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Earthquake Survival Tips

By | Bail Bond in Fresno

Living in California means you could experience an earthquake. They’re far more common than people realize. While most earthquakes are so small they’re hardly noticeable, there is always a chance that a large earthquake could occur.

The problem with a large earthquake is that not only could it do a great deal of damage and put people in danger, but it’s also impossible to predict when they’re going to occur. That’s why it’s so important to know how to respond and protect yourself if you’re caught in a major earthquake.

  • Have a specific meeting place where you and your loved ones will meet in the event of an earthquake
  • Keep several fire extinguishers in your home. Ideally, you should have one in each room
  • Make sure everyone knows how to turn off the water and gas in your home
  • Periodically go through your home and make sure all heavy objects, such as mirrors and bookcases are tightly attached to the walls so that they won’t fall and injure someone during an earthquake
  • Pack a few different earthquake prep bags that include things like a first aid kit, water bottles, and some non-perishable snacks and stash them in various places around your home.
  • Equip your earthquake survival kit with battery packs, flashlights, and warm socks

Every few months gather your family and go through an earthquake survival plan. This provides you with an opportunity to establish the best places within your home you can retreat to if there’s an earthquake. Good choices are reinforced areas such as closets and doorways. Make sure that there is nothing near these places that could fall into the same space and cause serious injuries. Remember, most earthquake injuries and fatalities are caused by falling objects.

Since it’s impossible to know when a large earthquake will happen, your family must discuss what you’ll do if you’re not home or together during a major earthquake. Establish where everyone should go and discuss who will be in charge of contacting who.

Don’t be passive during an earthquake. Once you’ve reached a secure place drop down to your knees so you’re sturdy and unlikely to fall and hit your head. Use your arms to protect your head. Stay in place for several minutes until you’re confident there won’t be any more tremors.

The most important thing to remember when you’re caught in an earthquake is to stay calm and not do anything rash.

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What to Do if You’re Being Stalked

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds, Los Angeles Bail Bonds

Every single year, approximately 7.5 million Americans become the victims of a stalker. If you suspect that you’ve attracted the attention of a stalker you must remain calm while simultaneously taking steps to protect yourself.

Don’t Dismiss the Threat

One of the biggest mistakes many stalking victims make is deciding that they are imagining things or that the situation isn’t all that serious. When it comes to a stalker, it’s best to be over-cautious. Being the victim of a stalker not only puts your mental health at risk, but it can also be life-threatening. The University of Gloucestershire conducted a six-month study that revealed that stalking was a component in 94% of the studied homicides.

As soon as you even suspect you’ve attracted the attention of a stalker, you need to take steps to protect yourself.

Block Your Social Media Accounts

Social media has made stalking easier than ever before. Routing posts provide an incredible amount of information that a stalker will use against you. When you feel that you’ve attracted the attention of a stalker, set all of your online profiles to private and stop posting updates, particularly updates that a stalker could use to figure out where you’re going and your routine.

Alert Loved Ones to the Situation

Even if you only have a funny feeling about someone, you should talk to your loved ones about the situation. Not only will they help you decide if you’re imagining things, but they can also take steps to make sure you’re protected. A perfect example of how alerting a loved one to the situation will help you out is that they’ll be willing to accompany you on errands. Not only is there safety in numbers, but the second pair of eyes means you will have a witness to the stalking which will strengthen your case if you have to press charges.

Start Keeping a Record

Pull out a notebook and start recording everything that relates to your stalker. This record should include gifts you’ve received, any time they’ve been in the same location as you, and all virtual and in-person conversations you’ve had with them. It’s a good idea to keep copies of these records in different locations. The data you collect will be a key piece of evidence against your stalker.

Get Serious About Personal Protection

You can’t afford to get casual with your personal protection. As soon as you feel that you’re becoming the victim of a stalker, you need to take a long look at your current situation and evaluate how you can make it safer. You need to lock your doors. You need to alert loved ones about where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Consider taking a self-defense class. Get into the habit of frequently checking in with loved ones. You may even want to consider staying with a friend or loved one until you can figure out how to resolve the situation.

Talk to the Police

As soon as you start to feel threatened by the stalker, it’s time to contact the police. The amount of protection they can provide will depend on your exact circumstances. Even if the situation hasn’t escalated to the point of you being able to obtain a restraining order or file charges against your stalker, contacting the authorities is always a good idea since it officially shows that you’re concerned about the situation and creates yet another record that strengthens your case. The police will also likely have some advice about additional steps you can take to protect yourself.

