California’s Lemon Dog Laws

California’s Lemon Dog Laws

California’s Lemon Dog Laws

When you bring a dog into your family, you assume that you’re getting a healthy animal who will be a buddy and best friend for several years. Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t work out the way you hope. Instead of a pet who will go on hikes and give you comfort, your new dog develops health problems that ruin your financial stability.

If you find yourself in this situation, you might want to look into California’s dog lemon laws. California is one of 22 states that currently have lemon laws in place that are designed to protect pet owners. They are surprisingly similar to vehicular lemon laws.

What are California’s Lemon Dog Laws?

The purpose of California’s lemon dog laws is to protect you from the financial headaches that go hand in hand with inadvertently acquiring a dog that has health problems. The lemon dog law says that you can reasonably expect the dog to be healthy and free of illness and disease for the first fifteen days they live in your home.

In order to take advantage of this law, you have to obtain written certification from your veterinarian that the dog developed some type of illness that had previously existed in the dog prior to you acquiring it. It could also apply if the seller lied about vaccinating the dog prior to you taking possession of the animal.

The second aspect of California’s lemon dog law deals with congenital and hereditary problems. If the dog develops a health problem that makes it impossible for you to use the dog in the way you intended or means taking on veterinary bills you didn’t anticipate, you have the ability to contact the breeder and discuss reimbursement. These health problems have to appear within the first year of the dog’s life.
If the dog passes away as a result of congenital or hereditary health problems during the first year of its life, you are also protected by California’s lemon dog laws.

The Seller’s Responsibility Under the Lemon Dog Laws

The purpose of California’s lemon dog laws is to encourage breeders to breed responsibly. The hope is that the laws will encourage breeders to get a full genetic workup on their breeding dogs prior to mating them. It also encourages sellers to disclose known health problems in all sales contracts.
✦ If your dog develops health problems that are covered by California’s lemon dog laws, the seller has a few choices.
✦ They can reimburse your vet bills that are related to the health issue until that amount matches the purchase price of the dog
✦ They can offer a replacement puppy

Some breeders choose to reimburse vet bills and offer a replacement puppy. In some cases, breeders will ask for the unhealthy puppy back so that they can see it receives the health care it needs for the rest of its life.

Lemon Laws Don’t Apply to Pet Shelters

It’s important to understand that you’re only protected by California’s lemon dog laws if you purchase your dog from a breeder. If you adopt your dog from a shelter, you do so at your own risk.

Are You Impacted by California’s Mandatory Reporting Law?

Are You Impacted by California’s Mandatory Reporting Law?

Are You Impacted by California’s Mandatory Reporting Law?

You just watched your neighbor commit a crime. You know what they did was illegal, but you aren’t sure what you should do about the situation. You don’t want to get anyone in trouble. On the other hand, you know you don’t like the idea of living next to someone who blatantly breaks the law.

Assuming that your neighbor didn’t break a minor law, like jaywalking, it’s in your best legal interest to report the crime to the authorities. The reason for this is simple. If your neighbor gets caught and the police find out that you’ve been turning a blind eye to the situation, you could land in hot water. This is especially true if your neighbor is abusing a roommate/parent/friend, or if they are involved in a child endangerment/neglect situation.

Some people don’t realize that their chosen profession requires that they report any criminal activity that they have knowledge of. California created Mandatory Reporting laws that require specific professions to report criminal activity. Professionals who are bound to adhere to the Mandatory Reporting Laws include:

✦ School officials
✦ Anyone who works in law enforcement
✦ Social workers
✦ Members of the clergy
✦ Firefighters
✦ Therapists

If you are a member of any of these professions, you’re legally required to report instances of:

✦ Extreme verbal abuse
✦ Physical abuse/assault
✦ Sexual abuse
Child neglect
✦ Child endangerment

Failing to obey the Mandatory Reporting Laws means could come at a steep price. If you’re found guilty, you could be sentenced to spending 6 months in a county jail and be charged a $1000 fine.

What if You Discourage Someone From Reporting a Crime

If someone you know has knowledge of an abuse or child endangerment crime, and you convince them to stay quiet, the law can come after you. If found guilty of willfully preventing someone from stepping up and reporting a crime to the proper authorities, you’re looking at a year in jail and a $5000 fine.

