Strange Laws In California

Strange Laws In California

Strange Laws In California

When people think about laws, they often think about sensible rules that make sense. However, it is important to remember that laws are made by people, and this means that some real nonsense can be made into actual laws that govern the people. This is true of every country, state, and city. California is no exception.

The Golden State is home to its own bits of weirdness thanks to some odd laws. Many of these laws were created long ago, and as such, show their age. Others are a little more recent, and while it may be possible to see what the lawmaker was going for, the wording of the law isn’t quite right.

Why Are These Even Laws?

California became a state on September 9, 1850. Over the last 170 year period, a lot of laws have been enacted and removed across the state’s 160,000 square miles. Some of the laws have made sense, such as don’t steal from people and don’t kill each other. Others are a bit stranger. Some of the weirder laws that are still technically active in California include:
✽ A person can only wear cowboy boots in Blythe if they own two or more cows.
✽ A person cannot wash someone else’s car without the owner’s permission in Los Angeles.
✽ Cursing on a golf course in Long Beach is illegal.
✽ Detonating a nuclear device in Chico will result in a $500 fine.
✽ Flying a kite higher than 10 feet is illegal in the city of Walnut.
✽ Garages in San Francisco are meant for storing personal vehicles and nothing else.
✽ In California, it is illegal for women to drive cars while wearing housecoats.
✽ In San Francisco, ugly people are not allowed to walk down the street.
✽ It is illegal to drive in reverse in Glendale.
✽ It is illegal to pour salt on Hermosa Beach streets.
✽ Men and boys are not allowed to dress as women in Walnut unless it is for a play, or they receive a permit from the sheriff.
✽ Peacocks always have the right of way in Arcadia.
✽ San Diego homeowners can be fined $250 for having their Christmas lights up after February 2nd.
✽ Vehicles without drivers cannot drive over 60 mph.
✽ Visitors of Fresno city parks are prohibited from bothering lizards.
✽ Women may not wear high heels in Carmel city limits.

What Are the Penalties?

With how easily broken some of these laws can be, some people may wonder what would happen to them if they did break any of these laws. Luckily, the enforceable laws are pretty unknown by most law enforcement agents. Even if they do know about these laws, no one in their right mind would fault someone for breaking these laws.

The only law on the above list that will result in penalties, and rightfully so, is detonating a nuclear device within Chico city limits. However, the consequences for doing so will probably be more than just a $500 fine. The person will have to pay $501, at least.

These Laws Are Still in the Books

What seems to happen with a lot of these odd laws, is that they just get laughed at and forgotten. No one in this day and age is going to fine someone for wearing cowboy boots when they don’t own a cow, or arrest a woman for wearing high heels. Most of these laws are so outlandish that a person has nothing to worry about. These laws serve only as jokes at this point.

A Dog Bite Could Have Legal Ramifications

A Dog Bite Could Have Legal Ramifications

A Dog Bite Could Have Legal Ramifications

Dogs are wonderful animals. They provide unconditional love, companionship, and can even be our protectors. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of people turning their dog into an emotional support animal, which allows them to bring the animal into establishments where dogs aren’t otherwise allowed.

While the emotional support dogs help their owners navigate daily challenges, many people who rely on emotional support dogs don’t realize that if their pet bites someone, the owner could find themselves in legal trouble.

California isn’t very tolerant when it comes to dog bites. The state has something called “strict liability laws.” These laws are written in such a way that pet owners, even though with emotional support dogs, are responsible for their dog’s behavior. If the dog bites someone, the owner could face both civil and legal charges.

It doesn’t matter if your dog has a history of dangerous behavior or not. If it bites someone, you take the blame.

If your dog doesn’t have a violent history, you’ll likely only find yourself in civil court, but if you owned a dog that was already considered dangerous, prosecutors can file criminal charges against you, especially if they determine that you failed to take proper precautions.

If your emotional support dog bites someone so badly the bite victim dies, current California law states that you can face felony or misdemeanor charges. If that happens you may very well find yourself needing the help of a caring bail bonds company who will cover your bond, enabling your release and making it possible for you to fight for your pet’s future.

If you have an emotional support dog, it is in your best interest to make sure it gets a great deal of training and is properly socialized. The more work you put into the dog, the more secure your future becomes. If you even suspect your dog could become irritable and possibly bite someone it’s best to leave them at home. It’s a decision that could save yours from ever needing to contact a bail bonds company.