The most important thing to remember when you’ve attracted the attention of a stalker is to cut your ties with them and to trust your instincts.

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Preventing Auto Theft

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds, Los Angeles Bail Bonds

Auto theft is a massive and expensive problem. The Insurance Information Institute reports that in 2019, 219.9 cars per 100,000 people were stolen. The average value of the stolen vehicle was $8,886.

The good news is that while you might not be able to totally prevent yourself from being a victim of auto theft, there are some things you can do to resist the odds of your car attracting a car thief.

It sounds basic, but the best way to prevent your car from getting stolen is by never leaving your keys in the vehicle. Seeing a set of keys sitting the cupholder or still in the ignition is just too much for some people to resist. Plus, you don’t want to have to explain to the responding officers or your car insurance company that your keys were stolen along with the car.

Get into the habit of locking your car all the time and not leaving the windows down. Car thieves know that the key to a successful theft job is quickly gaining access to the vehicle. They don’t want to attract attention by breaking a window or trying to jimmy the lock. In most cases, the thief will leave the locked car alone and look for an easier target.

Don’t leave valuables in your car, and if you do leave them in the car, place them somewhere that they won’t be noticed by someone walking past your car. This includes things like cell phones, tablets, and nice clothing.

At night, try to make sure your car is parked under a streetlight or locked in a garage. Car thieves look for vehicles that are parked in shadows so that they can hide in the darkness while they break into the vehicle.

Consider hiding your registration. You should already know that you never keep the title in your car, but it’s not a bad idea to store the registration somewhere other than the glove box. Not knowing where the registration makes it harder for the thief to prove the vehicle is theirs if they’re pulled over.

Avoid parking in areas of high crime is one of the best things you can do to prevent yourself from being the victim of a car thief. If you suddenly start to hear reports of nearby cars getting stolen or vandalized, it might be time to look for a new parking area.

The best way to prevent yourself from being a victim of car theft is using common sense, keeping your car locked, and being aware of your surroundings.

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Aggravated Mayhem in California

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds, Los Angeles Bail Bonds

Aggravated mayhem might sound like it’s shenanigans that get out of hand, but that’s not the reality. According to California law, aggravated mayhem is, “intentionally causing someone a permanent disability or disfigurement, or to deprive the person of a limb, organ or member of the body.” A charge of aggravated mayhem in California is similar to aggravated battery or torture.

It’s important for everyone involved in an aggravated mayhem case to remember that the victim has to have been either disabled or disfigured during the alleged incident. Legally speaking, there’s a huge difference between an injury that will eventually heal and a lifelong disfigurement. If doctors determine that the victim didn’t sustain injuries that will leave them permanently disabled or disfigured, the charges against you will have to be altered.

It’s worth noting that a charge of aggravated mayhem can be filed if the victim suffers severe psychological damage.

Consequences of Aggravated Mayhem in California

Aggravated mayhem is not a wobbler offense. It’s always a felony offense.

It’s also worth noting that legal consequences aren’t the only problem you face in an aggravated mayhem case. The victim can also choose to file a civil lawsuit against you. The victim can file a civil case against you even if the DA drops the charges or a jury finds you not guilty.

A guilty conviction of aggravated mayhem can include:

  • Fines of more than $10,000
  • Life in prison with the possibility of parole

Possible Aggravated Mayhem Defenses

If you’ve been charged with aggravated mayhem, you’ll want a good criminal defense lawyer in your corner, and you’ll want their legal advice as soon as you’re arrested. You don’t want to accidentally say something that jeopardizes your defense.

Potential arguments you can use to defend yourself in an aggravated mayhem case include:

  • That the injuries the victim sustained weren’t permanent
  • That the prosecutor can’t show probable cause
  • You didn’t intend to injure the victim

Putting together a solid defense in aggravated mayhem cases takes a lot of time and investigation so find a good attorney as quickly as possible.

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The Consequences of Contracting Without a Proper License

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds, Los Angeles Bail Bonds

The State of California doesn’t mind you offering to help repair your neighbor’s garage in exchange for pizza. However, if you start accepting money for the repair work and turn it into a business, the state expects you to cut through all the red tape and acquire a proper license. Failing to do results in serious ramifications.

One of the many reasons the Contractors State License Board was originally established was to help create some standards contractors must meet and also help protect contractors and consumers from fraudulent situations.