Mandatory Reporting Laws Require that You Think Before you Confide in Someone

If you have broken a law or think you know someone who has, you need to be aware that if you discuss the situation with someone who’s profession forces them to report the alleged crime, they will likely have to mention your name. The police will likely be very curious about why you failed to report the abuse right away. It will look better and not put your friends in an awkward position if you report the situation yourself.

Mail Theft in California

Mail Theft in California

Mail Theft in California

Lawmakers aren’t fooling around when it comes to people messing with other people’s mail. The issue of mail theft is explored in US Code Section 1708. It’s important to understand that because mail theft involves the United States Postal Service, a federal agency, mail theft is considered a federal offense. The State of California will likely add a few charges as well.

What is Mail Theft

If you read US Code 18 Section 1708 you’ll learn that taking any piece of mail that wasn’t sent to you is considered mail theft. It doesn’t matter if the mail is taken directly from a post office employee, snatched from a mailbox, or snuck of a mail truck. It’s all mail theft.

Additional Offenses That Are Frequently Added to Mail Theft Charges

It’s rare for a person to be charged with just mail theft and nothing else. Identity theft is one the charge that’s most commonly linked to mail theft. Identity theft charges are usually added if the stolen mail included:

✦ Birthdates
✦ Social security numbers
✦ Birth certificates
✦ Tax I.D. numbers
✦ Banking/credit card account information
✦ Death certificate information
✦ School I.D. numbers
✦ Driver’s license numbers

Other charges that have been added to mail theft include:

✦ Assault
✦ Breaking and entering
✦ Embezzlement
✦ Deception
✦ Fraud

Federal Consequences of Mail Fraud

The government is messing around with mail theft. They want everyone to think twice about what they could lose before they snatch up a piece of unattended mail. If you’re found guilty of federal mail fraud, the maximum sentence includes:

✦ Up to $250,000 in fines
✦ Up to 5 years in a federal prison

Getting Charged with Mail Theft in California

California lawmakers are serious about mail theft. Anyone who is caught stealing someone else’s mail will likely find that in addition to dealing with the federal court, they’ll also be charged by the state. California’s Penal Code 530.5e PC . PC 530.5e states that “every person who commits mail theft, as defined in Section 1708 of Title 18 of the United States Code, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment.”

The interesting thing about California and mail theft is that it is one of the only theft type crimes where the punishment isn’t determined by the monetary amount of the crime. The state doesn’t care if you stole a couple of thousand dollars worth of mailed paychecks from your neighbor or if you simply swiped a handful of sales flyers from an unattended mailbag. The consequences will be the same.

What if Mail was Delivered to the Wrong Person?

If a postal employee delivers the someone else’s mail to you, don’t panic and assume that you’re going to be charged with mail theft. This is an honest mistake. It’s also something you need to take care of immediately. As soon as you discover the error, contact the post office, and alert them to the situation. You’ll be instructed on how to return the mail to the post office. What you shouldn’t do is throw the mail away or to put the mail in your neighbor’s mailbox.

How California Deals with Illegal Dumping

How California Deals with Illegal Dumping

How California Deals with Illegal Dumping

California lawmakers are serious about protecting the environment. Strict dumping laws is one of the ways they accomplish this.

What is Dumping?

When they talk about dumping, California lawmakers aren’t referring to the careless text you got from your ex stating that they just wanted to “be friends.” The lawmakers really aren’t concerned about your relationship status. What they’re actually referring to when they talk about dumping is the practice of taking garbage and dumping it somewhere that it doesn’t belong. A perfect example of this is taking a few old mattresses and tossing them in a ditch, or abandoning your broken down vehicle in a little-used alley.

Anytime you dispose of a bag of trash in a manner that is hurried, sloppy, and results in the trash laying around somewhere it doesn’t belong, you can be charged with illegal dumping.

How California Deal with Illegal Dumping

California’s illegal dumping laws are addressed in the California Penal Code section 374.3. According to the code, you can be charged with illegal dumping if you dump your trash on public or private property. Illegal dumping is a wobbler law so the prosecution has the option of charging you with a misdemeanor or a felony.

The degree of punishment handed out to you depends on several factors, including how many times you’ve been found guilty of illegal dumping and what type of waste you dumped.
While it’s possible to be sentenced to six months in jail for illegal dumping, in most cases, the guilty party is fined.