Drug Manufacturing Is Very Illegal in California

Drug Manufacturing Is Very Illegal in California

Drug Manufacturing Is Very Illegal in California

Drugs are defined as medicine or other substances that have physiological effects when ingested or otherwise introduced to the body. Drugs can help people feel better in all sorts of ways from fighting off bacteria to reducing inflammation. However, even the most helpful of drugs can be harmful to a person if they consume too many. This is why drugs of all types are so heavily regulated.

Some drugs can be incredibly addicting, which is why they are often outlawed altogether. Some people take advantage of this addictive quality and sell drugs to people who want more and more. Others take things a step further and begin manufacturing the drugs themselves. Needless to say, this is as illegal as selling or consuming drugs. Anyone who is caught manufacturing drugs on their own will face some harsh consequences.

What Are Controlled Substances?

Drugs that are highly addictive and illegal are classified as controlled substances. Some examples of controlled substances in California include:

  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Methamphetamines
  • PCP

California law has made the manufacturing of controlled substances, such as those listed above, illegal under Health and Safety Code (HS) 11379.6. Under this law, it is illegal for a person to manufacture, compound, convert, derive, prepare, produce, or process, either directly or indirectly, by chemical extraction or chemical synthesis any controlled substance.

In other words, a person cannot legally create a controlled substance in California, no matter what method they might use to do so.

The Consequences for Drug Manufacturing

Creating controlled substances is a very big deal and as such, a person accused of manufacturing drugs will face harsh consequences. The person will face felony charges that can come with:

  • Up to 7 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $50,000.

However, the time for imprisonment can be increased if the person produced large volumes of the controlled substance.

Another thing to consider is that drug manufacturing is considered a crime of moral turpitude. This means that the crime is considered to involve dishonesty, base, vile, or depraved conduct that is shocking to a reasonable person. Crimes that are of moral turpitude can have negative effects on a person’s immigration status.

On top of this, drug manufacturing is considered an aggravated felony, which leads to mandatory deportation.

There Is a Reason They Are Outlawed

Some drugs can be very beneficial to people, however, most controlled substances do not provide any real benefits to people who use them. Most of the drugs on the controlled substance list often ruin a person’s life rather than help it in any way. This is why these substance’s use and creation are outlawed under state law.

What Is Disorderly Conduct?

What Is Disorderly Conduct?

What Is Disorderly Conduct?

When it comes to laws, there are plenty of terms that people hear regularly. Despite that, some of the terms are a bit unclear for people. Take for instance disorderly conduct. What exactly does that term mean? What counts as disorderly conduct?

Disorderly conduct is a broad term that covers a variety of different acts that could be considered disruptive to the general public. Knowing this can help a person avoid getting into any trouble with the law.

California’s Disorderly Conduct Laws

There are a couple of different laws here in California that can fall within the category of disorderly conduct. For starters, there is Penal Code (PC) 647. This is California’s primary disorderly conduct law and covers a variety of different activities. Some other laws that can be considered disorderly conduct include:
✽ PC 404 Rioting
✽ PC 415 Disturbing the Peace
✽ PC 416 Failure to Disperse
✽ PC 602 Trespassing

For starters, PC 647 lists all of the following acts as disorderly conduct:
Lewd conduct in public. This occurs when people perform lewd or sexual acts in public.
Prostitution. This is pretty self-explanatory, but for those unaware, this occurs whenever someone pays or gets paid for a sexual act with another person.
Aggressive panhandling. Panhandling is legal, however, being very aggressive with it is not. A person cannot accost or harass another person while asking for money.
Squatting. This occurs when a person lives in another person’s home or building without permission from the owner to do so.
Public intoxication. This doesn’t mean a person can’t be drunk in public. This just means that a person cannot be so drunk that they become a threat to the safety of others and themselves.
Loitering. This occurs when someone hangs around on someone’s property with the intent of committing a crime.
Peeping. This occurs when a person is loitering on someone’s property with the intent of peeking into an inhabited building.
Invasion of privacy. This occurs when a person uses a device to peek into and/or record someone’s home, a private bathroom, or changing room.
Revenge Porn. This occurs when a person distributes pornographic images or videos of a person without his/her permission.

Under California law PC 404, rioting is defined as 2 or more people doing the following without legal permission:
✽ Using force or violence.
✽ Disturbing the peace.
✽ Threatening to use force or violence and having the means to back up that threat.

