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California Probation Violations? Here’s What Happens in California

California Probation Violations? Here’s What Happens in California

When you’re on probation, the courts will let you know what requirements you have to meet, but no one is going to hold your hand and remind you of those requirements every single day. It’s up to you to remember what you are and aren’t allowed to do. If you break violate your probation, no one will be interested in excuses.

The issue of probation violations in California is covered by Penal Code section 1203.3. The code gives the court the option to decide to revoke or modify your probation following a violation.

When your probation officer alerts the court to a violation, you’ll have to appear at a probation revocation hearing.

Probation revocation hearings are different from traditional trials. The prosecution doesn’t have to prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The only thing the prosecution has to do is prove that the probation violations that have been leveled against you are likely true. You are allowed to have a defense attorney argue your side of the case.

One of the more fascinating aspects of probation revocation hearings is that if the alleged violation took place during an alleged crime, you can actually be acquitted of the crime but still be found guilty of the violation, which could result in your probation getting revoked. The reason is that even if you didn’t commit the actual crime, you placed yourself in a situation where you could have done something illegal which is a violation of your probation.

You should get a letter that notifies you of the time and place that the probation revocation hearing will take place. The letter should also provide some insight into what you allegedly did to violate your probation in California.

The exact consequences of your probation violation will depend on how severe the violation was.
In extreme cases, the judge will decide to completely revoke your current probation and decide that you should serve the maximum sentence for the crime you committed. In some situations, this can result in your spending years in prison.

Another judge might decide that you shouldn’t be sent to prison for the violation. Instead, they will extend the amount of time you have to remain on probation. Once again, this could mean spending years dealing with strict rules and a probation officer before you finally regain your complete freedom.

If the violation involved using substances, drinking alcohol, or getting into a fight, there’s a good chance that the judge will require that you enroll in a counseling program.

Most Common Crimes in California during Covid-19

Most Common Crimes in California during Covid-19

Most Common Crimes in California during Covid-19

One of the more fascinating aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is watching how it has impacted the crime rates. Not only has the number of arrests changed since COVID-19 was discovered in the United States, but the types of crimes are also different.

When the government first started to shut things down, many of us tensed, positive that the changes would trigger a surge in crime. That didn’t happen. During the first few months of the pandemic, crime rates dropped.

It’s difficult to track down just how much crime rates decreased during the early months of the pandemic. The main metric used to determine the crime rate in most areas is the number of 911 calls dispatchers receive. From March 16 through April 22, 2020, nearly every major city reported that 911 calls had decreased. In Chicago, 911 calls decreased by an impressive 25%. In California, there was a noticeable decrease in jail bookings.

Why did the crime rate decrease?

Many suspect that the big issue is that most of the crimes that didn’t happen involved peer groups who got into trouble together. There are two working theories as to why the police weren’t getting called out to investigate these types of crimes. The first is that the gangs were actually adhering to social distancing suggestions. The second is that the people who normally noticed the crimes and reported them simply weren’t out and about.

There are always exceptions to the rules and in the case of crime decreasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, San Jose was an exception. Not only did San Jose’s crime rate increase, but the crimes that were committed were also violent. For example, in 2019 San Jose had a total of 34 homicides. That number climbed to 44 in 2020. Experts are confident that when the numbers are tallied, San Jose commercial property crimes will have increased by a minimum of 4%.
Other California police departments have noticed that the crime rates are starting to increase. They’ve noticed a particular increase in violent crimes.

According to the Los Angeles police department, the most common crimes in California during COVID-19 are:

✦ Car thefts increased by 25% during the pandemic
✦ Homicides increased by 36% during the pandemic

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the most noticeable dips were in the reporting of child abuse and domestic violence.

Authorities say instances of abuse didn’t go down, but the overall reporting of abuse for the year is down about 10%.

Tagging and Graffiti Laws Here in California

Tagging and Graffiti Laws Here in California

Tagging and Graffiti Laws Here in California

Tagging and graffiti are two things that most people have seen, especially if they live in an urban area. Pretty much every large city in the country is littered with graffiti and other signs of tagging. A lot of times, these random markings can make signs unreadable, and change the look of the city for the worse. That is why most states have laws against graffiti.