Business owners who are involved in the following industries are required to have a current California contractor’s license:

  • Building construction/repair
  • Road construction/repair
  • Railroad construction/repair
  • Parking facility construction/repair
  • Excavation

Getting caught doing businesses without a proper, state-issued license can cause serious problems. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) has a Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) that’s responsible for dealing with contractor fraud. It’s important to understand that the task force doesn’t simply investigate complaints, they also routinely set up undercover investigations and sweet construction sites in an attempt to identify contractors that aren’t properly licensed.

The consequences of operating a contracting business without a state contracting license are severe. In most cases, your case will appear in front of a Superior Court judge. If the judge finds you guilty of misdemeanor charges, you could be sentenced to a six-month stay in jail and be charged a $5,000 fine. The penalties don’t stop there. The court can also hit you with an administrative fine that ranges from $200-$15,000. That’s for a first offense.

The next time you face the same charges, the minimum sentence is 90 days in county jail and either a $5,000 fine or 20% of whatever you were charging your client.

Many contractors have faced felony charges. The court pursues a felony charge when they believe you deliberately led the client to believe that you were properly licensed or if you used a license that belonged to a different contractor. The third way you can be charged with felony contractor fraud is if you’re caught operating in an area that has been declared a state or federal natural disaster area.

Felony contractor fraud convictions can end with prison time as well as steep fines.

Any clients you did work for while not properly licensed are not required to pay you for your time or the supplies you used. They can also choose to file a civil case against you.

The best way to avoid a contractor fraud charge is by making sure your contractor’s license is always up to date.

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Drunk Driving in California During the Thanksgiving Holiday

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds, Los Angeles Bail Bonds

There are certain days when the police become extremely concerned about drunk drivers. Thanksgiving is one such holiday. If you’re on the road during Thanksgiving weekend, don’t be surprised if you see more police patrolling the streets than what you would normally expect.

Why Police are Concerned about Drunk Driving in California During Thanksgiving

California patrol officers have plenty of good reasons to be out and about during Thanksgiving weekend. The main reason they’re going to be patrolling for drunk drivers is that history indicates that it’s a holiday when many drivers fail to hand over their keys after having one too many.

Statistics indicate that there is something about the long Thanksgiving weekend that encourages drivers to cut loose and drink more than they should, especially the night before Thanksgiving Day. According to data collected by Scram Systems, during a 5-year span, there have been about 800 drunk driving-related car accidents that took place on the night before Thanksgiving. One reason for the high number of accidents is because many people choose that night to hit the bars. Another reason is that there are more cars on the road. A higher number of drunk drivers combined with more people driving results in some nasty accidents.

Looking at the numbers it makes sense that additional police are assigned to patrol the streets the night before Thanksgiving.

Be Prepared to be Pulled Over on Thanksgiving

It’s unlikely that the police will be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt during the Thanksgiving holiday. If they see anything, such as briefly swerving in your lane or taking a turn too fast, that makes them even suspect you might be driving while under the influence, they will pull you over.

How to Avoid Spending Thanksgiving in Jail

If you’re arrested for drunk driving the night before Thanksgiving, you will likely spend the bulk of the holiday behind bars. Not only will the police refuse to release you until you’ve sobered up, finding the money to post your bail will be difficult.

Avoiding Thanksgiving Drunk Driving Charges

The best way to avoid spending the holiday in a jail cell is to plan ahead before going out.

If you plan on drinking, make sure you have a plan that allows you to get home without actually getting behind the wheel. This plan could include having a friend drive you, taking a cab, or hiring an Uber driver.

If you do go out and drink more than you should, call someone for a ride. Don’t assume that you’re okay to drive home.

Don’t assume that you can wait in your car until you sober up. If a police officer sees you get into your car while you’re drunk, they can still arrest you for “intending to drive while drunk.” They can charge you with this even if you don’t move your car.

The best way to enjoy Thanksgiving is by using good judgment, monitoring the amount of alcohol you consume, and committing to keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Reality of Unemployment Fraud

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia

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

Individuals aren’t the only ones who can be accused of unemployment fraud. Employers can also end up in hot water. If an investigation reveals that employer-supplied false information to the state to make it difficult for an employee to collect the unemployment benefits they deserve, the employer will be charged with unemployment fraud.

