What Are California’s Child Abuse Laws?

What Are California’s Child Abuse Laws?

What Are California’s Child Abuse Laws?

Parenting a child isn’t an easy undertaking and isn’t something that should be stepped into lightly. Sometimes kids misbehave and need to be punished in order to learn that what they did was wrong. However, how a child is punished could get a parent into legal trouble. Most forms of corporal punishment are highly frowned upon.

Hurting a child is known as child abuse. Child abuse can come in many forms and can be severely damaging to a kids mental and physical health. This can affect how the child grows up and what kind of person he or she might become. This is why child abuse is such a big deal, and why it is illegal.

What Is Child Abuse in California?

Child abuse isn’t just a horrible thing to do to a child, it is illegal here in California under Penal Code (PC) 273d, also known as California’s corporal injury on a child law. This law makes it a criminal offense for a person to impose physical injury or cruel punishments onto a child.

Some examples of actions that could be considered child abuse can include, but are not limited to:

  • Hitting a child hard enough to leave a mark.
  • Punching or kicking a child.
  • Not feeding a child for days on end.
  • Choking a child.
  • Locking a child in a cage.

This is just a small example of what can count as child abuse. There are several other acts that can fall into this category. Basically anything that hurts a child can be considered child abuse. One of the main exceptions to this law is spanking, as long as it was for punishment and wasn’t excessive.

Is Public Shaming a Good Idea?

Finding a viral picture or video of a child who is being punished for bad behavior online isn’t all that uncommon. The act of publicly shaming a child actually became quite commonplace on the internet. The internet finds it hilarious and many parents think it is a great way to get their kid to behave in a more acceptable manner. However, that isn’t really true.

More often than not, public shaming is an overreaction. On top of that, it is, at its core, bullying. This is worse than other kinds of bullying because it comes from the parent, who is supposed to be a trusted ally of their child. Public shaming can emotionally scar a child for life and permanently damage trust between the kid and their parent.

What’s worse, is that when these incidents are posted online, it means they will never be forgotten. The internet never forgets, even if the original post is deleted. This means that the mistake the child made will follow them around for the rest of their life, making it almost impossible to move on from it.

Depending on the results of the child, a parent could even face charges of child abuse for public shaming.

In the end, there are much better ways to teach a child a lesson without destroying the relationship the parent has with the child.

Penalties of Child Abuse

Child abuse is what is known as a wobbler offense in California. This means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. How it is charged is dependent on the facts of the case and the accused’s criminal history.

When charged as a misdemeanor, a person faces:

  • Up to a year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $6,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.

When charged as a felony, a person faces:

  • 2, 4, or 6 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $6,000.
  • Felony probation.

Severe Punishments Don’t Lead to Better Behaved Kids

Child abuse is a serious offense and is not one to be taken lightly. If a person harms a child, they will face harsh legal consequences. Some people in certain professions are required by California law to report suspected victims of child abuse. These people are classified as mandated reporters. This topic is covered in more detail here.

If a parent is considering using public humiliation as a form of punishment for their child, they should think again. More often than not, that methodology of punishment only makes things worse. In some instances, the shaming has even lead to kids killing themselves. That is a guilt that no parent ever wants to have to live with.

What do you think of California’s child abuse laws? Are the consequences too much, or not enough? What are your thoughts on spanking children and public shaming? Let us know in the comments down below.

What Are California’s Laws on Fighting in Public?

What Are California’s Laws on Fighting in Public?

What Are California’s Laws on Fighting in Public?

For the most part, people are able to go about their day without much confrontation. In most instances, people would rather things go smoothly than get into a fight. Unfortunately, there are still times when fights will arise. Often times, they occur because one, or both, of the parties involved is not in their usual state of mind.

Maybe one person is having a bad day, or the other has been drinking. In those instances, the people are much easier to anger, and harder to calm down. What everyone needs to remember is that getting into a fight in public can have a lot of negative consequences. Aside from all of the physical injuries, a person could also get into legal trouble too.

