Parking your RV in California

Parking your RV in California

Parking your RV in California

RVs are great. They’re big enough to hold everything you need while you travel, they eliminate the stress that goes hand-in-hand with having to figure out where you’re going to stay and eat while you’re vacationing. They allow you to stay at places such as national and state parks overnight and for extended periods of time. Some people find that they enjoy their RV so much, they sell their house and take up full-time residence in the RV.

What some RV owners don’t realize is that California has laws in place that prohibit them from parking the RV anywhere they feel like.

Parking your RV in one of California’s Rest Stops

The good news is that California’s rest stops are one of the places that you can park your RV. The bad news is that you can’t use these rest areas for long term camping. Your RV is allowed to be in the rest area for 8 hours. It’s long enough for you to get a decent amount of sleep, enjoy a short picnic, and take a break from the road. Once the 8 hours are up, you’ll have to move on.

Parking your RV on the Side of a Public Street

Parking RVs on the side of the streets is a touchy subject. Obviously, if you break down, it’s better to pull over than to drive under unsafe conditions, but that’s a temporary situation. Leaving an RV on the side of the road for more than a few hours can create a great deal of discord.

There are some neighborhoods that might allow you to park your RV along the side of the road. One the other hand, there are several that don’t, this is especially true in areas that have an active homeowners’ association. The problem with having RVs parked on the side of the road is that it blocks the homeowner’s view and it can make things difficult for people driving their car on the street. The general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t park your RV on the side of the street unless it’s an absolute last resort, and even then it should only be for a limited time.

Most cities prohibit RV parking on streets, alleys, and city parking lots from the hours of 10 pm through 6 am.

In Parking Lots

Over the past few years, an interesting trend has developed. An increasing number of RV enthusiasts have taken to parking their RV in store parking lots. Walmart is a particularly attractive choice. While some stores will allow you to do this, others don’t. You’ll want to check with the store manager before settling in the night.

Where you can Park Your RV in California

The great thing about taking an RV through California is that the state has set things up so that it’s easy to find a legal and safe place to park your RV. There are several areas scattered throughout the state that are designated RV camping places. Many even include electrical hookups, though you’ll likely have to pay a small amount for the amenities.

Attending School During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Attending School During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Attending School During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Never before have so many parents been confused about how their child’s education will take place during the upcoming school year. Concern about COVID-19 spreading through the schools has caused a great deal of confusion regarding how education will work during the 2020/2021 school year.

The Governor’s Thoughts About School This Year

One of the things making this school year so difficult is that California’s lawmakers seem to second guess themselves every single day. One day the governor announces that schools won’t open and all schooling will be done virtually. A few weeks later, an elementary school opens its doors and stars welcoming students.

The problem this poses for parents is figuring out how they’ll help their child get the education they need this year. Many aren’t even sure if the government has a plan in place to make sure that no child is left behind this school year.

The best thing parents can do is pay attention to any formal information their child’s school is passing on. As of right now, the governor has decreed that most of the schools will be going exclusively to virtual learning. There are some exceptions. Some schools have been issued waivers that allow them to open, provided they have measures in place to keep kids healthy this school year. Safety measures the schools who have received waivers are taking include:

✦ Taking student’s temperature
✦ Requiring everyone to wear masks
✦ Creating a plan to make sure students practice safe social distancing

It’s estimated that about 94% of all California’s school-aged children will be attending school virtually. Since many parents are new to virtual learning, they can’t help wondering how the school and state’s lawmakers will enforce virtual learning.

Laws to Make Sure Students Get Educated Via Virtual Learning

Both California lawmakers and educators are working hard to figure out how to ensure students are learning via virtual learning methods. They realize that some students are going to struggle with the new system. In June, lawmakers approved budget measures that enable the schools to create programs that are geared towards special needs students that will provide them with the unique tools and learning experiences they need to gain the knowledge they would have picked up in the classroom. Schools are also supposed to use the funds to create plans for any disasters that might force the school to close for 10 or more days.

The issue of truancy hasn’t been formally addressed at this time, though now that California’s school year has begun, it will likely be discussed soon. The state will likely leave it up to each school to create its own system to make sure students are attending virtual classes. If the student isn’t keeping up on their classwork or logging into the virtual learning program, the school will likely contact the local truancy officer who will launch an investigation.