The fines associated with this charge include:

✦ $250-$1,000 for the first offense
✦ $500-$1,500 for the second offense
✦ $750-$3,000 (or more) for the third offense

If you were caught dumping tires, the fine is automatically doubled
If prosecutors look at your case and determine that you dumped what they consider commercial quantities of waste the illegal dumping fines become much steeper. A commercial quantity of waste is waste that was generated as part of a business (such as hazardous chemicals or debris created by a tree trimming company) that exceeds one cubic yard.

If you’re found guilty of commercial illegal dumping in California, the associated fines are:

✦ $1,000-$3,000 for the first offense
✦ $3,000-$6,000 for the second offense
✦ $6,000-$10,000 for the third offense

If you’re caught in the act of illegal dumping on private property, there’s a good chance the property owner will file trespassing charges against you.

The Legal Risk of Rolling Stops in California

The Legal Risk of Rolling Stops in California

The Legal Risk of Rolling Stops in California

You approach a stop sign. You step on the brake, slowing your vehicle. You look both ways and see that there’s no oncoming traffic. You drive through the intersection without completely stopping your vehicle. This is called a rolling stop. It’s a traffic violation that can cause you a great deal of grief.

The Problem with Rolling Stops

As a licensed driver, you’ve entered into a kind of unspoken agreement with the State of California that you’ll come to a complete stop each time you’re confronted with a stop sign or red stoplight. The problem with a rolling stop is that they can quickly become a dangerous habit. A large majority of traffic accidents are caused by rolling stops, particularly rolling stops that include a right turn on red. Failing to come to a complete stop means you also fail to give yourself enough time to fully assess the intersection. Most of the drivers who have been involved in rolling stop accidents are startled when they suddenly find themselves sharing the intersection with a pedestrian or cyclist.

The Legal Consequences of Making a Rolling Stop in California

If you’re caught making a rolling stop, you can expect the resulting ticket to include a $238 fine. One point will also be added to your driving record.

Paying for the ticket is just one way your failure to yield completely for a stop sign or red light. You should also expect that your insurance company will learn about the traffic infraction. The insurance adjuster will likely assume that you routinely make rolling stops and will increase your monthly insurance premiums. Having a single rolling stop on your driving record could lead to a 19% increase in your insurance payment. Some insurance companies could even use the violation as an excuse to drop you as a customer.

A Possible Solution

If you’ve received a ticket for making a rolling stop, there are two ways you can minimize the damage. You could go to court and try to prove that you did bring your vehicle to a complete stop. If you’re able to convince the judge that the police officer made a mistake, they could strike the traffic infraction from your record.

If going to court doesn’t work, your other option is attending traffic school. It’s not fun, but getting the refresher course can remove the additional point from your record while also providing you with a useful refresher on defensive driving.

Avoid Making Rolling Stops

A surprising number of drivers who are ticketed for making a rolling stop are surprised. They swore they were coming to a complete stop. The best way to make sure you are stopping is checking both ways, counting to five, checking the intersection again, and only than continuing on your drive.

It always pays to take a few extra seconds to confirm that you’re driving safely.

False Allegations of Child Abuse in California

False Allegations of Child Abuse in California

False Allegations of Child Abuse in California

Child abuse laws are designed to protect children from being hurt. They’re good laws that make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, they are also laws that can be used against people, particularly parents who are engaged in a child custody dispute. It’s not unheard of for one parent to accuse the other parent of child abuse in order to obtain full custody of the children. It’s an accusation that can deal a lasting blow to both sides.

While there have been instances of men lodging false child abuse claims against women, it’s far more common for a woman to falsely accuse a man of child abuse. Data collected by the Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) indicates that 85% of all child abuse protective orders are filed by men and issued against men. One lawyer estimates that approximately 90% of those that are filed during a divorce and that mention child abuse are a tactical move to gain custody of the children.

California’s family court judges are legally obligated to take all child abuse accusations seriously. The last thing anyone wants is for a child to be hurt because the court failed to act. As soon as one parent accuses the other of child abuse, the court will take action, usually siding with the parent who made the accusation. If you are the one accused of abusing children, you shouldn’t assume that you’re promptly out of luck. You do have to be willing to take a defensive stance.