Don’t Disturb the Peace

Fights are no fun, and can be very dangerous for everyone involved. This is why there are several laws against fighting here in California. If a person allows themselves to get caught up in a brawl, they could face several different charges.

The first charge that a person may face for fighting in public is under California Penal Code (PC) 415, which is the state’s disturbing the peace law. Under this law, it is illegal for a person to disturb someone else with loud music, offensive words, or by starting a fight.

A few examples of breaking this law include:

  • Pointing a speaker at a neighbor’s house and playing loud music with the intent of annoying them.
  • Using offensive words or racial slurs to provoke another individual.
  • Starting a fight with another person while in a public place.

If a person does any of these, they are guilty of disturbing the peace. PC 415 is a wobbler offense, meaning that it can be charged either as an infraction or as a misdemeanor. As an infraction, a person will likely face a small fine. As a misdemeanor, a person will face:

  • Up to 90 days in jail.
  • A max fine of $400.

Assaulting Someone Is No Good

Next on the list of crimes that a person can be charged with for fighting is PC 240, California’s simple assault law. Under this law, it is illegal for an individual to willfully, violently hurt, or attempt to violently hurt, another individual. Some examples of this can include:

  • Throwing a drink in another person’s face.
  • Throwing rocks at another individual.
  • Trying to punch someone but missing.

PC 240 is a misdemeanor offense that comes with:

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

The consequences for assault can be doubled if the victim was someone who was currently working, such as:

  • A doctor or nurse providing emergency aide.
  • A firefighter.
  • A police officer.
  • An animal control officer.
  • An EMT.

If a deadly weapon is used, such as a knife, gun, or even car, then a person will face charges under PC 245(a)(1), California’s assault with a deadly weapon law. Understandably, this law carries harsher consequences:

  • Up to 4 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.

Battery Is Even Worse

The next crimes that a person could be charged with for fighting is PC 242 or PC 243, California’s battery laws. Under these laws, it is illegal for a person to willfully use unlawful force against someone. If the person causes their victim pain, they will face charges under PC 243. If they don’t cause pain, they will face charges under PC 242.

The crime of battery differs from assault in that assault is primarily concerned with the person’s attempt to cause harm, whereas battery is concerned with the harm that was actually caused.

The penalties for PC 242, simple battery, or battery that didn’t cause harm, is a misdemeanor offense that comes with:

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

Battery that causes serious injuries on the victim is known as aggravated battery under PC 243. This is a wobbler offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case. With this offense, a person can face anywhere from 1 year in a county jail up to 4 years in a state prison.

Just like with assault, the consequences of battery increase if the victim was an on duty:

  • Animal control officer.
  • Doctor.
  • EMT.
  • Firefighter.
  • Police officer.

Don’t Start a Fight

Starting a fight is never a good idea. Not only will it leave a person with plenty of injuries, it could also get a person into some serious legal trouble. This is especially true if the victim in the incident was someone who was trying to do their job. Even if a person is having a bad day and someone is bugging them for whatever reason, the best thing to do is to take a deep breath and walk away. Doing that will have a much better outcome.

What do you think of California’s different laws surrounding fighting in public? Do you think there are enough? Do the punishments fit the crimes? Is there anything you would change? Tell us what you think in the comments down below.

What Are California’s Laws on Domestic Violence?

What Are California’s Laws on Domestic Violence?

What Are California’s Laws on Domestic Violence?

When a person is interacting with someone that they care about and love, they typically want what is best for them. After all, they love that person. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the people that someone cares about most hurts them for no good reason, and it wasn’t an accident.

Loved ones attacking and hurting one another is more than just shocking and mentally damaging, it is also illegal. This is illegal within the state of California, just like it is illegal to attack anyone.

California’s Domestic Violence Laws

There are two laws within the state of California that layout what counts as domestic violence and what kind of penalties a person will face for committing the crime. The two laws are California Penal Codes (PC) 234(e)(1) and 273.5.

