Monthly Archives

September 2019

California’s Seat Belt Laws

California’s Seat Belt Laws

By | Carls Bail Bonds

California’s Seat Belt Laws

Every driver has seen a sign telling them and their passengers to buckle their seat belts. Most people don’t need to be reminded to buckle up. They know that wearing their seat belt is the best way to stay safe in the event of an accident. However, there are still some people out there who need to be reminded of that fact.

In an effort to try to keep everyone safe, every state in the union has created laws against driving without a seat belt. Here in California, Vehicle Code (VC) 27315 is the state’s seat belt law. It lists the times when a person needs to wear a seat belt and what kind of consequences a person would face for not wearing the belt.

California Vehicle Code 27315

VC 27315 is more commonly referred to as the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. This act was created in an effort to keep motorists safe while driving across California. The act basically states that no person over the age of 16 can ride or drive in a moving vehicle without being properly restrained.

Being properly restrained is defined as having the lower lap portion strapped over the stomach and the upper shoulder portion of the belt being strapped across the front of the chest. Basically, for any vehicle from the year 1996 or newer, passengers have to wear the full seat belt. A person cannot place the shoulder portion of the seat belt behind their back.

Another factor in this law is that all seat belts need to be kept in proper, working order.

Consequences of Not Buckling Up

Breaking VC 27315 is an infraction level offense. This means it does not come with criminal charges or jail time. A person simply faces a small fine for not wearing their seat belt while riding in a moving vehicle.

When a person doesn’t wear their seat belt, they will be the ones to get a ticket, not the driver of the vehicle. Unless the un-belted person is a minor, in which case the driver is responsible for the child’s safety.

For a first time offense, a person faces a $20 base fine.

For any subsequent offenses, a person faces a $50 base fine.

In some instances, a person may be able to avoid a fine if they can take a traffic school course, provided the course teaches about seat belt safety.

Despite the nature of breaking this law, a person will not receive any points on their driver’s license. This helps a person avoid collecting too many points on their license and the increased insurance rates that would come with them.

It is important to remember that all of these consequences are on top of the fact that if a person doesn’t wear a seat belt and winds up in an accident, they are much more likely to receive serious injuries. Seat belts save lives. By not wearing one, a person is risking their own life.

Kids and Seat Belts

It is pretty easy to see how seat belts aren’t exactly designed for children. That is why there are car seats built to keep kids safe at all ages. According to California law:

  • Kids under the age of 2 should be restrained in rear-facing car seats unless the child weighs more than 40 pounds, or is taller than 40 inches.
  • Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat in the back seat.
  • Children 8 and older, or taller than 4 feet, 9 inches, should be in a booster seat, or at least secured by a seat belt.
  • Children 16 and older must wear a seat belt.

Failing to follow these regulations can result in the parent receiving fines, and a point on their driver’s license.

A first time offense comes with a base fine of $100.

Subsequent offenses come with a base fine of $250.

Don’t Ignore the Ticket

With such a small ticket price, some people may feel like ignoring the ticket and its court date. However, that is a terrible idea. By ignoring a ticket and failing to appear in court, a person violates VC 40508. Unlike VC 27315, breaking VC 40508 comes with actual criminal charges.

When a person breaks this law, they can face:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

Just Wear the Seat Belt

At the end of the day, it is best that everyone just buckle up when they get in a vehicle. Doing so can keep them safe in the event of an accident. Plus, getting caught not wearing a seat belt can earn a person a nice fine, and they will have to appear in court. It is so much easier to just wear the seat belt.

What do you think of California’s take on seat belt laws? Is it too much, or not enough? Should driving without a seat belt earn a person a point on their driver’s license? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

Minors Breaking the Law

Minors Breaking the Law

By | Carls Bail Bonds

Minors Breaking the Law

Finding out that a child has broken a law is a terrible situation for a parent to deal with. No parent ever wants to answer the front door, or a phone, to learn that their child is in some serious trouble. While rare, this does happen from time to time. As such, a parent should be aware of what happens when a minor has a run in with law enforcement agents.

How the Law Handles Juveniles

When a minor gets in trouble with the law, officers react a little differently. In most cases, minors receive lesser penalties for crimes than an adult would. Still, there are times when a minor could find themselves locked up.

