Did You Know About This Forgotten Right?

Did You Know About This Forgotten Right?

Did You Know About This Forgotten Right?

Many people are familiar with the First and Second Amendment to the US Constitution. However, this is like only reading the first paragraph of a book and saying you understand everything in between. We do this a lot in today’s society. We look for articles with catchy headlines and graze over them hoping to gain all the knowledge that is within the article in 15 seconds or less. We see or hear things in the news and react based off of that small sample. Most people just get information from secondary news sources rather than the primary source. Within this crazy world, we get so caught up in all the drama of the problems that we don’t focus on a solution. The solution is within the 15th Amendment.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s time to pull out your duplicate Constitution that you were given in grade school. The 15th Amendment outlines our right to vote. For women, the solution lies in the 19th Amendment, where women were granted the right to vote as well. Our right to vote is often understated and misjudged. People assume that our votes don’t matter, but they do.

California had the primary election in June 5th, and the final vote this November 6th. There are many things to vote for this year. For starters, this upcoming election we’ll be able to vote for a new Governor. Not only will we get to elect a new official, we can also vote on controversial topics like: bail reform, the 3 state initiative, gas taxes, and rent regulations. The ballot is still in the process of being formed. By the end of the summer, we will know what issues are going to be on the ballot.

If you feel empowered and want to make a difference, register to vote.

You need to be registered to vote at least 15 days before the election. Try not to put off registering to vote until last minute because if there is any issue you won’t be able to vote. There are several places where you can register to vote:

  • The Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Armed services recruitment centers
  • State and county public assistance offices (SNAP/food stamps, WIC, services for the disabled)
  • Post Offices
  • Online

It’s time to step up and exercise your right to vote. We weren’t given these rights to just ignore them. It’s time we put them to use. The world seems crazy and out of control, we can at least help reign in the California government. It’s time to not forget about the 15th Amendment.


Parole vs. Probation

Parole vs. Probation

Parole vs. Probation

There are many terms out there that most people mix up. Often times, these terms are closely related and describe similar, yet different, things. The terms are often used so closely together that people begin to assume they mean the same thing. A good example of this would the difference between parole and probation.

Just about everyone knows that these two terms have something to do with getting out of jail. However, that is usually the extent of most people’s knowledge on the matter. This is due to the fact that they would rather not spend time learning about terms they will likely never need to know about. Unfortunately for some, jail has a way of sneaking up on them. This makes it important to know the difference between these two terms.

Probation is often a replacement for a jail or prison sentence. A person is given probation by their case judge, and they have set of rules or conditions that they have to follow which vary from case to case. If they fail to follow those, then they will be taken into custody. However, if they follow all of the rules, then they can finish their sentence without ever setting foot in jail or prison.

Parole deals with a person who was recently released from prison. When a person is released from prison, they are not immediately free. They have to go through a sort of trial period, which is what parole is. The person has to prove they are rehabilitated by meeting certain conditions while out on their own. The person is assigned a parole officer that they have to meet with on a regular basis.

It is easy to see that while these two terms are similar, they are also very different. Probation is a way to stay out of jail or prison, while parole is what happens after a person is released from prison. Both, however, do require the person to be on their best behavior, or else they may end up behind bars.


Did You Think California’s Water Problems Were Over?

Did You Think California’s Water Problems Were Over?

Did You Think California’s Water Problems Were Over?

Californians love their water. They love their coasts and their rolling green mountains. They love the wildlife and wildflowers that come out in the spring. When the weather starts warming up, the moisture starts evaporating. Plants die out, and the green turns to brown. It’s at this point we start wondering, are we in a drought? Are we supposed to be this dry?

We just survived a very devastating drought, and for once we can move past it. The last few years in California we have watched lakes dry up, and desert color tones become more prominent. We’ve survived many bans on our water usage, and watched green lawns wither away. We’ve all prayed for rain and finally got some. For once we’re not in a crisis mode over water in California. However, we’re not out of the desert just yet.

Currently we’re not in a serve drought, but that doesn’t mean all of our water problems are gone.

Parts of California may not have any drought warnings, but some do. Most of the Central and Northern parts of the state are abnormally dry. When you look at Southern California, this is where you’ll find some extreme drought areas. However, most of the Southern parts of the state are just moderately in a drought. This means that even through some of us are wetter than we were, we still have a ways to go to be completely drought free.

The California climate is always changing. California has a long history of unpredictable weather. In some parts of the state you have a brisk cold mornings followed by triple digits heat by noon. The overall climate of California plays a large role in the drought. California’s climate usually has a dry season from mid-May to late September. Then the dry season is followed by the wet season. The different typography in California diversifies the climate and weather patterns making it more complicated to predict.