PC 234(e)(1) is known as the state’s Domestic Battery Law. Under this law, it is a crime for a person to willfully and unlawfully touch a certain person in a harmful or offensive way. The type of people that are included in this are:

  • A person’s spouse or former spouse.
  • A person’s cohabitant or former cohabitant.
  • A person’s fiancé(e) or former fiancé(e).
  • A person’s significant other or ex-significant other.
  • The parent of a person’s child.

A key note for this law, is the fact that it does not matter if the victim of the incident suffers any injuries, serious or otherwise. The only requirement for this crime is that the person used force or violence against someone from the above list.

PC 273.5 is the state’s Corporal Injury to a Spouse Law. Under this law, it is illegal for a person to willfully inflict a corporal injury, serious or minor, onto anyone from the same list as above. This law is similar to the above law, but applies when the victim suffers an injury.

Examples of corporal injuries include:

  • Broken bones.
  • Bruises.
  • Cuts.
  • Scrapes.

Together, these two laws cover pretty much every act of domestic violence and determine what kind of consequences a person will face if they break the laws.

The Penalties for Domestic Violence

The consequences for domestic violence here in California vary depending on the facts of the case and the person’s criminal record. For instance, if the victim didn’t suffer any injuries, than the defendant will face lesser consequences than they would have if the victim had suffered some sort of injury.

Under PC 234(e)(1), domestic battery is a misdemeanor offense. This means that a person found guilty of this crime will face:

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

Typically, if assigned, the probation period will involve the person going to complete a 1 year batterer’s treatment program. This is simply a program to try and help teach a person to not harm their loved one’s in the future.

Sometimes, the court may decide to waive the fine and instead the convicted individual will have to pay up to $5,000 to a battered woman’s shelter and/or pay for any reasonable expenses that the victim might have had to pay as a result of the incident. This could include things such as counseling.

PC 273.5 is what is known as a wobbler offense. This means that a person accused of this crime could face either misdemeanor or felony charges. As a misdemeanor offense, a person faces:

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

As a felony offense, a person faces:

  • 2, 3, or 4 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $6,000.

If the conviction for this occurs within 7 years of other felonies, including:

  • Corporal injury of a spouse.
  • Assault/battery resulting in serious injury.
  • Assault/battery with a caustic chemical.
  • Assault with a stun gun.
  • Assault with a deadly weapon.
  • Sexual battery.
    • Then the consequences for PC 273.5 increase to:

      • Up to 1 year in county jail or 2, 4, or 5 years in a state prison.
      • A max fine of $10,000.

      Domestic Violence Is Against the Law

      Getting hurt is always awful, but it is even worse when the person causing the pain is supposed to be someone that cares about you. That is what makes domestic violence so horrible, and why it is illegal here in California. Anyone who is caught hurting someone, especially someone close to them, will have to face the consequences.

      If a person has found themselves in an abusive relationship and they are struggling to get out, they do not have to do so alone. There are places that can help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a free, professional, 24 hour service that can be reached at their website, www.thehotline.org, or by calling 1-800-799-7233. The website recommends that if a person suspects that their internet usage is being monitored, to call the hotline instead.

      What do you think of California’s domestic violence laws and their penalties? Do the laws cover everything? Do the penalties match the crime, or do they need to be changed? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

California Laws on Sexting and Revenge Porn

California Laws on Sexting and Revenge Porn

California Laws on Sexting and Revenge Porn

Image of surprised brunette woman having beautiful long hair looking at you with bulging eyes while holding cell phone in hands isolated over pink background

When two people are together in a relationship, things are bound to get intimate. Couples can get up to all sorts of things behind closed doors, and for the most part, that is okay. Most states are fine with whatever romantic things couples do to express their love for one another. Only a few states have issues with certain private matters. For instance, Virginia has a law that makes it illegal to have sex with the lights on and to use any position other than missionary. Luckily for couples, no one in their right mind enforces those particular laws.

Still there are things that could be done between two people that could get someone into trouble. For instance, if someone were to send a risqué text to the wrong person, such as a minor. Another example would be if private images of an ex were posted online out of anger over a breakup. Either of these acts could get a person into some very serious legal trouble.

