Is It Really Illegal to Pick Poppies in California?

Is It Really Illegal to Pick Poppies in California?

Is It Really Illegal to Pick Poppies in California?

California has had a surprisingly wet winter and spring, helping bring much needed water to the entire state. While people are rejoicing over this fact, the wildlife in the state is ecstatic. Plant life especially is taking advantage of this rare, water filled season. The entire state is blooming with life.

Flowers are blooming all over the state, and especially so in the deserted areas of Southern California. Beautiful California Poppies are spring up everywhere and painting hillsides with their vibrant orange color. Places like the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve are popping with colors and butterflies are filling the skies. For years, Californians have spread the rumor that it is illegal to pick poppies in the state, however, that isn’t quite the case.

The Rains Bring Life

California has been in a state of drought for several years now, which has caused all sorts of problems for people and wildlife alike. This has included things such as water shortages and wildfires. However, over the past few months, the state has gotten a much needed drink of fresh water.

Even in the drier, southern half of the state, the rains have been plentiful. So much so, that the desert hills and fields are green and mixed with vibrant patches of purples, oranges, and yellows. The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is seeing spectacular blooms already, and is expecting the blooms to increase through to April.

While the wildflowers alone are spectacular, and just in time for spring, they did not come alone. The increase in vegetation has attracted winged bugs, and a lot of them. Painted Lady Butterflies are currently filling the skies in Southern California as they migrate north. Thousands upon thousands of these primarily orange butterflies with black wing tips and white spots are fluttering through the skies, enjoying the fresh food available to them. Experts are saying that this is the biggest migration the state has seen since 2005.

A giant migration of bugs may sound like a bad thing, these butterflies, and their caterpillar young, actually don’t cause much harm to commercial crops, meaning people can just enjoy the butterflies while they are here, before they move further north.

Are Poppies Off Limits?

Pretty much every Californian has heard that it is illegal to pick Poppies in the state. This is largely due to the fact that the California Poppy is the state flower, and is perceived to be off limits to all. However, that is not entirely the case.

California Penal Code (PC) 384a is most likely the cause of this urban legend, even though it does not expressly mention poppies. PC 384a states, in the simplest of terms, that it is illegal for an individual to pick, harm, or destroy any plant life that is on property that they do not own, or do not have permission to do so. This law basically makes it illegal to vandalize someone else’s plants.

Under this law, it can be illegal to pick poppies, if they are on land not owned by the picker. However, if the picker owns the land, or has permission to pick the poppies from the land’s owner, then they can pick the flowers.

If a person is caught breaking this law, they will face misdemeanor charges. This means they can face:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.
  • Some combination of fine and jail time.

Those are some pretty hefty fines for a crime that could basically amount to flower picking.

Just Enjoy the Show

While Californians are out enjoying the beautiful blooms and plentiful butterflies, they should keep this law in mind. After all, they don’t want to end up in trouble with the law because they picked a few flowers off the side of the road. Besides, many flowers like poppies won’t last long after being picked, so it is best to leave them where they are. Besides, that way everyone can enjoy them.

Are you enjoying this year’s super bloom and butterfly migration? If so, tell us all about it the comments below. Maybe even share a pic or two and let others join in on the fun.

Did You Miss Jury Duty? Or Is It a Scam?

Did You Miss Jury Duty? Or Is It a Scam?

Did You Miss Jury Duty? Or Is It a Scam?

In today’s modern world, communication has never been easier. The internet and smartphones allow people to get in contact with one another in seconds. This means that people can always keep up to date with everything that is going on with their friends and family members. Unfortunately, this constant connectivity has some drawbacks as well.

For instance, being able to connect with anybody means that anybody can connect with you. It has never been easier for scammers to get in touch with their intended victims. The Los Angeles County Sheriffs have issued warning for more potential scams that people need to be aware of. In these latest scams, the caller pretends to be an LA County Sheriff and convince the victim that they have done something wrong when they really haven’t.

Scammers Want to Cause Panic

When it comes to scamming people, no matter the crime, the crooks always strive for the same goal. Ultimately, the scammer wants to get their target as stressed out and panicked as possible. By doing this, the scammer reduces the chances of the victim making any good decisions. This means the victim will be more likely to just hand over money or personal, private information without thinking twice.