We love our water, so we should take care of it.

Californians have done well when it comes to preparing for the dry seasons. Through reservoirs and conversation we are able to survive the dry times. We are also able to survive extreme drought conditions. Even though we’re finally breaking free from the drought conditions, we still need to be mindful of our water usage and conserve as much as we can.


Using GPS In California Could Result In Legal Trouble

Using GPS In California Could Result In Legal Trouble

Using GPS In California Could Result In Legal Trouble

Very few of us even carry a map in the car with us. Why would we when GPS is so much more accurate and gives us directions while we actually drive. As wonderful as GPS devices are, if you’re driving in California and using one, you need to be careful.

Like most states, California has clear rules about doing things like calling a friend up while you’re driving or sending text messages. Getting caught doing either of those things can result in a hefty ticket. Until January 2017, GPS’s devices were different. You were free to key in all sorts of information into them even while you were zipping down the highway. That’s no longer the case.

In January 2017, laws about the legal use of GPS devices went into effect. The good news is that you’re still allowed to use you GPS unit, you just have to be careful.

Keep it Out of Your Hands

If an officer catches you holding a GPS device while you’re driving, they can and will pull you over and issue a ticket. Having it in your hands, whether it’s because you’re trying to read something on the screen or because you’re trying to enter an address into it is considered distracted driving. If you have to pick up the GPS device for some reason, pull off the road to do so.

Make Sure It’s Swipeable

The one time you are allowed to touch your GPS is when you’re turning the unit on or off, provided you can do so in one smooth motion while still keeping your eyes on the road and one hand on the road, which basically means you’re limited to swipeable devices.

Voice Activated is Perfect

If you don’t like the idea of having to pull off the road each time you want to enter a new location into your GPS devices, you’d better exchange your current unit with one that is voice activated.

As of yet, there aren’t any laws regulating the way you use a GPS unit that comes pre-installed in your vehicle.

Penalties for Getting Stopped While Handling a GPS Unit

The most obvious side effect of getting pulled over while using a portable GPS unit while driving is that you’ll get ticketed for distracted driving. Not only does this mean a fine, but can also lead to significantly higher insurance premiums. If there’s a bench warrant for your arrest or if you do something to irritate the traffic patrol officer, you may be arrested.


Motorcycle Laws: Two Wheels Of Freedom, Right?

Motorcycle Laws: Two Wheels Of Freedom, Right?

Motorcycle Laws: Two Wheels Of Freedom, Right?

The warmer weather seems to be intoxicating for Californians. There’s something about feeling the wind through your hair as you cruise down back roads and take in the views. While some are satisfied with a hand out the window or the top down, others may prefer two wheels. A beautiful day in California will bring out motorcyclist. It may be super relaxing, but it can be dangerous if you’re not careful.

Motorcyclists have to obey the same laws that other drivers need to and then some.

They have to be extra careful when riding a motorcycle because they are not protected by anything other than the clothes on their backs. When they get into an accident, they don’t have an airbags or seat belts to keep them safe.

Motorcyclists need to drive as if no one can see them.

Motorcycles are smaller than cars, which makes them easy to miss. Riders need to be aware of blind spots on other cars and semis. They also need to be aware of their own blind spots. Being aware of this allows motorcyclists to successfully lane split, which is where a motorcyclist shares the lane with another vehicle. Typically lane splitting happens when there is heavy traffic. Lane splitting isn’t allowed nationwide, but it is allowed in California as long as it is executed safely.

If you’re driving around at night you need to be cautious in general, but if you’re a motorcyclist, you need to be extra cautious. Motorcycles don’t have big lights, and they aren’t very visible at night. Motorcycles are required by California law to have brake lights and turn signals as well as a headlight. However, they still aren’t very noticeable. Motorcyclists should be aware of this, and exercise safe riding behaviors such as flashing their brake light when they are coming to a stop.

While getting your regular driver’s license is easy, obtaining your motorcycle license is a bit more complicated. California law requires everyone to participate in several motorcycle safety classes in order to get their motorcycle license. This is meant to make the roads safer for all motorists.

The California air flying through your hair is extremely freeing and relaxing. However, we still need to aware of the laws around us.


Children's Right And Child Protection

Children’s Right And Child Protection

Children's Right And Child Protection

There is something about a child’s innocence that makes us all want to instinctively protect them. Some argue that it’s the fact that they are so helpless that we feel the need to protect them. Unfortunately, not everyone feels this way about children. There are people out in the world that wish to cause children harm. Whether they knowingly are hurting children or that is not up to a judge to decide.