What happens to a minor who broke the law is largely dependent on the crime itself. If the charge is relatively minor, then the child will likely be allowed to go home, or be escorted home. Most of the time, the law prefers that parents take care of the children themselves. However, that is not always an option.

If things are a little more serious, then the minor may be given a summons to appear in court at a later date. If things are real bad, then the minor may be arrested and taken to juvenile hall.

Juvenile Hall

Just because a minor is taken to juvenile hall does not mean that they will be forced to stay there forever. This isn’t the end of the world.

A probation officer will look at the case and decide how to proceed. The officer can do one of the following:

  • Give the minor a citation to appear in court and send him/her home.
  • Place the minor on probation, which allows them to go home and avoid going to court, unless they continue to misbehave.
  • Hold the minor in juvenile hall until a judge can look at the case.

Minors in Court

When dealing with courts, minors go to a separate court that focuses solely on minors. If a child has to go to a hearing in court, they could be going for any of the following reasons:

  • Detention Hearing. This will determine if the child needs to stay in juvenile hall or not.
  • Transfer Hearing. This will determine if the case will stay at this level, or be moved up to an adult court.
  • Adjudication. This is the actual trial held in front of a judge, without a jury.
  • Disposition Hearing. If the juvenile is found guilty, this is where they receive their sentencing.

Despite the fact that these court hearings are for minors, they are still very serious. A person should treat these hearings the exact same way they would any other court appearances. This means a person, especially the minor, should dress appropriately and behave while in the court.

Consequences of Court

The goal of the juvenile delinquency system is to rehabilitate minors and to help mold them into good, well-behaved individuals. As such, judges have a lot of options when it comes to sentencing any minor that is found guilty.

What is likely the best case scenario for a guilty verdict, is probation. This means the minor is able to go home. They just have to be on their best behavior to ensure they don’t receive a worse punishment. Some common probation conditions can include:

  • A curfew.
  • Going to counseling.
  • Going to school.
  • Making restitutions to the victims.
  • Performing community service.

A worst case scenario would be when a judge determines that a child is better off away from their home. The child could become a ward of the state, which is where the state takes responsibility for the child. The minor could be placed into a probation camp, or into California’s Division of Juvenile Justice. Neither of these are great outcomes.

Be a Part of Your Child’s Life

No parent ever wants their child to have to face hardship, and getting into trouble with the law definitely counts as hardship. Luckily, a child has to screw up pretty majorly in order to wind up in juvenile hall. So long as a parent takes an active role in their kid’s life, they should be able to prevent that from ever happening.

When kids have guidance, they are able to make better choices, and therefore are less likely to end up getting into trouble in the first place. That is why parents need to pay attention to their kids. If they don’t, their child could make a bad choice and find him or herself in juvie.

Peeping Tom Laws in California

By | Carls Bail Bonds

Peeping Tom Laws in California

F or those unaware, a peeping tom is typically a man who spies on a woman while she’s changing. What was once a fairly common scene in movies has since died off as people admitted just how creepy the act of peeping is.

The act is so despised that there are laws against peeping and spying on people. Everyone has a right to privacy, especially when a person is in the safety of their own home, or other private areas. That is why the state of California has laws against the act. If a person thinks they want to spy on someone in a private setting, they should think again. This is not a law that a person should be breaking.

California Penal Code 647

Since spying and peeping on someone is such a big deal, because it is an invasion of privacy, many states and even the federal government have enacted laws against the act. In the state of California, spying and peeping is illegal under California Penal Code (PC) 647 i& j.

PC 647 i focuses on the act of peeping while loitering. Under this law, peeping while loitering is considered delaying or lingering on someone else’s private property without reason for being there while peeking into the door or window of an inhabited building. An inhabited building is any structure that a person lives in. If a person does this, then they are guilty of breaking this law.

PC 647 j focuses on invasion of privacy. This part of the law covers a few different acts, such as:

  • Using a telescope or other device to spy on someone.
  • Secretly photographing or recording a person’s body under their clothes for the purpose of sexual gratification.
  • Secretly recording someone in a private room in order to see them in their underwear.

Committing any of these acts is a crime under this law, and can get a person into serious legal trouble.

Penalties of Peeping in California

Breaking PC 647 is seen as form of disorderly conduct, which makes it a misdemeanor offense. This means that a person will face the following consequences for a first time offense:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

These are the typical penalties for this crime, provided the victim is an adult. However, if the victim of the spying is a minor, anyone under the age of 18, then the consequences are more severe. For subsequent peeping offenses, or for peeping on a minor, the consequences are:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $2,000.