California is one such state. California Penal Code (PC) 594 covers all sorts of vandalism, from breaking something to marking it up with paint or markers. While the crimes of graffiti and vandalism may seem minor to some, they are a very big deal to others. This is especially true for anyone stuck having to clean up the mess.

California Penal Code 594

PC 594 here in the state of California outlines every possible crime that could be considered vandalism and the punishments for them all. As far as the law is concerned, vandalism is considered to occur when someone maliciously defaces, damages, or destroys someone else’s property.

Vandalism can be any number of things, from

:

  • Smashing mailboxes.
  • Keying someone’s car.
  • Writing a name in wet cement.
  • Breaking someone’s fine china.

Basically, if someone messes with someone else’s stuff with the express intent of breaking or harming it, then they are guilty of vandalism. In fact, this can even be true if two people own something together, and one of them breaks the item. The other person could charge the first with vandalism in the state of California.

Penalties of Vandalism

As far as the punishments for vandalism go, they are dependent on the amount of damage done, the person’s criminal history, if they have one, and what exactly the person vandalized. For instance, vandalizing a place of worship comes with steeper consequences than simply vandalizing someone’s home.

If the amount of damage done totals less than $400, then the vandalism is a misdemeanor charge. This means that the person faces:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000 unless the person has any prior vandalism charges, in which case the max fine is $5,000.
  • Informal probation.

If the cost of the damage is greater than $400 dollars, the prosecution can charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. With misdemeanor vandalism charges in this case, a person faces:

  • Up to one year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000, unless the cost of the damages was higher than $10,000, in which case the max fine would be $50,000.
  • Informal probation

If the cost of damages was over $400 dollars and the crime is being charged as a felony, then the person faces:

  • A jail sentence ranging from 16 months to 3 years.
  • A max fine of $10,000, unless the cost of the damages was higher than $10,000, in which case the max fine would be $50,000.
  • Informal probation.

Consequences of Graffiti in California

Graffiti can be penalized differently in California if the damage done costs less than $250. California PC’s 640.5 and 640.6 only cover the act of graffiti. These offenses come with slightly less harsh consequences, and increase in severity with subsequent offenses.

The first time someone is charged with this crime, they face an infraction level offense:

  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Community service.

The second time someone is charged with this crime, they face a misdemeanor level offense:

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

For a third, or any subsequent offense after that, a person will face a misdemeanor level offense:

  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • A max fine of $3,000.
  • Community service.

Don’t Damage Someone Else’s Property

Aside from the state having its own law against graffiti and vandalism as a whole, many cities have their own takes on ordinances regarding graffiti. Some cities have even prohibited minors, anyone under 18, from being in possession of graffiti tools such as cans of spray paint and permanent markers. As such parents may want to be careful with giving their children Sharpies. Some cities take that act very seriously, while others couldn’t care less.

Graffiti and vandalism are not fun to deal with, and they are not fun to look at either. That is why the state of California has laws against both vandalism and graffiti. Any person caught breaking those laws will face the consequences.

What do you think of California’s laws surrounding vandalism and graffiti? Are the consequences too steep, just right, or not harsh enough? Why is that?

School Zone Ahead: Keep an Eye out for Kids

School Zone Ahead: Keep an Eye out for Kids

School Zone Ahead: Keep an Eye out for Kids

Summer is coming to a close, much to the chagrin of children everywhere. The end of summer means it is time to head back to school for another year. While kids are frustrated by the loss of their freedom, their parents are usually rejoicing. They are no longer in charge of keeping their children safe and entertained. However, back to school does come with a view headaches for parents as well as kids.

Arguably one of the worst parts for parents when it comes to school, is dealing with the traffic. Every day, hundreds of parents are all trying to drop off and pick up their students at the same times every day. This creates a lot of congestion around the school, which creates several headaches for parents.