It’s in your best interest to demand that the court investigate the accusations. Be prepared for this to involve an in-depth and invasive investigation into your background. Court-appointed experts will interview several people which can include:

✦ Your children
✦ Family
✦ Friendly
✦ Doctors
✦ Teachers

The topic of false child abuse accusations in California is addressed in Family Code section 3027. According to the code, once it’s proven that the allegations filed against you were knowingly false, you have the right to seek monetary compensation for your court fees and additional costs that were connected to proving your innocence. The result of the investigation could lead to a significant change in which parent is granted custody of the children.

The process is time-consuming and often frustrating. When you feel impatient, remind yourself that you’re doing this for the good of your child.

California’s Spay Neuter Laws and How They Impact You

California’s Spay Neuter Laws and How They Impact You

California’s Spay Neuter Laws and How They Impact You

Most of the people impacted by California’s spay/neuter laws barely noticed a change. The reason for this is because the vast majority of the people who are mentioned in the law were already spaying and neutering their pets.

Why California Created Spay/Neuter Pet Laws

California lawmakers realized that there was a major pet problem in the state. The lawmakers didn’t mind that lots of people owned loved and well cared for pets. They were concerned about the sheer number of pets that were running around the streets and rural areas that were homeless. Lawmakers decided that it was time to step up and force people to do something about their pets.

Rescues Have to Spay/Neuter Pets

Most rescues had a spay/neuter policy in place before the official passing of the law, but there were some exceptions. The law specifically requires that any pet that is adopted from an animal shelter must be spayed or neutered. If there is a medical reason why the pet isn’t spayed or neutered, such as being too young, before it’s sent to live in its new home, correct documentation must be provided and steps should have been taken to ensure that the pet will get spayed/neutered at the earliest possible time.

In extreme cases where an animal’s health is simply too poor for the animal to go through the surgery, the rescue will have to contact local lawmakers and document the pet’s health problems and the steps both the shelter and new owner plan on taking to make sure the pet doesn’t reproduce.

Breeders will have to contact a local government agency and find out how they can get their breeding animals excused from the law.

Los Angeles Spay/Neuter Laws

For more than 10 years, Los Angeles has had the toughest spay/neuter laws of any city in the USA. The city provided pet owners who owned an unsterilized pet with documentation of subsidized sterilization services and said the owner had two months to have the surgery performed, or to provide a vet certificate stating why the pet was exempt from the sterilization laws. If the pet owner failed to have their pet sterilized, they were charged $100 and required to provide 8 hours of community service. The second offense resulted in a $500 fine and 40 hours of community service.

California’s spay/neuter law is just one of the laws that pet owners need to be aware of before they introduce a new pet to their family.

Watering your California Lawn

Watering your California Lawn

Watering your California Lawn

All of us want the lush, gorgeous kind of lawn we see featured in landscaping ads and gardening magazines. Even with minimal landscaping, a beautiful, healthy lawn really showcases the home, giving it a great deal of curb appeal.

The problem many California homeowners encounter is that maintaining that stunning lawn takes a great deal of water. Using too much water on your lawn could create some serious legal headaches.

How Much Water Can You Use

There are some parts of the world where you can put as much water on your yard as you’d like. That’s not the situation in California. The entire state is always conscious of a potential water shortage. It’s something state and local lawmakers would like to avoid. Many places have limited the amount of water, the times, and even the places, you can water your California lawn.

It would be easy if you knew you could only water your lawn for an hour on odd days of the calendar month. That would be straightforward and easy to adhere to. The problem is that it’s not that straightforward. Each township/city has their own lawn watering rules. Further complicating the situation is that the rules can change from week to week depending on how much rain the area has received.

The best way to make sure you’re not accidentally violating one of the rules, it’s in your best interest to frequently check local government websites where any alterations to local ordinances about lawn watering will be listed. Violating the ordinances and overwatering your lawn will likely result in a citation and you’ll have to pay a fine.

New Restrictions Coming

All California residents need to review two recently passed California water laws that will eventually impact everyone living in California. The laws are Assembly Bill 1668 and Senate Bill 606. These Bills are designed to restrict the amount of water you use every single day. Starting in 2022 each person in your home will only be allowed to use 55 gallons of water per day. By 2030, the amount decreases to 50 gallons. Using too much water will result in additional penalties being added to your water bill.