California Sexting Laws

A lot of people out there like to have pictures on their phones, or other devices, of their significant other. Some people like to have images that are a little more intimate. They may even send risqué texts back and forth to one another. This kind of communication is referred to as sexting.

The act of sexting itself is not illegal. However, what is illegal engaging in any sort of sexual conduct with a minor. If a person were to accidently send a sexual message to the wrong person, they could get into very serious trouble. If a person were to purposefully engage in that sort of behavior with a minor, then things would be even worse.

Depending on what happens, a person could be charged with a few different laws:

  • Possession or Control of Matter Depicting a Minor Engaged in Sexual Conduct.
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Child.
  • Harmful Matter Sent with the Intent to Seduce a Minor.
  • Sending, Distributing, Printing, or Possessing Material Depicting Sexual Conduct by a Minor.

All of these acts come with felony charges, hefty fines ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, imprisonment in county jail or state prison for 3 years, and registering as a sexual offender.

Basically, a person needs to be careful with who they send texts to and should never send sexually explicit messages or images to a minor.

What Is Revenge Porn?

Another issue that couples can run into often arises if the couple breaks up. As mentioned above, some couples like to keep intimate photos and videos of their significant others. Sometimes, after a break up, especially a bad one, one of the people might decide to get some payback against their ex. They decide to upload those private photos or videos to the internet for other people to view. This is known as revenge porn.

Penal Code (PC) 647j4 makes this kind of thing illegal. Under this law, it is illegal for a person to take a picture or video that depicts a person, who consented at the time, in a sexual nature and then intentionally distribute those identifiable images despite the agreement that they would remain private, which causes the person in the pictures to suffer from emotional distress.

Basically, if an upset someone uploads sexual pictures of their ex-significant other, and the pictures allow someone else to identify who the picture is of, and so the person in the images suffers from that exposure, the uploader is guilty of committing revenge porn.

Under this law, revenge porn is a misdemeanor offense. It comes with:

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

The fine can be doubled to $2,000 if the person has a prior conviction of revenge porn or if the victim was a minor.

Some victims may even be able to sue the person who broke the law.

Keep Private Stuff Private

What couples do during a relationship stays between them, and for the most part, is all perfectly legal. However, there are instances where things can get messy, and get a person into trouble with the law. This is where people need to be careful and think things through.

Images sent, received, and stored on any kind of device always have a chance of getting out where people would rather they not be. If a person shares sexual photos of an ex as a way to get back at them, they will face legal consequences. The same is definitely true for anyone who engages in any sort of sexual conduct with a minor. That kind of behavior is unforgivable.

What do you think on the state’s law on revenge porn? Is it a good thing to have to help protect people after a breakup? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

What Counts as Stalking in California?

What Counts as Stalking in California?

What Counts as Stalking in California?

In healthy relationships, there is an equal amount of love and adoration from both parties involved. Unfortunately, not every relationship is a healthy one. There are a lot of one-sided relationships out there that are not good for either parties involved. What can be incredibly upsetting, and even scary, is when a person is way more into a person than that person is in to them.

In extreme cases, the person who is infatuated with the other could become a stalker. Having a stalker can be truly terrifying and can cause a person fear for their own safety. Due to this fact, the act of stalking someone is illegal here in the state of California. Anyone caught stalking another person will face legal consequences.

Stalking Explained

Being stalked by someone can be very upsetting, even traumatizing, which is why it is illegal to stalk someone in California. Penal Code (PC) 646.9 defines stalking as:

“Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking.”

That is a whole lot of legal speak that can be a bit confusing, so let’s break it down a little bit.

  • Willfully – For something to be considered stalking, a person has to willfully choose to commit the act, which means he or she did it one purpose.
  • Maliciously – Maliciously means that the person intentionally did a wrongful act with the intent of disturbing, annoying, or injuring the other person.
  • Harassment – Harassment means acting in a way that annoys, alarms, torments, or terrorizes another individual.
  • Credible Threat – A credible threat is one that the threatened individual would have reason to believe the person could carry out, and therefore causes the victim to fear for their safety, or the safety of their immediate family. The threat can be made verbally, in writing, or electronically.
  • Immediate Family – Means spouses, children, siblings, parents, grandparents, or any person who lives in the same house as the person in question.