Under PC 415, disturbing the peace is defined as a person playing excessively loud music, fighting with someone, or using offensive language to start a fight.

PC 416, failure to disperse, occurs when a person assembles or gathers for the purpose of disturbing the public and then failing to leave after being ordered to do so by law enforcement agents.

Lastly, PC 602 defines trespassing here in California. Under this law, it is illegal for a person to enter or remain on someone else’s property without their permission.

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct

Anyone who commits one of the above acts is guilty of disorderly conduct and will face penalties under one of the above laws. PC 647 is a misdemeanor offense that comes with:
✽ Up to 6 months in county jail.
✽ A max fine of $1,000.
✽ Misdemeanor probation.

PC 404 is also a misdemeanor offense that comes with:
✽ Up to 1 year in county jail.
✽ A max fine of $1,000.

PC 415 is a wobbler offense that can be charged as an infraction or a misdemeanor depending on the facts of the case. The worst penalties for disturbing the peace are:
✽ Up to 90 days in county jail.
✽ A max fine of $400.

PC 416 is another misdemeanor offense that comes with:
✽ Up to 6 months in county jail.
✽ A max fine of $1,000.
✽ Paying restitutions for any damages caused by the crime.

Trespassing is usually charged as either an infraction or as a misdemeanor but can be charged as a felony in rare instances. The first time someone trespasses on a particular piece of land, they will face an infraction charge that comes with a $75 fine. A second offense on the same piece of land sees the fine increase to $250. A third, or any subsequent offense, earns a person misdemeanor charges that come with:
✽ Up to 6 months in county jail.
✽ A max fine of $1,000.
✽ Misdemeanor probation.

Trespassing can be charged as a felony when a person makes a credible threat against another individual and then within 30 days of issuing the threat is caught trespassing on the victim’s property or place of work. When this occurs, a person will face:
✽ 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
✽ A max fine of $10,000.
✽ Felony probation.

Just Be Mindful of Others

As one can see, there are plenty of different ways that a person can be accused of disorderly conduct. However, most of these acts are pretty easy to avoid. After all, it is not like a person is faced with the possibility of being in a riot every single day. As long a person is on their best behavior and doesn’t try to start fights with other people, they will be fine.

Can Marijuana Legally Be Smoked in Public?

Can Marijuana Legally Be Smoked in Public?

Can Marijuana Legally Be Smoked in Public?

Back in 2016, Californian voters chose to approve the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana. The law went into effect at the start of 2018, and so for the last two years, people have been able to enjoy marijuana recreationally. However, even though marijuana usage has been legal for 2 years, there is still a lot of confusion around the law.

Two years isn’t a lot of time in legal terms. Many of the laws that people are familiar with have been around for decades, which is why people are so familiar with them. Since the marijuana laws are so new, the general public hasn’t had enough time to get to know every single detail. This is why some people are still confused.

Where Can Marijuana Be Smoked?

One of the biggest questions people still have is where can marijuana legally be smoked and consumed now. Even though the usage of marijuana has been legalized, there are still restrictions on where it can be used. When people aren’t aware of these restrictions, they can find themselves in trouble with the law.

The laws surrounding marijuana usage are practically identical to the laws surrounding alcohol and cigarettes. A person can get a good understanding of when and where marijuana can be consumed by looking at those regulations.

Since smoking cigarettes is banned in most businesses and public areas, smoking marijuana is also banned in those areas. Just like people have a right to not be exposed to secondhand smoke from cigarettes, they also have the right to not be exposed to marijuana.

The usage of marijuana is banned on all government property, especially schools. Employers are permitted to keep their workplaces marijuana free just like they can keep them alcohol-free. They also are legally allowed to test their employees for marijuana.

Marijuana also cannot be consumed while a person is in a car, especially if they are driving. A person cannot consume or have an open container of alcohol in their vehicle, so they cannot do the same with marijuana.

The biggest thing to note about the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana is the recreational part. Primarily, a person is only allowed to consume marijuana in places where they would normally relax, such as their home or backyard.

Penalties for Using Marijuana Where It Is Prohibited

The penalties for misusing marijuana in California can vary greatly depending on where the person consumed marijuana. If a person smokes or consumes marijuana at their job, where it is banned, they may not face legal consequences, but they could be fired.

If a person is caught with marijuana on school grounds, they could be charged with a misdemeanor that comes with:
✽ Up to 6 months in jail.
✽ A max fine of $250 for a first offense.