Decoding the Difference Between a Domestic Violence Restraining Order an a Civil Harassment Restraining Order

Decoding the Difference Between a Domestic Violence Restraining Order an a Civil Harassment Restraining Order

Decoding the Difference Between a Domestic Violence Restraining Order an a Civil Harassment Restraining Order

Feeling threatened and worrying about your physical/mental safety is an incredibly frightening and stressful situation. The one bright spot is that California’s lawmakers fully understand just how much danger you are in. Laws and protective orders are in place, each one is designed to keep you safe.

When you go to the police because you’re afraid of someone it’s important to understand that there is a difference between civil harassment and domestic violence.

Contrary to popular belief, in the eyes of the law, domestic violence is not a subcategory crime that’s connected to civil harassment.

The Difference Between Domestic Violence and Civil Harassment

The biggest difference between a domestic violence case and a civil harassment case is your relationship with the person you’re filing the restraining order against. If the person you’re afraid of is someone you have a relationship with, the case is a domestic violence case. The law considers a relationship close if the restraining order is filed against a parent, sibling, child, grandparent, lover, spouse. The idea of the domestic violence restraining order is that the close relationship you’ve shared with the person increases the amount of danger you’re in.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with the person you’re naming in the restraining order, you’re dealing with a civil harassment situation. In many cases, the other party mentioned in the restraining order is a co-worker, neighbor, friend of a friend, social media follower, or a member of political/social party who has taken a personal and nasty dislike to your lifestyle/actions/viewpoints.

Getting a Restraining Order

It is far easier to request and obtain a domestic violence restraining order than it is a civil harassment restraining order. Police, prosecutors, and judges understand just how quickly domestic situations can turn deadly and are quick to issue a restraining order against one of your loved ones.

When you petition the court for a domestic violence restraining order, you need evidence of abuse (medical records, witness statements, written threats, police reports.)

Getting a civil harassment restraining order is much more complicated. The biggest challenge is establishing that the harassment has reached a point where you feel threatened. The court won’t accept that the person you want to be named in the restraining order is simply verbally harassing you. You’re going o have to submit some sort of proof that they are having a detrimental impact on your life. Getting this proof isn’t always easy. In the case of a civil harassment restraining order, you’ll likely need video, phone, witness, or written evidence. Strong witness statements, particularly by people who aren’t closely connected to you, will also help you obtain the civil harassment lawsuit.

The most important thing to remember when appealing for either a domestic violence or civil harassment restraining order is that you must have proof that you are worried about your safety. The more evidence you have, the quicker the court will grant your request.

Understanding a Motion to Suppress Evidence

Understanding a Motion to Suppress Evidence

Understanding a Motion to Suppress Evidence

Lawyers talk fast and much of what they are saying is often confusing. That’s fine when you’re watching a legal drama on television, but when you’re directly involved in the case, you want to know exactly what your lawyer is talking about and how it impacts your upcoming trial.

One of the phrases that is frequently thrown around in the months leading up to your trial is the “motion to suppress evidence.”

What Does Motion to Motion to Suppress Evidence Mean

The lawyers in legal dramas frequently make a “motion to suppress evidence” right in the middle of the court case. The statement always triggers a great deal of drama and is often a plot point. That’s not how real-life works.

In the real world, your layer will look at the evidence the police have collected. If they decide that something is irrelevant they file a motion to suppress evidence before your case makes it to the formal trial.

Your lawyer files the motion but it is up to the judge to decide if they will grant the appeal.

Why Evidence is Suppressed?

There are a variety of reasons why a lawyer will file a motion to suppress evidence, including:

✦ The police were delayed when reading you Miranda Rights (this is common when the police are attempting to use something you said as evidence in the case)
✦ Evidence was seized without a valid warrant
✦ The proper chain of custody was broken
✦ Physical force or coercion was used to obtain the evidence/statement
✦ Your lawyer and the judge considers the evidence unreliable
✦ The evidence isn’t relevant to your current case

While the process of getting evidence repressed isn’t as exciting as it is in legal dramas, having the motion granted can have a huge impact on your case, particularly if the evidence was a key component in the case the prosecutor is building against you. In some situations, getting the judge to grant a motion to suppress evidence prompted the prosecutor to completely drop the charges.

Most people assume that the motion to suppress evidence only comes up in big cases that involve headline-grabbing crimes like murder, but that’s not the case. There have been many times when a good defense lawyer was able to get evidence suppressed in routine DUI cases. A perfect example of this is when the police lab made a mistake while handling blood tests that were taken on the scene. If the lab didn’t handle the blood properly or if they failed to test for legal drugs that could have impacted the blood test results, lawyers can ask for the test results to be suppressed.