Knowing all of that helps one understand the legal definition of stalking. . Basically, if a person knowingly bothers another individual to the point where they begin to fear for the safety of themselves or their loved ones, that person is guilty of stalking in California.

The Penalties for Stalking

Under PC 646.9, stalking is a wobbler offense. This means that anyone found guilty of the crime of stalking can face either misdemeanor or felony charges. The severity of the charges is dependent on the facts of each particular case. Stalking charges will always be charged as a felony if the accused has been charged with stalking before, even if it was a different person, or if the stalker violated a restraining order.

With misdemeanor charges, a person faces:

  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Misdemeanor probation.

With felony charges, a person faces:

  • Up to 5 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Felony probation.

On top of these charges, the victim of the stalking can also sue the stalker for damages due to the stalking. This can add up to a lot more money that the accused would have to pay.

Felony stalking charges can also negatively affect a person’s immigration status.

Everyone Just Wants to Be Safe

Everyone just wants to feel safe, and being constantly followed and harassed can be very disturbing. Being stalked can cause a person to worry all day, every day. Not just for their own safety, but for the safety of the people that they care about most. This constant worrying is bad for a person health, both mental and physical. This is why the act of stalking is illegal in California.

If a person is ever being harassed like this, they need to contact their local authorities. Doing so can get the stalker arrested and allow the person to feel safe once again.

What do you think of California’s stalking definition and law? Are the consequences of the crime fair, too much, or too little? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

Why Do These Laws Even Exist?

Why Do These Laws Even Exist?

Why Do These Laws Even Exist?

When people think about laws, they often think about things like follow the speed limit, don’t attack people, don’t trespass on other people’s property, and things of that nature. They think about how laws often make sense and exist for a reason. However, not every law is sensible. There are plenty of dumb, strange, and even bizarre laws out there.

Weird laws can be found in every country in the world, and every state in the US. California is no exception. There are plenty of laws that exist here, either at the state or city level, that leave many people scratching their heads. Why would these laws even exist, and would anyone actually get into trouble for breaking them?

California’s Odd Laws

There are plenty of laws here in California that leave people confused as to why it was even written down in the first place. Some examples of the strangest laws in the state include:

  • Women may not drive in housecoats (lightweight robes) anywhere in California. This law feels like it is from an older era where lawmakers felt they needed to protect the decency of women by controlling the clothes they wore.
  • In California, autonomous vehicles are prohibited from driving over 60 mph.This one likely came around when self-driving cars started popping up. The question is, who would they give the ticket to if an automated car was caught speeding?
  • In San Diego, anyone can be fined up to $250 for leaving their Christmas lights up past February 2nd. Some people don’t like to take down their Christmas decorations, and other people really hate it when those people leave their decorations up all year long, for some reason.
  • In Hermosa Beach, it is illegal to pour salt on a highway.Luckily snow isn’t very common there, otherwise this could be a real problem. As is, you can’t help but wonder why salt on the highway would be such a big deal.
  • In Long Beach, it is illegal to put anything other than a car in a garage.The garage was built for one thing and one thing only!
  • Peacocks have the legal right of way in Arcadia.Some lawmaker must’ve really liked peacocks. They are beautiful after all.
  • Flying a kite higher than 10 feet off the ground is illegal in Walnut.Okay little Timmy, have fun sending your kite a whopping ten feet above the ground, just out of reach of the adults. What did kites ever do to the city of Walnut?
  • It is illegal to drive in reverse in Glendale.There is no going back here, only forwards! It’s a great moto for life, but not very practical when driving.
  • Women are forbidden from wearing high heels in Carmel.Another instance of lawmakers “protecting” women. Luckily, times have changed and no one in their right mind would try to enforce this.
  • In Fresno, it is illegal to bother lizards in the park.Which lizard complained first? Was it the shifty eyed looking one? It probably was.
  • It is against the law to have more than 2 cats or dogs in San Jose.Someone wasn’t really an animal person when they created this law.
  • Anyone classified as ugly is not allowed to walk down a street in San Francisco.Now that is just plain rude.
  • In Eureka, it is illegal for men with mustaches to kiss women. Someonehere really hated mustaches and the thought of having to kiss one.
  • It is illegal for animals to mate within 1,500 feet of any school, saloon, or place of worship.Did anyone remember to tell that pair of frisky squirrels about this one? No. Great, now someone is going to have to have a talk with the kids about “wrestling.”
  • In Blythe it is illegal to wear cowboy boots unless the person owns 2 or more cows. They just wanted a person to be honest with the clothes they wear.
  • Sunshine is guaranteed to the masses. We don’t really know how the state government thought they would be able to manage this one.