Simply having an open container of marijuana in a vehicle can get a person charged with an infraction that comes with a fine of up to $100.

If a person is charged with DUI, then they could face:
✽ Up to 6 months in jail.
✽ A max fine of $1,000.
✽ Up to 9 months of DUI school.
✽ A 4-month driver’s license suspension.

Be Considerate of Others

It is important to remember that while the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized here in California, it is still illegal at the federal level. This means that even if a person follows all of the rules laid out in the state legislature, they could still be arrested at the federal level. Luckily, this is unlikely to happen unless a person is doing a lot of illegal things with marijuana, or they bring it onto federal property. Some common examples of federal property include airports and federal government buildings.

The recreational use of Marijuana was legalized to allow people who wanted to consume it to do so in ways that don’t bother other people. Most people do not enjoy the smell of marijuana and would prefer to not have to smell it when they are out in public. Then there is the fact that no one wants their kids exposed to marijuana.

If a person is wondering if they can have marijuana in a certain area, such as a public park, they should think about whether cigarettes or alcohol are allowed there. Most parks ban smoking, so that includes marijuana.

Laws to Know Before You Fly Your Drone

Laws to Know Before You Fly Your Drone

Laws to Know Before You Fly Your Drone

As the weather warms up and gets nicer, and people are beginning to venture outside once again, they are looking for something to do. One thing that is a lot of fun, and doesn’t create or need a crowd of people is flying a drone.

Drones give people a bird’s eye view of the area and it can be quite exhilarating to see. Whether it is someplace new, or someplace a person has lived all their life, seeing things from the air is very different from seeing things from the ground.

The thing is, a person needs to be careful when flying a drone, or else they could end up in trouble with the law. There are several laws that a drone pilot has to follow here in California, and the nation as a whole, to avoid getting into trouble with the law.

Federal Drone Laws

For starters, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all drones over 0.55 pounds, or 250 grams, be registered. All registered drones will be given an identification number that must be displayed on the drone at all times. This number will be valid for 3 years and enables the drone to be identified and linked back to the registered owner.

A person must be 13-years-old or older to register a drone in their name.

A very important law for drones applies to airports. Drones cannot be flown within a 5-mile radius of any airport. This is for safety reasons, to help prevent any aircraft from colliding with a drone. If a person wants to fly a drone within 5 miles from an airport, they need to contact air traffic control or airport management to get permission. When a person does this, they will be asked a couple of questions, such as how long they plan on flying and where they plan on flying.

If a person is flying their drone for work, then they need a special license to do so.

All drones must be flown within the line of sight of the operator.

California Drone Laws

California has some laws specifically related to drones. For starters, there is Civil Code (CC) 43.101. This law makes it so first responders are not held liable for any damages done to a drone that was interfering with their response to an emergency. An example of interference would be flying a drone near a wildfire, as doing so interferes with firefighting officials’ abilities to combat the blaze from above.

Since the drone is interfering with emergency operations, the pilot could face charges under Penal Code (PC) 402 sightseeing at an emergency situation. This is a misdemeanor offense that comes with:
✦ Up to 6 months in jail.
✦ A max fine of $1,000.
✦ Misdemeanor probation.

Since most drones these days have video cameras on them, a person also needs to be aware of privacy laws here in California and how they have been updated to include drone footage. Under CC 1708.8, a person is liable for any invasion of privacy that might occur from entering airspace without permission and capturing any footage or audio. In other words, if a drone pilot flies their drone over someone else’s backyard or any other place where a person would reasonably expect privacy and records someone, then they have broken this law

Don’t Break the Law

This is just a small sample of the laws that affect drones and their pilots. A pilot needs to be aware of these laws, and any county or city ordinances that may exist wherever they are choosing to fly their drone this summer. If a pilot fails to take the proper precautions, then they could end up doing something illegal, which could get them into trouble with the law. No drone pilot wants that, they just want to have some fun.

What Are Traffic Offenses?

What Are Traffic Offenses?

What Are Traffic Offenses?

Driving is a privilege, not a right, and as such, a driver needs to be responsible behind the wheel. One simple mistake while driving is all it takes to completely change someone’s life forever. If a driver is not careful, they could be pulled over and ticketed for a traffic offense.

Traffic offenses are something that most drivers are familiar with. Even if they have never been pulled over before, a driver still knows about traffic offenses. This broad range of laws covers everything from minor infractions such as making illegal U-turns up to more severe crimes such as Driving under the influence (DUI).