Getting evidence suppressed is why it is so important to have a good and experienced lawyer on your side.

What Happens If You Take Prescription Drugs without a Prescription?

What Happens If You Take Prescription Drugs without a Prescription?

What Happens If You Take Prescription Drugs without a Prescription?

Most of us have done it. We’ve had a splitting headache or strained something. When an over the counter medication doesn’t seem to touch the pain, rather than going to the doctor, we usually scrounge in our medicine cabinet until we find some old prescription pain medication. If we don’t find anything in our own cupboard, we often ask a friend or family member for something.

Most of us don’t give this type of thing a second thought even though we’re technically breaking the law.

The good news is that most of us only do this once, maybe twice in our lives. If the pain persists, we usually got ourselves to the doctor who checks us out, diagnosis the problem, and writes a prescription for pain killers. Just like that, our little stint on the wrong side of the law is forgotten.

While people seldom get caught taking a prescription drug without a prescription, you should know that doing so has the potential to create all kinds of legal problems for you.

The first thing to consider is drug testing. An increasing number of employers have made random drug tests mandatory. If you take a prescription drug that you don’t have a prescription for it could show up in your drug test. This could result in your losing your job, and depending on who you work for, they could even turn you into the police.

The reason there is a zero-tolerance policy for taking any type of prescription drug without a prescription dates back to the opioid epidemic. The high volume of people who became addicted to opioids triggered new laws that led to a tight crackdown on who is issued a prescription for pain killers, how many prescription drugs are prescribed, and how high a dose a person can take.

Don’t assume that just because you were issued a prescription for the drugs that you’re free to take them years later. You’re not. Unless you have a new prescription, you’re no longer allowed to take those drugs.

Even if you haven’t actually taken the prescription drugs that weren’t actually prescribed to you but are caught with them on you, for example, when you’re pulled over for a traffic infraction, drug charges could be filed against you. The only exception is if you’re transporting the prescription from the pharmacy for someone, in which case, the drugs should still be sealed in the pharmacy packaging and you should have proof in the form of a receipt that you were in the authorized pickup person.

If you feel you need a prescription drug to manage your pain, it is in your best interest to visit your doctor and have them officially prescribe the medication you need.

Disposing of Unused Prescription Drugs in California

Disposing of Unused Prescription Drugs in California

Disposing of Unused Prescription Drugs in California

Not only is having unused prescription drugs in your house a hassle, after all, they take up a remarkable amount of space in your medicine cabinet, they can also be a legal concern. According to the law, you’re not supposed to have any prescription drugs in your house that aren’t currently prescribed to you, which includes outdated drugs and prescriptions that included a specific end date. There is also a constant concern that someone you know could take the drugs and sell them, making you an unwitting participant in an illegal drug deal.

The problem with unwanted prescription drugs is that disposing of them isn’t as easy as it should be. Environmental concerns means that flushing them down the toilet or drain is no longer a good idea. You can’t simply through them in the trash. What options are left?

The best course of action is returning the unwanted prescriptions to the pharmacies and letting them figure out what to do with them. But even this isn’t a simple process, especially since some pharmacies don’t accept unwanted prescription drugs.

The first thing you can do is contact your pharmacy and see if they’ll take the outdated prescriptions. Make sure you tell them what the medication is, when it expired, and who it was originally prescribed to.

If your pharmacy turns you down, contact your local police station and explain your predicament. The first thing this does is alert them that you’re trying to dispose of the medication which should give you a defense should you get pulled over while transporting the outdated medication. The second problem this accomplishes is that the person you speak to should be able to provide you with fairly detailed information about how prescription drug disposal works in your area. It’s possible that there is a mail-in program or that a local hospital, medical office, or pharmacy is participating in California’s Hospital Medical Waste Recycle Program, which was created in relation to Senate Bill 212.

When you’re disposing of unwanted prescription pills it is in your best interest to keep the medication in the original prescription bottle. Don’t combine different medications. If the prescription bottle is cracked or damaged, put it in a plastic baggie and consult a person who is involved in the prescription drug dispersal program on how to proceed.

The sooner you dispose of your unwanted prescription drugs the sooner you can relax and stop worrying about what could happen if a house guest starts rummaging through your medicine cabinet.