This tactic is likely almost as old as the practice of scamming itself. This is why it is always important for a person to keep a level head, especially when someone else is possibly demanding money or private information.

You “Missed” Jury Duty

The two latest scams that scammers are using cause panic by making the person think they did something wrong, and are therefore in big trouble, despite the fact that they haven’t done anything wrong. The scamers do this by pretending to be local law enforcement agencies contacting people over missed jury duty, or are simply requesting a callback.

For the jury duty scam, a person will call claiming to be a law enforcement officer and will tell the victim that they missed jury duty summons. They will then demand a payment over the phone or else a warrant will be issued for an arrest of the victim.

The thing is, no law enforcement agency will ever call a person over a missed jury duty summons. Law enforcement agencies will also never take payments over the phone, no matter the reason. Knowing these two facts makes identifying this scam, or any like, very easy.

They “Need to Talk to You”

The other scam, usually involves a person being left a message on their phone stating that a law enforcement agency tried to contact them and that the person should call back at a specified number. If the person calls that number, they will likely be greeted by an automated voice menu, which will sound very professional and eventually direct them to a live person.

From there, the person on the other end will ask either for a payment, probably to avoid a warrant being issued, or ask for private/personal information to “verify” that the victim is the person they intended to reach. If the person gives them any information, they have essentially handed their identity over to the scammer in question.

The best way to avoid this scam, is only call back on verified law enforcement agency phone numbers. These numbers can easily be found on the respective agency’s website. Also, remember that law enforcement agencies never collect money over the phone.

Report it to the Authorities

Having all of this connectivity with the rest of the world is great, until people with bad intentions get in touch. A scammer can strike at any time, and people need to be vigilant if they want to avoid getting conned. The best thing for a person to do if they think they are being scammed, is to remain calm. They shouldn’t let the scammer stress them out. That will only lead to them making bad decisions. By staying calm, the person should be able to see through the smoke and mirrors of the scam and avoid giving away anything that is rightfully theirs.

If a person has been scammed, or someone tried to scam them, they should report the incident to the proper authorities. Doing so can help the authorities track the scammer down and prevent him or her from running anymore scams. That helps everyone out.

Will California Make it Easier to Get a DUI?

Will California Make it Easier to Get a DUI?

Will California Make it Easier to Get a DUI?

Most people are aware of the fact that driving while drunk is a very bad thing to do. Driving under the influence (DUI) is an incredibly risky and dangerous act, not just for the driver, but everyone else they pass on the road. This is due to the fact that alcohol impairs a person’s abilities and thoughts, making them unfit to drive any sort of vehicle.

Despite knowing this fact, many drivers out there still break this law every single day. These drivers convince themselves that they are fine to drive, and that they aren’t that drunk. They drive off to wherever, and that’s where things go wrong.

There are laws against drunk driving in every single state in the Union in order to keep people safe. The laws here in California may just become a bit stricter thanks to a proposed bill currently going through the California State Assembly.

Current DUI Laws in California

The laws against drunk driving here in California are pretty straightforward and mesh with the laws in most other states. Anyone who is caught driving a motor vehicle, whether it be a car, truck, or boat, with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater is guilty of committing DUI under state law.

For the most part, DUI in California is charged as a misdemeanor offense, unless someone was injured as a result of the crime. A first time DUI offense earns a driver:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • 4 month driver’s license suspension.
  • Up to 9 months of DUI School.

Subsequent offenses earn a driver more jail time, longer license suspensions, and more required DUI School. After a driver receives four DUI’s, or injures someone due to their recklessness, they will be charged with felony DUI. This comes with much heftier consequences, including:

  • A state prison stay ranging from 16 months to 16 years.
  • A max fine of $5,000, plus any owed restitutions to victims.
  • A driver’s license suspension ranging from 1 to 5 years.
  • 18 to 30 months of DUI School.

The exact consequences of felony DUI are dependent on the circumstances of the crime in question, mainly if another person was injured or not.

California Assembly Bill 1713

Recently, California lawmakers in the State Assembly began considering Assembly Bill (AB) 1713. This new bill seeks to tighten restrictions on drunk driving by lowering the legal BAC in California. At first, this bill seeks to make it more legal for those who have been drinking to drive, it actually does the opposite.