What Are Some Common Traffic Offenses?

Due to the broad range of traffic violations, getting pulled over can always be a bit concerning for drivers. Even the most well-behaved drivers fear the worst when a law enforcement vehicle is driving behind them. Luckily, if a driver is obeying all of the traffic laws, then they have nothing to worry about.

However, if a person has been pulled over, they shouldn’t panic. Most traffic offenses are only infractions. This means that if a person is charged with one of these, they will only face a small fine, around a few hundred dollars, and no possibility of jail time.

A common infraction level offense that driver’s face regularly is speeding. Speeding is made illegal under California Vehicle Code (VC) 22350. Under this law, it is illegal for a person to drive over the posted speed limit for any given road or highway.

Another fairly common infraction is making an illegal U-turn. VC 22102 makes making a U-turn in a business district, any stretch of road where 50% or more of the property along the street is occupied by businesses, illegal unless at an intersection or an opening that provides an opening for the turn.

DUI’s, on the other hand, are often charged as misdemeanors but can be charged as felonies under certain circumstances. A driver is guilty of DUI any time they drive a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All drugs are considered under this law, including marijuana and even prescription drugs.

What Are the Penalties for These Offenses?

Since traffic offenses can vary so much, the penalties for them can vary as well. They can range from a small fine, all the way up to large fines and jail time. On top of the fines and possible jail time, many offenses add points to a driver’s record, which can raise the cost of the driver’s insurance. If a driver acquires too many points within a certain amount of time, they could have their license suspended. What a person will face depends on what particular offense they were charged with.

For instance, if the person is facing a speeding ticket or a ticket for making an illegal U-turn, they will only face an infraction. This means they will face a small fine. For speeding, the fines break down as follows:
✦ $35 for speeds 1 to 15 mph over the limit but under 100 mph.
✦ $70 for speeds 16 to 25 mph over the limit but under 100 mph.
✦ $100 for speeds 26 mph over the limit but under 100 mph.
✦ $500 and a 30-day license suspension for a first-time offense driving over 100 mph.
✦ $750 and a 6-month license suspension for a second offense of driving over 100 mph within 3 years.
✦ $1,000 and a 1-year license suspension for a third offense of driving over 100 mph within 5 years.

Each time a person receives a speeding ticket, they will also receive one point on their driver’s record.

When a person is ticketed for making an illegal U-turn, they will face a fine averaging around $230 and a point on their driver’s record.

When DUI is charged as a misdemeanor, such as when it is a person’s first offense, they will face:
✦ Up to 6 months in county jail.
✦ A max fine of $1,000.
✦ Up to 9 months of DUI school.
✦ A 4-month driver’s license suspension.

When DUI is charged as a felony, a person will face:
✦ 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison.
✦ A max fine of $1,000.
✦ Up to 30 months of DUI school.
✦ A 5-year driver’s license suspension.

Follow the Rules of the Road

Nobody wants to get a traffic ticket, which is why drivers should follow the rules of the road. As long as they do that, they won’t be ticketed for any traffic offenses, then they will never have to worry about being pulled over.

If a person is getting pulled over, they should cooperate. The worst thing that a driver can do when getting pulled over is run. Running will only make the situation worse.

Don’t Leave Your Pet Behind in the Car

Don’t Leave Your Pet Behind in the Car

Don’t Leave Your Pet Behind in the Car

While summer doesn’t officially begin until June 20th, the summer heat is already starting to show up. This is one of the many reasons why people are getting so antsy to go outside again, but that is a different conversation. This warmer weather means that it is time once again to talk about the dangers and legality of leaving pets alone in cars.

As the weather warms up, sitting cars can quickly become dangerous for any living thing stuck inside of them. If someone goes out and to run errands and decides to bring their favorite furry companion along for a ride, they need to be careful. If they aren’t, they could not only cause serious harm to their pet but also face some legal trouble as well.

The Dangers of Parked Cars

Viewing parked cars as dangerous can be a bit odd, but it is valid as the weather warms up. The dangers of parked cars are with how hot they can get on the inside. Every driver has had to experience face-melting heat after returning to their vehicle that has been parked in the sun for a while.

Even if the driver was lucky enough to leave their vehicle in the shade, they will still have to deal with the heat as they sit down. The fact of the matter is that when temperatures outside start surpassing the 70 degrees Fahrenheit mark, the interiors of parked cars can easily reach over 100 degrees in just a few minutes. Cracking the windows won’t help much either.