Yellow Traffic Lights in California

Yellow Traffic Lights in California

Yellow Traffic Lights in California

On paper, it’s a simply concept. When you see a flashing yellow traffic light it means you have the right of way, but that you should stay alert and use caution while going through an intersection. A solid yellow light means that the light is about to change to red and you should plan on stopping. That’s the idea but we all know drivers who seem to think that the solid yellow light is a challenge. Instead of slowing down, they mash the accelerator to the floor and barrel through the intersection, often just as the light changes from yellow to green.

The Risk of Trying to Beat the Red

No one likes to wait at stop lights. It’s easy to understand the desire to want to beat the red light, but it’s important to understand just how deadly this desire is. During 2017, 927 of California’s traffic accident fatalities were caused by someone trying to beat a red light. Each of those deaths could have been prevented.

The Legalities of Rushing a Yellow Light

Remember back when you were taking driver’s training and your instructor advised you to slow down for yellow lights. That’s not just good advice. It’s the law. When you take the time to read through the California Vehicle Code Section 21453, you’ll discover that the state considers it the driver’s responsibility to slow down up a yellow light, to come to a stop at the line in for the red.”

What does that mean?
The only time you’re technically allowed to go through a yellow light is when the light changes after you’ve passed the point of no return. That point happens when even if you slammed on your brakes, you’d still blast through the intersection.

While it doesn’t happen often, if a cop sees you speed up for a yellow light, they can give you a ticket and you’ll have a difficult time fighting it.

There are times when you’re legally allowed to turn when the light is yellow. If you’re sitting in the middle of the intersection waiting for a break in traffic so you can make a left turn, you’re legally allowed to turn when the light is yellow. You’re even allowed to turn left when the light is red, provided you’re car is in the intersection.

You’re also allowed to turn right on a yellow provided there aren’t any oncoming vehicles. If this is something you plan on doing, keep in mind that the approaching traffic might be going even faster than you expect because they are trying to beat the red light.

Can you Stay Open for Business Even Though the California Governor Says Otherwise

Can you Stay Open for Business Even Though the California Governor Says Otherwise

Can you Stay Open for Business Even Though the California Governor Says Otherwise

COVID-19 has done more than simply worry that we’re dying each time we cough. It has also triggered some pretty intense discussions about how much power the government has when it comes to shutting down your business. Most business owners never imagined that a day would come when the Governor would say what businesses could and couldn’t stay open, how many people were allowed into the businesses that were allowed to operate, and even the items you’re allowed to sell. Yet that’s exactly the type of world we’re currently dealing with.

Business owners, particularly small business owners that rely on in-person sales are in a tough spot. On one hand, following the governor’s orders and staying closed means losing their business to the bank. On the other hand, ignoring the governor and opening up means losing their business license, or worse.

If you’re a small business owner who is wondering about if you can skirt the governor’s orders and stay open, here are a few things you should know.

No One Really Knows Anything

One of the biggest problems is that no one really knows how much power state governors have when it comes to telling business owners that they have to close the doors. As a result, some business owners have opted to defy closure orders and stay open. Others have opted to change their inventory just enough so they can qualify their business as an essential business. Others are toeing the law and praying that the pandemic lightens up enough for them to eventually reopen their doors.

Are Police Enforcing Business Closure Orders During the Pandemic

While there have been reports of some business owners being arrested for defying shut down orders, the most famous cases involve a pair of New Jersey gym owners and a Michigan barber. There’s been little information about California business owners who have defied the shutdown orders being arrested… yet.

It’s difficult to say if the lack of arrests stems from business owners obeying the order, police turning a blind eye to businesses who are operating but staying low key despite the shutdown order, or if there simply hasn’t been much press coverage.

Something to Consider

As a small business owner, it is up to you to decide if you want to defy the shutdown order and stay open even though you know that there is a risk you’ll lose your business license or even be arrested for your act of defiance. If you’re considering opening, one thing you should stop to consider is your liability if someone contracts COVID-19 and are able to trace the infection point to your business. Currently, it’s unclear how insurance companies plan to handle such claims, but there is a chance that they could say that since you defied the shutdown orders, they don’t have to intervene on your behalf, leaving you vulnerable to a costly civil lawsuit.

Hopefully, something will happen so that pandemic worries decrease and everyone can return to a normal life where they don’t have to weigh the pros and cons of maintaining their livelihood and breaking the law.