No Tickets for These “Crimes”

This is just a small sample of the weird laws that exist here within the Golden State of California. There are plenty more, and that is just in one state. There are plenty of other odd and strange laws found throughout the United States. Luckily, with many of these laws, they have been forgotten or are just ignored. Most people wouldn’t take any of these seriously, not even law enforcement officers. A person doesn’t really have to worry about getting a ticket for breaking any of these laws any time soon.

What’s your favorite weird law? Do you know of any others, from California or another state that you would like to share? If so, post it in the comments down below and let the hilarity ensue.

Do You Follow Click It or Ticket?

Do You Follow Click It or Ticket?

Do You Follow Click It or Ticket?

Every driver, and even most passengers have seen signs on the road that read: click it or ticket. The campaign has been around since its founding in 1993 when it originated in North Carolina. From there, the campaign spread across the country with some states embracing it more than others. The ones that have taken up the slogan and supported it with ads have seen substantial increases in seatbelt usage.

However, over the past few decades, the slogan has become a bit stale. The warning is no longer hitting home like it used to. While some states are happy to keep repeating the same slogan over and over again, the state of Georgia decided to revamp the slogan, and they asked the general public for help.

Georgia Comes Up with New Slogans

Back in fall of 2019, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) opened up a contest for people to come up with fun driving slogans. There were five different categories and the rules were simple. The messages have to be under 63 characters and could not contain any profanities. As one can imagine, the contest got a lot of entries.

Last Thursday GDOT announced the winners of the contest. Each of the five categories got a first, second, and third place winner, with multiple categories receiving ties. Many of the winning slogans were very funny. The first place slogans for each category were:

  • General Safety –If you miss your exit it’s okay, we made more up ahead.
  • Distracted Driving – You look great but the selfie can wait. / Looking at the road is a great way to stay on it.
  • Impaired Driving – Driving half lit isn’t very bright.
  • Seat Belt – This is a sign you should buckle up. / If you don’t wear a seat belt, please be an organ donor.
  • Work Zone Safety – Look left, look right, keep workers in sight.

GDOT is planning to start posting these first place slogans, and the other finalists, on signs across the state as soon as possible.

California Seatbelt Laws

Here in California, the state still posts signs warning drivers to “click it or ticket.” Basically, if a person doesn’t wear a seat belt, they can get a ticket from law enforcement. This is enforced by Vehicle Code (VC) 27315, which states: any person 16 years or older must wear a seat belt when driving or riding as a passenger in a vehicle.

This law also makes it so that vehicle owners have to keep their seat belts in good, working order.

The penalties for driving or riding without a seat belt is a small ticket.

  • $20 base fine for a first offense.
  • $50 base fine for any subsequent offense.

In some instances, a court can order a person to go to a traffic school instead of paying a fine if it is the person’s first seat belt offense.

Another important note is that the amounts listed are just the base amounts. Court fees and fines will likely be added on to those numbers, making them more expensive.

No points are issued to a person’s driver’s license if they are accused of this crime.