Parked cars in warm weather can quickly create inhospitable environments that no one wants to sit in, and yet some people still think it is okay to leave an animal behind in the car will they go do some shopping.

Leaving Pets Behind Is Illegal

As it turns out, leaving an animal unattended in a hot car is illegal here in California because it is a form of animal abuse. Penal Code (PC) 597.7 makes it illegal to leave a pet unattended in a vehicle when conditions that endanger the health and safety of the animal.

It is important to note that this includes both hot and cold weather.

Another detail of this law is that it protects people who break into cars to save an animal, provided they take the right steps. For starters, before someone resorts to breaking into a vehicle to rescue an animal, they must first check that the doors are locked. Before breaking in, they must also contact emergency services and alert them to the situation.

After they have done that, the person can break into the vehicle as long as they reasonably believe that if they don’t, the animal will suffer great bodily harm, and they break only what is necessary to gain access to the vehicle. After they have retrieved the animal, they must keep it in a safe area nearby and hand it over to emergency personnel once they arrive.

The Penalties of Breaking PC 597.7

The severity of the penalties for breaking this law are dependent on whether or not the person has been convicted of this charge before, and if the animal suffered any great bodily injuries due to being left alone in the vehicle.

If the incident was a first-time offense and the animal didn’t suffer any severe injuries, then the person will face a fine of $100 per animal.

If it is a first-time offense and the animal did suffer a great bodily injury, then the person will face a misdemeanor charge that comes with:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $500.

A second offense always results in the above misdemeanor charges, regardless of whether or not the animal suffered any severe injuries.

Since people are allowed to do what is necessary to gain access to the vehicle to rescue the animal, a person may end up needing to pay for car repair as well.

Lastly, since this is a form of animal neglect, a person could also face animal abuse charges in addition to the above charges.

Leave Them at Home with the AC

Every pet owner loves to spend time with their furry companion, and taking them for a ride can be a lot of fun. However, when a person does take their pet for a ride, they should not leave their pet alone in a vehicle on a warm day. Once temperatures start rising higher than 70 degrees, the insides of cars can easily become blisteringly hot.

Leaving a pet unattended in a hot car can easily harm or kill the animal. It can also get a person into trouble for animal abuse. Neither of those situations are something that any pet owner wants to deal with. This is why it is often best to leave pets at home when running errands.

Is Blackmailing Someone Illegal in California?

Is Blackmailing Someone Illegal in California?

Is Blackmailing Someone Illegal in California?

Something that people are pretty familiar with, hopefully through television and movies, not from real-life experience, is blackmail. The trope of someone finding some secret of another person and then using it to get the victim to do whatever they say shows up a lot in fiction. Unfortunately, it is present in the real world too.

Luckily, the act of blackmailing an individual is illegal here in California. Anyone who is caught blackmailing another individual to get what they want will face legal charges. For committing the act, a person will face harsh consequences.

What Is Extortion

The act of extortion, more commonly known as blackmail, is defined under Penal Code (PC) 518 as using force or threat to compel another individual to give money or property or to compel a public official to perform an official act. Some examples of extortion can include, but are not limited to:

  • Threatening to release compromising images of another individual unless they agree to pay a certain amount of money.
  • Threatening to harm a person’s loved ones unless they give them a certain item.
  • Threatening to expose a public official’s affair unless they support a certain project.
  • A public official threatening to permit a certain project unless a person pays them off.

The list could easily go on, but this provides an idea of what can count as extortion here in California. Any time a person:

  • Threatens to use force against another individual,
  • Threatened to accuse the other person of a crime,
  • Or, threatened to expose a secret,

And the victim then hands over or does whatever the person wanted, then the person is guilty of extortion.

If a person does the same thing but does so through a letter they can be guilty of extortion by threatening letter under PC 523. This is pretty much the same thing as regular extortion, except in this instance the victim does not have to hand over or do whatever they were extorted for in order for the person to be considered guilty.

PC 522 defines the crime of extortion of a signature, which is using extortion to get the victim to sign a document. Again, in this instance it doesn’t matter if the victim signed the document. All that matters is that the person tried to extort the signature.

Penalties for Extortion

Extortion is a very serious offense and as such, the crime is always charged as a felony. Under PC 518, the penalties for extortion can come with:

  • 2, 3, or 4 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.