Unemployment fraud in California is a wobbler offense. Whether someone is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the amount of money they collected from the scam. If the amount is less than $950 misdemeanor charges are filed. The penalty can include a $1,000 fine and spend up to six months in county jail.

If the amount is greater than $950 and the prosecutor decides to stick to with a >misdemeanor, it’s a potential $10,000 fine and year in county jail.

In felony unemployment fraud cases the amount must exceed $950. Being found guilty could result in up to a 5-year jail sentence and a $50,000 fine. In addition to the fines, the state demands that the money was stolen from the system be returned and adds a 30% interest rate to the total.

The best way to avoid an unemployment fraud charge is to be completely honest on your unemployment application.

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What is Housing Discrimination

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds

It is incredibly difficult to find affordable housing in California. The average price of a home in California is $600,000 which is double the national average.

There are several reasons for the housing crisis, including:

  • The number of homes/apartment buildings that have been destroyed by wildfires in recent years
  • High construction costs
  • A discrepancy between the average wage and the average cost of a home
  • Not enough construction companies/workers
  • Lack of housing subsidies

The situation is so bad that some California residents who make middle wage or lower report that they have spent 3-5 years trying to find an apartment.

The Role Housing Discrimination Plays in California

In an attempt to keep a roof over as many heads as possible, California lawmakers have passed housing discrimination laws. These laws are very similar to many workplace discrimination laws. The housing discrimination laws prevent landlords and real estate companies from using someone’s sex, sexual preference, race, religion, marital status, or disability when determining who should and shouldn’t be allowed to live in a particular property.

The housing discrimination laws specifically prevent landlords/real estate agents from:

  • Openly using personal discrimination as a reason for refusing to lease, sell, or rent to a person
  • Being so biased that they’re unwilling to negotiate with an interested party
  • Learning a person’s gender/age/race and suddenly deciding that a unit is no longer available
  • Using personal bias as a reason to provide inferior living conditions
  • Behaving in a harassing manner

Do the Housing Discrimination Laws Work

It’s difficult to determine just how effective California’s housing discrimination laws are. While they likely prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant because of race, there’s no way to tell if a prejudice against a tenant’s race/sex/marital status/gender doesn’t cause the landlord to seek out a reason to evict the person or to reject someone else’s application.

How to Handle Housing Discrimination

If you feel that you have been the victim of housing discrimination, it’s in your best interest to take a proactive stance. The first thing you need to do is record everything that happened to you, particularly the episodes/conversations that made you feel like you were being discriminated against.

Once you have collected your evidence, approach a knowledgeable lawyer, and ask for their help. Not only will they determine whether you have a housing discrimination case, but they’ll also offer advice about how you should proceed.

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Unwritten Camping Rules to Remember

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds

Camping is wonderful. Camping provides you with the means to connect to the earth and nature while also bonding with family and friends. The best thing about camping is all the great memories you collect during each camping trip.

The next time you’re about to hit the woods for an epic camping trip, keep these unwritten camping rules in mind.

Leave Your Site Better than you Found It

It doesn’t matter if you’re a slob at home when you’re camping, you need to turn into a neat freak. Commit yourself to keeping each place you pitch your camp cleaner than when you found it. Not only does this ensure that the next set of campers who come along will also have a nice place to set up camp, but it also proves that you are environmentally aware.

Keeping the campsites cleaner than how you found it includes cleaning up after your pets.

Don’t Leave the Fire Burning

California has had more than its fair share of fires. The last thing you want is to be the cause of the next wildfire. Making sure you douse the fire whenever you’re not sitting in front of is important. It’s a good idea to throw some water over the fire pit so that there’s no risk of a stray spark setting off a big blaze.

When you’re camping, take a little while to study your campsite. If the area is full of dry leaves, underbrush, and grass, hold off on starting a fire. If a spark jumps out of your fire pit and sets some of the dry matter on fire, the entire campsite will go up in flames before you have time to spring into action.

The Camp Bathroom isn’t your Kitchen

A surprising number of people who use campgrounds treat the campground’s bathroom like it’s their kitchen. They actually use the sink to wash their dishes. If you’ve never done this, great! If you have, make sure you don’t do it again. Not only is the practice a health hazard, but it can also play havoc on the campgrounds plumbing system and it’s rude to other guests.

Be Respectful While Camping

You’re on a great camping experience and want to have a good time, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your good manners at home. If you’re using a campground, you need to be respectful. That includes things like:

  • Not walking across someone else’s campsite
  • Staying calm and quiet during the night
  • Using low lights
  • Keeping your pets and your kids under control

Following these simple unwritten rules of camping will increase the amount of enjoyment you get on your next camping adventure.