However, despite the nature of the crime, a conviction under PC 647 does not require a person to register as a sex offender.

No One Wants to Be Spied On

No one likes to be spied on especially when they are in their underwear or are naked. Everyone has a right to privacy, especially in their own home, in a restroom, or in a changing room. This is why peeping tom laws have been enacted to try to prevent people from committing the act at all.

Anyone caught breaking these laws will face jail time, and if they continue to break the law after that, the consequences will get worse for the person. Basically, it is never a good idea to spy or peep on someone. Doing so will get a person into trouble.

What do you think about California’s peeping tom laws and their consequences? Are the consequences enough, or should they be harsher? Should peepers be required to register as sex offenders?

Tagging and Graffiti Laws Here in California

By | Carls Bail Bonds

Tagging and Graffiti Laws Here in California

Tagging and graffiti are two things that most people have seen, especially if they live in an urban area. Pretty much every large city in the country is littered with graffiti and other signs of tagging. A lot of times, these random markings can make signs unreadable, and change the look of the city for the worse. That is why most states have laws against graffiti.

California is one such state. California Penal Code (PC) 594 covers all sorts of vandalism, from breaking something to marking it up with paint or markers. While the crimes of graffiti and vandalism may seem minor to some, they are a very big deal to others. This is especially true for anyone stuck having to clean up the mess.

California Penal Code 594

PC 594 here in the state of California outlines every possible crime that could be considered vandalism and the punishments for them all. As far as the law is concerned, vandalism is considered to occur when someone maliciously defaces, damages, or destroys someone else’s property.

Vandalism can be any number of things, from

:

  • Smashing mailboxes.
  • Keying someone’s car.
  • Writing a name in wet cement.
  • Breaking someone’s fine china.

Basically, if someone messes with someone else’s stuff with the express intent of breaking or harming it, then they are guilty of vandalism. In fact, this can even be true if two people own something together, and one of them breaks the item. The other person could charge the first with vandalism in the state of California.

Penalties of Vandalism

As far as the punishments for vandalism go, they are dependent on the amount of damage done, the person’s criminal history, if they have one, and what exactly the person vandalized. For instance, vandalizing a place of worship comes with steeper consequences than simply vandalizing someone’s home.

If the amount of damage done totals less than $400, then the vandalism is a misdemeanor charge. This means that the person faces:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000 unless the person has any prior vandalism charges, in which case the max fine is $5,000.
  • Informal probation.

If the cost of the damage is greater than $400 dollars, the prosecution can charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. With misdemeanor vandalism charges in this case, a person faces:

  • Up to one year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000, unless the cost of the damages was higher than $10,000, in which case the max fine would be $50,000.
  • Informal probation

If the cost of damages was over $400 dollars and the crime is being charged as a felony, then the person faces:

  • A jail sentence ranging from 16 months to 3 years.
  • A max fine of $10,000, unless the cost of the damages was higher than $10,000, in which case the max fine would be $50,000.
  • Informal probation.

Consequences of Graffiti in California

Graffiti can be penalized differently in California if the damage done costs less than $250. California PC’s 640.5 and 640.6 only cover the act of graffiti. These offenses come with slightly less harsh consequences, and increase in severity with subsequent offenses.

The first time someone is charged with this crime, they face an infraction level offense:

  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Community service.

The second time someone is charged with this crime, they face a misdemeanor level offense:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $2,000.
  • Community service.

For a third, or any subsequent offense after that, a person will face a misdemeanor level offense:

  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • A max fine of $3,000.
  • Community service.

Don’t Damage Someone Else’s Property

Aside from the state having its own law against graffiti and vandalism as a whole, many cities have their own takes on ordinances regarding graffiti. Some cities have even prohibited minors, anyone under 18, from being in possession of graffiti tools such as cans of spray paint and permanent markers. As such parents may want to be careful with giving their children Sharpies. Some cities take that act very seriously, while others couldn’t care less.

Graffiti and vandalism are not fun to deal with, and they are not fun to look at either. That is why the state of California has laws against both vandalism and graffiti. Any person caught breaking those laws will face the consequences.

What do you think of California’s laws surrounding vandalism and graffiti? Are the consequences too steep, just right, or not harsh enough? Why is that?