need to keep an eye on themselves during these warm times, but they need to watch out for those who can’t take care of themselves or those who are more susceptible to heat such as young children and the elderly. Doing so could keep them safe this summer.

It is also important to remember to stay hydrated when in hot weather. The human body uses water, in the form of sweat, to help regulate the body’s temperature. Without enough water, the body can begin to suffer from one of these illnesses.

What are some ways that you like to keep cool during the summer, especially while working?

Let us know in the comments down below and help other people keep cool this summer.

 

Scammers Using Earthquakes To Run Cons

Scammers Using Earthquakes To Run Cons

Scammers Using Earthquakes To Run Cons

Californians are well aware of the fact that by living in California, they are choosing to live with earthquakes. This is an easy commitment to make with how infrequently large quakes happen. However, once a decent sized earthquake rumbles through, people begin to second guess their decision.

This is what is happening for many Californians, especially Southern Californians, after the Fourth of July earthquake in Ridgecrest After that shaking, and the continual shaking that has been hitting the area since, many people are on edge. Everyone is anxious that an even bigger earthquake will strike and cause a whole lot of destruction.

While most people are stressing over the looming threat of another earthquake, scammers are busy scheming.

How The Scam Works

When it comes to conning people, scammers love to play off of people’s emotions. One of the favorite emotions that scammers love to manipulate in victims is fear. When people are scared, they are more likely to panic and make bad decisions. Scammers use this to take advantage of their victims.

With all of the earthquake hysteria right now, scammers are taking advantage of it. In Orange County, officials are warning of scammers who are calling houses, claiming to be officials of some sort, and warning of a major earthquake coming. The stammer attempts to convince the resident to get out of their house.

In some instances, this seems to be a prank, in others it seems to be an attempt at burglary. The scammers are trying to get the house empty so they can get inside and steal some valuables. Officials warn that if a person receives a call like this, they should ignore it and report the incident and phone number to the authorities.

How Emergency Warnings Are Issued

When it comes to officials warning the general populace about disasters, there are only certain methods they use. Those methods include:

  • The Emergency Broadcast System.
  • Wireless emergency alerts.
  • Through designated paps.
  • Through county or city websites.

Government agencies never contact individuals directly, especially not in the event that an earthquake has struck.

It is also important to remember that there is currently no accurate way to predict when an earthquake will strike. All current methods of warning only activate once an earthquake strikes can only warn of incoming shaking.

Stay Calm & Be Prepared

With the recent earthquakes striking Ridgecrest, everyone is on edge in California. However, that is no reason to let yourself get scammed. Now, more than ever, it is important for everyone to keep a level head and not give into panic. Staying calm can help a person make good decisions and avoid getting scammed.

As far as the earthquakes go, the best a person can do is be prepared. This means having enough food and water stored away to last every person in the house for three days. Plus there should be medical supplies, pet food if the person owns pets, and activities to keep kids entertained and busy. For a more complete list of what should be in an emergency kit, click here.

What is the craziest scam someone has ever tried to pull on you?

Share it in the comments down below.

 

How Are You Keeping Your Kids Busy This Summer?

How Are You Keeping Your Kids Busy This Summer?

How Are You Keeping Your Kids Busy This Summer?

Summer is here. For kids, this is the best time of the year, second only to Christmas time. Summer means no school and the freedom to do whatever they want. For parents, summer isn’t as exciting. Adults still have to work, but now the kids are home while are off making a living. Kids can get into all kinds of mischief if left unsupervised and bored for extended periods of time. This leaves parents with a bit of a dilemma.

When it comes to keeping kids entertained over the summer, many parents have a tough time. After all, they aren’t teachers and many do have to go to work. Even if a parent is a stay at home parent, summer can be tough. Those eight hours of school really keep children busy. Plus there is the fact that many of the fun things that are advertised on TV are very expensive, and most people do not have that kind of money. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep kids entertained over summer break without breaking the bank.

How To Keep Kids Entertained

Keep kids busy is no simple task, which is something parents figure out very quickly when their kids get any extended break from school. Kind of makes you think teachers should get paid more, doesn’t it? Regardless, with school out for summer, it is up to the parent to keep their child entertained, or at the very least, busy until school starts up again in fall. Here are a few, simple and affordable ideas on how to keep your kids busy this summer:

  1. CHORE CHARTS
    A quick and simple way to keep kids, maybe not so much entertained, but busy, would be to institute a chore chart. They might not appreciate it, but it can be helpful for the parent and beneficial for the child in the long run. Chores help teach children about responsibility, and can be a great way for them to earn some money that they can then spend on things they want.
  2. THE LIBRARY
    A good entertainment option would be to take the kids to the library once a week. Most public libraries have summer reading programs that can give more reasons for kids to read books. Just be sure to let the child pick out books that are age appropriate, but interesting to them. You want them to keep reading, and not get discouraged by big, complicated words. Reading is a great way to spend away hours upon hours of the summer.
  3. CAMP
    One option would be sending kids to summer camp, which can be a great adventure for the child. However, summer camp can be a bit expensive. There is always the cheaper alternative of day camp. Day camps are great ways to keep kids entertained during the day without sending them away for extended periods.
  4. BOARD GAMES
    Board games can be another way to keep children entertained over the summer. There are so many different games out there, that there is one for everyone. Plus, many modern games teach skills like teamwork, resource management, critical thinking, and strategy. Plus, with their replay-ability board games can be a very good investment.
  5. BE BORED
    Lastly, one of the best things that you can do is just let your child be bored. As bad as that may sound, being bored can actually be a good thing. Many studies have found that boredom leads to creativity. This is more important now more than ever since there are so many devices out there to help us alleviate boredom. Kids don’t actually have a lot of time to be bored nowadays, so letting them be bored from time to time is actually a good thing. It can lead to more creativity in your child.

Don’t Stress, Just Have Fun

While keeping kids entertained over the summer can be a tough job, it is possible to do without spending boatloads of money on extravagant outings. Following some of the above ideas can be great ways to keep kids entertained and/or busy this summer without straining your bank account.

While a parent may feel the need to make sure their child is entertained for the entirety of the summer break, it is important to realize that not only is that not possible, especially for working parents, but it is unrealistic. Boredom happens to everyone, and can often lead to great new ideas. So don’t worry too much if your child isn’t entertained 24/7, it can lead to some creative new ideas.

Do you have any cheap and affordable ways that you keep your kid(s) entertained during summer break?

If so, share them in the comments below and help out other parents.

 

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