Children are human too. That means that they also have rights, and deserve a chance in the world.

Unfortunately, some people still choose to abuse their kids. Recently in California, a house full of children who had been severely neglected and abused by their parents was discovered. The only reason we know about these 13 kids is because one lucky 17-year-old girl escaped from her parents and called 911. The 13 siblings all ranged from ages 2 to 29 years old. This begs the question of how did this go unnoticed?

Reports of child abuse come in by the thousands. In 2015, there were four million reported cases of maltreatment involving seven million children. Approximately 683,000 of those children were considered victims of maltreatment. Looking at these numbers from 2015, it is clear to see that we have an issue when it comes to raising the next generation. Child Protective Services (CPS) visited only 12% of the reported cases where the child eventually died.

Child Protective Services is supposed to save children. They’re goal is to protect children from hostile living situations and remove them from abusive homes. When kids suffer from their living situation and can’t remain with their family, CPS steps in and rehomes the kids. The 13 kids in California somehow flew under CPS’s radar, and suffered greatly for it. To help prevent a situation like this from happening again, you can look out for signs of child abuse.

This is what CPS considers child abuse:

  • A physical injury inflicted on a child by another person other than by accidental means.
  • The sexual abuse, assault, or exploitation of a child.
  • The negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for the child’s welfare under circumstances indicating harm or threatened harm to the child’s health or welfare. This is whether the harm or threatened harm is from acts or omissions on the part of the responsible person.
  • The willful harming or endangerment of the person or health of a child, any cruel or inhumane corporal punishment, or any injury resulting in a traumatic condition.

The children we raise depend on us to help them make it to adulthood. We don’t live in prehistoric times where we have to actively fight off predators to protect our young anymore. Unfortunately, in this day and age, we have to protect the young from a different kind of harm. We have to safeguard them from predators disguised as regular people. As a society, we must guard our children because they will be the ones taking care of us in the future.


Self-Defense In California

Self-Defense In California

Self-Defense In California

In California, you can’t be found guilty of a violent crime provided you can prove that the only reason you used the violent action was in self-defense. In addition to proving that you were in danger, you’ll also have to prove that your actions were reasonable given the set of circumstances you found yourself in.

To use the self-defense argument in California you must:

  • Prove that your life was in danger, that you were about to be touched unlawfully (sexual assault,) or believed you’d be injured
  • That you truly believed the amount of force you used during the action was the only way you could protect yourself
  • That you didn’t use more force than the situation justified

California has a surprising number of situations where self-defense is a reasonable defense, including:

  • Murder/man-slaughter
  • Aggravated battery
  • Assault with a deadly weapon

You Have to Prove Reasonable Belief

The most difficult aspect of using self-defense in many cases is proving that you truly believed that you were in danger. When these cases are heard by a jury, you and your defense team have to recreate the events in such a way that the jury is virtually standing in your shoes and really gets the sense that you were in danger.

What you can’t do is use self-defense and mental illness as a defense. If a murder or violent assault took place because the defendant heard voices or suffers from a mental illness that impedes their ability to judge circumstances, they’ll need to use a different defense than self-defense.

Battered-Woman’s Defense

There’s one exception to rule about not being able to use a mental illness as self-defense, which is battered woman’s syndrome (and battered male syndrome, though it’s not as common.) To use this defense, the defendant needs to prove that they were in an abusive relationship and that they feared for their life. In these cases, California judges have been advised to consider a self-defense argument.

Putting Together a Self-Defense Case

In most cases, self-defense cases never make it into the California court system. While it’s not unusual for a person to be arrested and held for a few hours while the police collect witness statements and evidence, normally, the police officers do a good job investigating the case and are able to easily determine that you were acting in your own best interest and the charges are eventually dropped.


California’s Attitude Towards Leashes & Dogs

California’s Attitude Towards Leashes & Dogs

California’s Attitude Towards Leashes & Dogs

The issue of leashes is a sensitive subject for many dog owners. Some feel that if their dog is well trained, they shouldn’t be required to keep their dog on a leash. Other’s feel that whenever a dog isn’t on the owner’s private property, the animal should be leashed.

The State of California doesn’t have a formal opinion on the topic. Officially, the state doesn’t have any laws that state dogs have to be on a leash. However, before unclipping your leash from your dog’s collar, you need to check with the local government.

There are several county, city, and townships that do have very strict rules regarding leashes and dogs.

Violating the local rules can land you and your pet in serious trouble.

A perfect example of this is Sacramento County. They have very strict leash ordinances. The only time a dog can legally be off leash is when they have been brought to one of the county’s “off-leash” dog parks or on the owner’s property. The City of Sacramento also has its own set of leash laws.