Tips for Driving through School Zones

Driving through school zones is never a lot of fun for anyone, and aside from just being headache inducing, it can also pose some dangers for the students as well. The last thing anyone wants is for a student, a child, to get hurt on their way to school. That is why everyone driving through a school zone needs to drive carefully, regardless if they are dropping off a student.

In order to ensure that everyone stays safe this school year, here are a few tips for drivers passing through school zones.

  • Nevertext and drive. Texting while driving is very distracting, and several studies have shown that distracted driving is actually more dangerous than drunk driving. This kind of driving should never be done, especially in a school zone.
  • Be aware of hotspots. School traffic doesn’t always stick to just school zones. Many students may walk to school and cross roads at certain areas. Recognize these areas and learn to always expect kids there every school day.
  • Yield for school buses. If a school bus is flashing red lights and displaying a stop sign, all traffic has to stop, including traffic traveling in the opposite direction. The only time traffic doesn’t have to stop if it is on the opposite side of a divided roadway. Failing to stop can earn a driver a $1,000 fine.
  • Expect the unexpected. Kids aren’t always predictable, and don’t always act safely. Drivers should always be on the lookout for kids crossing the street, especially in school zones and around known hotspots.
  • Give yourself extra time. There will always be traffic in and around school early in the morning and afternoon. This is unavoidable. Anyone planning on traveling through those areas should give themselves extra time to get through those areas.

As far as keeping kids safe around school traffic, parents should teach their kids the following:

  • Crosswalksafety. Teach kids to only cross streets at designated crosswalks. This prevents them from crossing where other drivers would not expect to see pedestrians.
  • Wear bike safety equipment. If kids are biking to and from school, they should wear safety equipment. This will keep them safe and protected while biking.
  • Practice school bus safety. Teach children not to run out in front of school buses. Even though traffic should stop when children are boarding, not every drivers does. If a child runs out in front of a stopped school bus, they could get hit by a car.
  • Avoid blind spots. Teach kids to avoid walking in areas with low visibility, as drivers will be more likely to hit them.

Drive Safely Near Schools

As the end of summer draws nearer, everyone is prepping for the start of a new school years. Students are dreading the loss of their freedom, while parents are mentally preparing to face the school traffic once again. Even drivers without students may end up facing the traffic brought on by the new school year.

When driving through school zones, or other known hotspots, drivers need to keep an eye out for kids who may be crossing the street. After all, no one wants to get into an accident, especially one with kids. Luckily, as long as driver remains alert and cautious, there shouldn’t be any problems.

Are you looking forward to the new school year for your kids, or are you dreading the upcoming surge in traffic? Let us know in the comments down below.

Can Plastic Water Bottles Left in Hot Cars be Dangerous?

Can Plastic Water Bottles Left in Hot Cars be Dangerous?

Can Plastic Water Bottles Left in Hot Cars be Dangerous?

Summer is in full swing and people are doing everything in their power to beat the heat and stay safe. After all, no one wants to suffer from heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. One of the best ways to avoid both of those conditions is for a person to remain hydrated throughout the day.

This is why thousands of people travel with a water bottle in their car. This ensures they have water with them whenever they may begin to feel a bit parched. While some people prefer reusable water bottles, some people would rather buy plastic water bottles. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the dangers that can come with leaving plastic water bottles in the car on a hot day, and it isn’t for the reason one might suspect.

Are Heated Plastic Water Bottles Toxic?

For several years now, people have worried about the health safety of plastic water bottles. In 2007, emails began circulating through people’s inboxes with the claims that leaving water bottles in hot cars would create a chemical reaction within the plastic. This reaction would supposedly cause the plastic to release chemical compounds, BPA and DEHA, into the water.

Neither of those chemicals are very good for human consumption.

Naturally, these emails caused quite a stir and some panic as well. Even though these myths were later debunked by studies performed by the American Cancer Society and the International Bottled Water Association, many people still believe those emails.

There are now questions of whether or not heating plastic water bottles causes them to release phthalates into the water, which would cause other serious health problems for anyone who drank the water. However, there has yet to be any definitive answer in regards to that particular question.