If the victim of the extortion was a dependent or a senior, then the person can face even harsher consequences.

If the extortion was related to gang activity, it could count under California’s Three Strikes Law.

If someone attempted to commit extortion, but the victim didn’t give in to the demands, then the person can be charged with attempted extortion. This is a wobbler offense in California, meaning that it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. As a misdemeanor, the crime comes with:

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

As a felony, attempted extortion comes with:

  • 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000.
  • Felony probation.

No One Wants to Be Blackmailed

Being blackmailed is not something that anyone wants to have to deal with. It can create a lot of stress and worry for the victim. Plus, when it involves public officials, it can affect a whole lot of people. This is why extortion is illegal and comes with very serious felony charges. Anyone caught blackmailing person, or even attempting to blackmail someone, will likely find themselves locked behind bars for several years.

What Happens if You Wrongfully Park in a Handicapped Spot?

What Happens if You Wrongfully Park in a Handicapped Spot?

What Happens if You Wrongfully Park in a Handicapped Spot?

Having a disability can make tasks that most people take for granted difficult to complete. To make things easier for people with disabilities, several laws and practices have been adopted here in California, and the rest of the nation at large. This includes things such as automatic doors, ramps instead of steps, and even specialized parking spots.

Disabled, or handicap, parking spots can be found in most parking lots. These spaces are often located close to the building or near an elevator. This is meant to help provide a person with a disability better access to their intended destination.

Since these spots are located in such desirable locations, or can regularly be found empty, some people decide to use them even though they are not disabled themselves. They don’t see it as a big deal, which is why they are often surprised by the consequences of wrongfully parking in a handicap spot.

Disabled Parking Spots

Disabled parking spots are easy to spot thanks to their blue paint and the symbol of a person in a wheelchair. In parking lots, the spaces will also have a section beside them that is marked off by diagonal white lines. These spots are not for parking but are intended to provide room for the disabled person to get in and out of their car.

Other places where vehicles with disabled passengers can park include:

  • Along blue curbs.
  • Street-metered spaces free of charge.
  • On public streets where parking is typically reserved for residents and business customers.
  • Along green curbs without a time limit.

To legally park in one of these spots, a person has to have a handicapped placard or license plate.

Misusing Handicapped Parking Spots

If a person doesn’t have a handicapped placard or license plate or misuses a handicapped placard, they can find themselves in trouble. For starters, if a person parks in a handicapped without a placard or license plate, then they can expect to have their vehicle towed and impounded.

Typically, when someone parks where they shouldn’t, officers will just stick a ticket to the windshield of the vehicle. However, since there are only a limited number of handicapped spots in an area, and they can be needed at any moment, officers will have offending vehicles towed to open up the spot. This means a person will then have to pay to get their vehicle out of impound, which can easily cost a few thousand dollars.

Misusing a disabled placard or license plate is illegal here in California under Vehicle Code (VC) 4461. Instances that count as misuse include:

  • Using disabled placards or plates.
  • Using someone else’s placard.
  • Using an invalid placard or plate.

The only time a non-disabled person is allowed to use a disabled person’s placard or plates to park in a handicapped spot is when they are driving the disabled person somewhere. If a person is borrowing a handicapped driver’s car, they cannot park in a handicapped spot even though the car has valid plates. This is because the disabled person is not there with them. Handicapped placards and plates are only valid with the person they are assigned to.

Penalties for Wrongfully Parking in a Handicapped Spot

VC 4461 is a wobbler offense that can be charged as either an infraction or as a misdemeanor. How the offense is charged is dependent on the severity of the incident and the person’s record. For instance, if they have done this sort of thing multiple times in the past, they are more likely to be charged with a misdemeanor.

When charged as an infraction, a person will face a fine between $250 and $1,000 with no possibility of jail time.

When charged as a misdemeanor, a person will face:

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

Regardless of how the offense is charged, the court can add a fine of $1,500. The local city can also add on a $100 fine.

If You Don’t Need the Spot, Park Somewhere Else

Sometimes it can be easy for people to forget how great they’ve got it. Sure everyone wants to park close to their destination, but that isn’t always possible. Most people are fortunate enough that they can walk a far distance. Some people aren’t so lucky.

Handicapped parking spots exist for an important reason: to make things easy for people with disabilities. When a person parks in these spots and doesn’t have a disability, they are preventing that spot from being used by someone who needs it. This is why it is illegal for a person to wrongfully park in a handicapped parking spot.