Don’t assume that just because your dog is on a leash, that you don’t have to worry about getting into any legal trouble. Sacramento insists that the leash be a maximum of six feet long (this means that if you have your dog on an extendable leash, law enforcement officer could write a ticket) and that the dog be under control at all times.

Sacramento County uses Code 9.36.061 (d) when dealing with dog owners who let their dogs run free.

The penalty for having your dog off leash when you’re in an town or county that has leash laws depends on where you are. In most places, you, as the dog owner, will be issued a ticket and a fine. If you don’t pay the fine, the court could opt to file a bench warrant for your arrest, which means that not only will you be arrested if you’re ever stopped by the police (or get caught with your dog off-leash a second time) and have a criminal record.

If your dog bites or otherwise injures someone while they are off leash, you’ll not only be required to pay for the off-leash ticket, you will also be responsible for the injured parties medical bills and could face losing your dog forever.

If you aren’t clear about what the laws are in your county/city, it’s best to keep your pet on a leash until you speak to either a police officer or a court official who is familiar with the local laws and how they pertain to your dog.


Are You Ready To Go Camping?

Are You Ready To Go Camping?

Are You Ready To Go Camping?

It’s that time of year for family vacations. The warmer weather brings out the outdoorsy side of some people. It’s the perfect time to let those people be outdoorsy and it would be fun for you to tag along too. The trip itself can be very relaxing.

Camping can be a fun experience, you get to try a different way of living. Of course, everyone is way more comfortable in their own beds and climate controlled homes. However, camping is a chance to rough it and live with nature. You can feel at one with the world around you because there are far less distractions. Being out with nature can be a really humbling experience. It is a chance to see how far humans have come.

Camping provides us with unique, delicious meals that can only be found outdoors. There is something about the smell of a campfire, and the taste of s’mores that can make just about anyone’s heart swoon. It’s not just the s’mores that are to die for, it’s the different way of making pancakes in the morning with bacon. The campfire and nature around you seem to season the food just right.

Camping doesn’t need to just be in a tent. There are plenty of ways to experience the outdoor world. If camping in a tent seems too rough for you, you can always rent a cabin, trailer, or RV. If you want to rough it more, you can always sign up for a horseback riding camping trip where you travel on horseback for several days, and can only carry what your horse can. No matter what your style is, there are plenty of ways to get your outdoors on.

Going camping may seem daunting at first, however, it can be a lot of fun once you figure it out. Doing stuff like this is where people get the best stories to tell their friends. No one wants to talk about how they leveled up in a game, but they will talk about the time they accidentally ate a bug.

Camping is a great opportunity to step away from all the distractions and get outside to breathe some fresh air.


If You Have Plans Of Going Fishing, Be Aware Of The Laws

If You Have Plans Of Going Fishing, Be Aware Of The Laws

If You Have Plans Of Going Fishing, Be Aware Of The Laws

If you’re an outdoorsy kind of person you’re, probably itching to go outside right now. You’ve been waiting for the weather to be perfect and with summer being finally here, it’s all happening. You’re ready to grab your camping equipment, fishing gear, and food for a picnic or two. This is the opportunity to breathe in fresh air and take in the scenic views. Fishing is one of the leisure activities that you think you can just go out and do.

As simple as fishing may sound, it is a bit more complicated. You have to know what kind of fish you’re fishing for, which determines what hook, bait, and weights to use. Trying to understand just the basics of fishing is a lot to handle, yet the sport itself seems so peaceful. Aside from understanding the basics of fishing, it’s important to also know the rules and laws about fishing in California.

Knowing where you are fishing is very important in California.

The state is divided up into districts with each district having its own sets of fishing laws. For example the North Coast District consists of the waters of Trinity, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties. In the North Coast district, there is a limit of five trout per day per person.

Within each district there is one general rule: If you are 16 or older, you must have a fishing license. Anyone who is younger doesn’t need a license to fish. In order to obtain a fishing license you must bring a valid form of identification, such as your birth certificate or driver’s license, to most sporting goods stores. Fishing licenses are very flexible and can be purchased for the day or the year. Once acquired, the license needs to be with you at all times when you are fishing.

Failing to have a fishing license can earn a person a small fine.

Fishing can be a peaceful sport. It may seem overwhelming at first and you may feel out of your league, but don’t stress. It is a peaceful activity once you get the hang of it. Fishing at some of the most beautiful places in California, and enjoying the views as well, will help just about anyone relax. Your life may be crazy, but once you castaway you’ll be humming a different tune.