It is fully expected that as some point in 2020, the California Department of Water Resources, will present lawmakers with a list of guidelines that also suggests restricting how much water each California property owner can use outside their home for purposes like washing vehicles and watering the lawn.

If lawmakers approve the California Department of Water Resources’ recommendations, it could make it harder for you to enjoy a stunning lawn.

Most Common Crimes in California during Covid-19

The Difference Between Carjacking and Auto Theft in California

The Difference Between Carjacking and Auto Theft in California

On the surface, carjacking and grand theft auto might seem like very similar crimes, but the State of California disagrees.

What is Carjacking

The State of California addressed the topic of carjacking in California Penal Code Section 215. If you decide to take a car that is currently being operated or is in the possession of another person without that person’s permission, you can be charged with carjacking.

In a carjacking case, prosecutors face an uphill battle. In order to convict you of carjacking, the prosecution has to prove:

✦ The owner was quite close to the car when you drove away in it
✦ That you used either force or fear to gain possession of the car
✦ You fully intended to keep the owner from the vehicle on either a permanent or temporary basis

The punishment for being found guilty of carjacking in California is severe You can spend 3-9 years in a state prison and could also be charged up to $10,000 in fines. Carjacking is part of California’s Three Strikes Law. This means that the second time you’re convicted of carjacking, the penalty is automatically doubled. The third strike could result in you getting a 25-life prison sentence.

What is Grand Theft Auto?

The legalities of grand theft auto in California are addressed in California Penal Code Section 487(d)(1). According to that law, you can be charged with grand theft auto if you take a vehicle that belongs to someone else without their permission. If the owner is nowhere near the car or if they are but you managed to get the car without resorting to fear or force, you won’t be charged with carjacking. You might even avoid a felony conviction.

Grand theft auto is one of California’s wobbler laws. The prosecutor has the luxury of looking at your case and deciding if they want to charge you with a felony or a misdemeanor. This also gives everyone involved with the case with some maneuvering room when negotiating a plea bargain.

If you’re convicted of misdemeanor grand theft auto, you might be sentenced to 364 days in the county jail. A felony conviction means spending anywhere from 16 months-3 years in jail.

Understanding California’s Labor Laws

Understanding California’s Labor Laws

Understanding California’s Labor Laws

It doesn’t matter if you’re an employee or an employer, it’s important to understand California’s labor laws. The problem most people encounter is that the state hasn’t gone out of its way to break these laws down in a way that is easily researched or understood.

Minimum Wage

California is a bit peculiar because instead of creating a flat minimum wage that covers everyone, California has two different minimum wages. The first is $13. The second is $12. The amount of minimum wage an employer pays is based on the size of the business.

The problem with this system is that it urges California employers to keep the number of employees under 24 which can often discourage them from trying to expand their business or to take on additional employees during the times that they are busy.

The extra $1 an hour gives large employers an edge when they’re hiring. Getting paid an extra $1 an hour is a big enough difference that it can cause individuals who are in the process of looking for a job to automatically reject any business that isn’t required to pay the full $13 an hour in the minimum wage.

Further complicating the process is that many cities and counties have a local minimum wage requirement. A perfect example of this is San Francisco where the minimum wage is $15 an hour.

The State mandates that anyone who works over 40 hours a week must be paid an overtime rate that is 1.5 times their regular hourly amount.

Paid Training

There was a time when some businesses felt that they didn’t have to pay employee trainees. This made it impossible for novice employees to earn a living during the training phase, especially if the training took weeks to complete.

California law states that if an employee is getting trained and is 20 or younger, the employer must pay them at least $4.25 an hour. The maximum amount of time the employee can be paid a training wage is 90 days.

Minimum Wage and Students

California lawmakers recognize that many full-time students have to work, but they also realize that working around a student’s schedule can create some interesting problems for employers. In an attempt to encourage employers to hire full-time college and high school students, the employer only has to pay 85% of the minimum wage. This amount is good for 20 hours of work per week.

Full-time high school or college students who work part-time may be paid 85% of the California minimum wage (as little as $11.05 per hour) for up to 20 hours of work per week at certain employers (such as work-study programs at universities).

Employers are required to post wage requirements in a highly visible area.

In addition to a minimum wage, your employer also has to meet California OSHA safety standards and provide time for state-mandated breaks.