A Creative Way to Ensure Safety

There is no denying that the couple decade’s old slogan of click it or ticket has grown stale. It has become so common place that some people have begun to ignore it even though wearing a seat belt can easily save a person’s life. Wearing a seat belt is very important, which is likely why the state of Georgia decided to create some new slogans to encourage people to do so.

The state even went the extra step to ensure that the slogans were interesting by having the general public create them. The idea definitely worked and the Georgia Department of Transportation was gifted with some real gems. The winners of the contest probably can’t wait to see their slogan on a road sign.

What do you think of Georgia’s slogan competition and the selected winners? Do you think the state of California should do the same thing? What about California’s seat belt law? Is it a good idea, and do the penalties for not wearing a seat belt seem fair, or do they need to be reevaluated? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

Could California Traffic Tickets Be Getting Cheaper?

Could California Traffic Tickets Be Getting Cheaper?

Could California Traffic Tickets Be Getting Cheaper?

Every driver knows that whenever they drive over the posted speed limit of a road, they risk getting a speeding ticket. This is just one of several different types of traffic citations that a person could receive for doing something they shouldn’t while driving. While the fines on these tickets may start out small, they can quickly grow out of hand thanks to court fines and fees.

In fact, the cost of these tickets can get so ridiculously high that some people simply avoid paying them. Most of the time, this is due to the fact that they simply cannot afford to pay the fine. They don’t have that kind of money lying around. In an effort to combat this, Governor Gavin Newsom is pushing for the fines to be reduced.

Why Traffic Citations Cost So Much

Last year in 2019, there were over 3.6 million traffic tickets issued to drivers all over California. The state estimates that slightly less than half of the fines were paid for. This is a huge loss of money for the state, and it shows that the average fine is too costly for most families, meaning they can’t afford to pay it.

What is interesting, is while the cost of a traffic citation has been increasing over the past few decades, most of the actual fines for the tickets haven’t changed. This is due to the fact that state officials have been adding on additional fees, fines, assessments, and surcharges to support other state programs without the need to dip into the state’s general budget. Some of the things that traffic citations help fund include:

  • Brain injury research.
  • DNA identification programs.
  • Local court costs.
  • Medical life-flight helicopters.
  • Public safety training programs.
  • Victim compensation.

This is how the base fine for speeding can range from $35 to $500 dollars and then grow even more from there.

California’s New Solution

In a surprising twist, in an effort to make more money from traffic citations, the state is looking at reducing the cost of traffic citations. By doing so, they hope to put the cost of a ticket back within range for the average driver, meaning more people will actually pay for the ticket.

The new proposal is actually an expansion of a pilot program that is already affect in four California counties:

  • San Francisco.
  • Shasta.
  • Tulare.
  • Ventura.

Under the expansion, the program would grow to be a statewide benefit for low income families.

The program focuses on helping low-income households by reducing how much a person has to pay for a traffic fine. Under the proposed expansion of the program, households that receive certain public benefits or earn up to 125% of the poverty line will receive a 50% reduction in the cost of any traffic tickets they receive. The current federal poverty line for a family of four is $25,750 a year. In the four counties where the program is already running, families that make 4 times over the poverty line still receive a 30% reduction on their traffic fines.

Should Tickets Be Lowered for Everyone?

It is hard to deny that California’s traffic fine system has become muddled and ridiculously expensive. When the base fine for failing to come to a full stop at a red light before making a right turn is $100, but most people end up paying $500 for the ticket, there is an obvious problem. There should not be $400 worth of additional fees and assessments that only exist to fund other programs.

This isn’t to say that people should get off scot-free for traffic violations, just that the penalty should fit the crime. Based off the individual laws, the penalties do fit the crimes, but then state legislators tacked on fee after fee over the years, making the cost of simple traffic violations ridiculously high. The average individual can’t afford a ticket that expensive, and $500 is one of the cheap ones.

What do you think of the idea to expand this pilot program? Should low income families be given discounted rates for traffic violations, or should everyone pay the same amount? Would the state be better off focusing on just lowering the costs of tickets for everyone across the board? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.