While these chemicals could pose a serious health hazard if leeched into the water, they are not the reason that plastic water bottles should not be left in hot cars.

Can Water Bottles Start Fires?

The reason plastic water bottles shouldn’t be left in cars is far fierier than that. The irony is that plastic water bottles can actually lead to car fires. As impossible as that may seem, it is very true, and a real problem. That is why fire departments all over the country are warning people about the dangers of leaving a plastic water bottle in a hot car.

The problem is that the clear plastic and water work together to create a makeshift magnifying glass. Anyone who ever burned ants as a kid knows how dangerous a magnifying glass can be. If direct sunlight falls onto a plastic water bottle, it can concentrate the sun’s rays on a set point in a car, and, with enough time, cause that point to ignite.

If left unchecked, that fire can quickly and easily consume the entire vehicle.

This means that a person should never leave a plastic water bottle anywhere in a car where it will be exposed to direct sunlight. Doing so could have disastrous results. Better to take the bottle with you, or at the very least, tuck into a secure and covered place where the sun will never find it.

Stay Hydrated This Summer

When the weather heats up like it does every summer, it is important for everyone to remain hydrated. One of the best ways to do that is for a person to keep some water with them at all times. Water bottles are a great way to do that. However, plastic water bottles can, surprisingly, pose a fire hazard.

Why not avoid that potential fire hazard and purchase a reusable water bottle. After all, there are plenty of water bottles out there, and they are better for the environment. Plus, some reusable water bottles are designed to keep water cooler longer, and they really work!

Are you staying hydrated this summer? Tell us how you keep yourself cool and hydrated while you travel this summer. You never know, you might inspire someone to do the same!

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Turning Off the Power Due to High Winds

Turning Off the Power Due to High Winds

Fall has finally arrived, and for Californian, that means it is time to brace yourselves against the strong winds that come with the season. These strong winds can topple trees and powerlines, which when combined with dry brush, can spark out of control wildfires. This means that not only do residents have to brace themselves against the breeze, they have to be on the lookout for wildfires.

This is exactly what happened last year in Yuba County with the Cascade Fire that burned roughly 10,000 acres and killed 4 people. After the fire, it was determined that sagging powerlines from Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) sparked the blaze. With the company now facing billions of dollars in damages owed, it is taken preemptive measures to make sure what happened in 2017, doesn’t happen again.

As the winds began to increase, and high wind warnings and advisories were issued, the company began alerting its customers that it would be shutting off power to high risk areas. This amounted to roughly 60,000 customers being left without power.

As one would expect, this caused a great deal of problems for everyone. Food spoiled in warming refrigerators, traffic became a nightmare without working signals, jobs were unable to be done, and schools were closed across six Northern California counties. Many disgruntled customers took to Twitter to complain about the incident and the problems it caused.

While PG&E’s move did prevent any new wildfires from sparking up, it left thousands of people in very unpleasant situations. PG&E was not the only California utility company to do this, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric also cut off power to customers, though on a smaller scale.

What do you think about the practice of shutting off power to prevent wildfires? Should California utility companies do it more often? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

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Googly-Eyed Vandalism

Googly-Eyed Vandalism

Googly eyes are pretty fun and goofy. This is just scientific fact. The funny little eyes bounce around and make anything look like it isn’t quite looking in the right direction. These silly little things can be placed on pretty much anything and get a good laugh. Well, at least most people will think it is funny.

Recently, googly eyes actually made headlines after a Georgia Monument was vandalized. Upon hearing the term vandalized, a person may wonder just how a person managed to damaged something with googly eyes. Well, they didn’t. All that happened was that some googly eyes were stuck to a bronze statue of General Nathanael Greene. Once the eyes were removed, it was determined that there was no permanent damage.

However, that did not stop the city from filing a police report on the issue. The Savannah Police Department is now investigating the situation. They did not find the googly eyes amusing. They are currently searching for the culprit with the intent of charging him or her with vandalism. The police do not want people going around defacing things, and they definitely don’t want things to get out of hand.