By lowering the BAC from .08% to .05%, as the bill proposes, less alcohol would be required to be in a person’s blood for them to be considered drunk while driving. Many people across the state are in favor of this because they feel that having the standard at .08% is too high, and far too many drivers get away with driving while drunk because they didn’t reach that threshold.

This new proposed standard may seem extreme, but it is important to remember that commercial drivers, taxi drivers, truckers, and bus drivers, are all held to this standard already here in California. This proposed bill would be relatively new ground, since only one other state in the country has lowered the BAC of DUI’s, that state being Utah.

Don’t Drive While Drunk

Driving while drunk is never a good idea. It puts the driver’s own life at risk, as well as everyone else’s. While intoxicated, a person’s brain is not up to the task of controlling a motor vehicle. They have slower reaction times, less control over their body, and therefore are more likely to get into an accident.

With today’s modern technology, there is no reason to drive drunk. Anyone with a smartphone in their pocket can easily call a friend or family member to come pick them up, or better yet, hire a driver to come get them. With taxis, Lyft, and Uber, getting a ride home has never been easier.

What do you think of this proposed bill? Should California go through with lowering the BAC of DUI’s, or should the limit be left where it is at .08%? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

Is Parking in Front of a Hydrant a Good Idea?

Is Parking in Front of a Hydrant a Good Idea?

Is Parking in Front of a Hydrant a Good Idea?

When a person is driving in a city or heavily populated area, they know that finding a parking spot is probably going to be difficult. After all, there are a lot of people in cities, all of whom are trying to find a spot close to their destination to minimize any walk time. This process can be made even more difficult thanks to all sorts of signs, meters, and rules regarding parking.

Often times, cites have signage up that instructs drivers on when they can park in certain areas. These signs can often be a bit confusing to some drivers, but can easily be understood after some quick consideration. Other rules are much more straightforward, such as never park on a red curb. At least, that is what most people would think. Some drivers don’t pay attention to this simple rule, and end up paying the price.

California’s Color Coordinated Curbs

Parking is such a simple act. All a driver is doing is bringing their car to a stop in a safe, designated area. However, here in California, there are a lot of rules and restrictions on where a person can park their car. A driver cannot just leave their vehicle wherever they feel like, whenever they want.

A driver can come across several different colored curbs while driving, and each one tells a driver a different rule. Some examples includes:

  • Blue: Parking is reserved for vehicles of handicapped people only.
  • Green: Vehicles can only be parked for a limited amount of time.
  • Red: No parking or stopping in front of this curb.
  • White: Cars can only stop long enough to pick up or drop off someone.
  • Yellow: Cars can only stop long enough to pick up or drop off cargo and the driver needs to stay with the vehicle.

These color codes are very basic and simple to understand, and still some drivers struggle with them. If they do not follow these rules, then they can find themselves getting a ticket.

Parking in Front of a Fire Hydrant

One of the biggest no-no’s when it comes to parking, is parking in front of a fire hydrant. With every fire hydrant, fifteen feet in either direction, the curb is usually painted red. This is done to allow fire fighters to have access to the hydrant in case of an emergency. They need all of that space to do their job properly. Intruding on that space can be the difference between someone losing their home.

Parking in front of a hydrant may seem harmless, since how often do fires really break out? However, structure fires break out pretty frequently, and fire fighters will do whatever they need to in order to put the blaze out. Often times this means breaking the vehicles windows so the fire hose can run through it. There are plenty of images of this happening online when some dumb driver decided to park in front of a hydrant.

Not only does this mean the person has to pay for repairs on their vehicle, they can count on their vehicle being impounded and receiving a ticket from local law enforcement. This means that a person who parks in front of a fire hydrant will have a lot of expenses to deal with, which will add up quickly.

Don’t Park in Front of Hydrants

Having brightly painted curbs is a quick and easy way to alert drivers to where they can and cannot park, provided the driver pays attention. Of course, paint fades over time, and some hydrants may not be marked as no parking areas, however, that does not mean that a person can park in front of the hydrant.

Even if the open spot in front of a hydrant is close, it simply isn’t worth it to park there. A good rule of thumb is to never park in front of a hydrant, and keep a car length of distance between a vehicle and a hydrant. That will ensure that the car is never too close to a hydrant. A driver just needs to keep an eye out, or else they could wind up dealing with some costly consequences.