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Will the Police Cite me for Not Wearing a Mask When Shopping?

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds

Covid-19 has brought about many changes. One of the newest additions to our lives is the wearing of face masks while in public.

Why are Face Masks Required in California

The hope is that wearing masks will slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The idea is that the masks keep the droplets contained to a single person. California lawmakers are urging residents to wear a mask whenever they’re shopping.

The problem is that there is conflicting information regarding the effectiveness of face masks. The result of the conflict is that while some people happily don a mask each time they go out, others refuse to wear them.

The debate over wearing facemasks has led many people to wonder if the police will issue citations to those who don’t wear a mask while shopping.

When are Face Masks Required

According to the State of California, masks should be worn whenever:

  • You’re in an indoor public area
  • You’re obtaining medical services, such as dental appointments and donating blood
  • You’re using some form of public transportation, in a taxi, or utilizing a rideshare program
  • When you’re in an area that is heavily used by multiple people
  • Interacting directly with people

Many California cities and counties have created additional laws that pertain to face masks.

Will the Police Cite you for Not Wearing a Mask While Shopping

People who are good about wearing a mask whenever they’re out and about don’t worry about police citations while they’re shopping. Those who don’t can’t stop wondering if they can issue a ticket for failing to cover the face.
There were some counties that took a much firmer stance. Not only did they tell their local officers that they should issue citations to anyone who wasn’t wearing a mask, but they also attached a fine to the citation.

Riverside County was one such place that decided that failing to wear a mask while shopping could result in a $1,000 fine.

The sheer number of people who were neglecting to wear a mask while shopping combined with reports of people getting verbally attacked when they asked someone to put a mask on has resulted in Governor Gavin Newsom has tightened up on the issue of masks.

He recently issued this statement. “Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered — putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease. California’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations. That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands, and practicing physical distancing.”-Los Angeles Times

Newson’s recent changes. At this point, it’s likely that the police won’t hand out many citations to those who fail to wear a mask while shopping, they feel that their services are needed elsewhere. That could change if the daily number of new COVID-19 cases starts to rapidly increase.

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California’s Regulations Regarding Car Seats

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds, Los Angeles Bail Bonds

All parents know that infants should be contained in a car seat, however not all parents know what California’s laws are regarding car seats.

Infants and Car Seats

Any child that is two or under must be confined to a rear-facing car seat while they are in a vehicle. Failing to have your child properly secured in a car seat will result in a $500 fine and a point getting added to your driving record. Don’t assume that just because your child has passed their second birthday that it’s time to change their car seat. The law also states that the child needs to be at least 40 inches tall and or weigh at least 40 pounds before they graduate to a different type of car seat.

Car Seat for Children who are Between the Ages of 2 and 8

If your child has already celebrated their second birthday and also meets the height and weight requirements, you’re allowed to replace their rear-facing car seat for a front-facing model. California lawmakers won’t prevent you from making this transition, but they do want you to understand that the rear-facing car seats are considered 500% safer than the front-facing models.

The car seat should always be secured in the back seat unless there is a reason the back seat is considered unsafe or isn’t designed in a way that allows the car seat to be safely installed in space.

Transitioning from Car Seat to Booster Seat

There is no set age when your child can officially move out of their car seat and into a booster seat. California’s child car seat laws state that the transition can happen once your child has reached a height or weight that exceeds the limits of your front-facing car seat. In most cases, the child will be about 65 pounds. There are no requirements about the type of booster seat your child uses, though it does have to be a seat that can be safely installed in the car.

Your child is allowed to move out of the booster seat when they turn 8 or when they reach a height of 4’9”.

Make Sure the Car Seat is Properly Installed

An improperly installed car seat is nearly as dangerous as driving around without your child in a car seat. Don’t assume that you know what you’re doing. Whenever you get a new car seat or a new car, it’s in your best interest to take the entire setup to your nearest police station. One of the officers will happily examine the car seat and make sure it’s properly installed.

Rather than moving the car seat from one car to another, you should keep a car seat in each vehicle. Not taking the seat in and out of different vehicles not only extends the life of the car seat but also reduces the risk of it not getting installed properly.

You owe it to your child to stay abreast of the latest California laws pertaining to car seats.