When the Savannah Police Department posted a picture of the incident on their Facebook, they questioned who would do such a thing. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t get quite the response they were looking for. Many commenters found the incident funny, since it was just googly eyes. One commenter stated that the statue was “vandaleyesed.”

What do you think? Should the police continue to search for the culprit responsible, or should they let it go? Let us know down in the comments below.

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Drivers Have to Stop

Drivers Have to Stop

California is notorious for having drivers who like to play by their own rules. Drivers in the state seem to follow the mentality that if everyone does it, it must be okay. However, this is not the case. After all, if other drivers drove off of a bridge, you wouldn’t follow them. Besides, a driver can still get into trouble for breaking a law, even if other drivers broke it too.

A perfect example of this is when drivers approach stop signs. A driver is supposed to come to a full stop at the limit line, the white line in the road, when they approach a stop sign. This is required by law. However, many drivers prefer to do a rolling stop, also known as a California stop.

A rolling stop occurs when a vehicle does not stop. Instead, it slows to an almost stop, then continues on without truly coming to a stop. This common practice is actually illegal and can earn a person a traffic ticket. A ticket for this offense can cost around $140. As with all traffic violations in California, acquiring too many tickets for rolling stops can cause a person to lose their license.

When a driver approaches a stop sign, they need to stop at the limit line, or the edge of the crosswalk. The vehicle needs to come to a full stop, meaning the wheels aren’t moving and the speedometer needle is at 0. After stopping for 3 seconds, the driver can then proceed through the intersection if it is clear.

Drivers in a hurry tend to not stop, preferring to simply slow instead, in order to save time. This can be dangerous and cause an accident, which is why it is against the law. If a law enforcement officer sees a driver do this, they will pull that driver over and give him or her a ticket.

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The Penalties of Dogfighting in California

The Penalties of Dogfighting in California

When it comes to owning animals, people are supposed to treat the animal with the same respect that they would a human. If a person does not take care of an animal, then they can face animal abuse charges. Animal abuse on its own is pretty bad, but forcing an animal to fight another animal for personal amusement is another thing entirely.

Here in California, the state has its own separate law regarding dogfights. California Penal Code 597.5 for a person to own a dog with the intent of having it engage in a fight. This law also makes it illegal to be a spectator of a dog fight.

The penalties for California’s dogfighting laws vary between misdemeanor and felony depending on the actual crime the person is accused of. If a person is caught in a place where they know a dogfight is being prepared, then they will only face misdemeanor charges. This will get them up to 1 year in county jail and/or a max fine of $5,000.

Most other forms of violation of this law will result in felony charges. This can earn a person anywhere from 16 months to 3 years in prison with a max fine of $50,000. This proves just how seriously the state of California takes this offense.

If a person suspects that a dog is being trained for dogfights, or that these kinds of fights are being held in their area, they need to report it to local authorities. The police will handle things and help save the abused animals.

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Sorry Kids, More Homework for You

Sorry Kids, More Homework for You

Any child will tell you, and most parents would agree, that you have to get up pretty early if you want to get to school on time. If the student was up late the night before doing homework, which since the average high schooler has about 3.5 hours of every weeknight, is a very common occurrence. This leads to the not so surprising fact that most teenagers do not get enough sleep.

Sleep is very important for proper brain function, especially in growing teens. Several studies have found that students who get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night are more likely to suffer from depression, drink caffeine, struggle in class, and engage in dangerous activities.

To try and help with this obvious problem, Senator Anthony Portantino created Senate Bill (SB) 328. SB 328 would have prohibited middle and high schools from starting earlier than 8:30 AM. By doing this, the hope was that students would be able to get more sleep and therefore do better in school each day. This is a goal that every parent wants to achieve.

Of course, this bill raised some warranted concerns for working parents who do not have the ability to alter their schedules. Parents in this position would have to find some way for their students to get to school at the later time, which might include walking unsupervised or riding the bus. Those are options that not every parent is comfortable with.

Well, SB 328 passed through both the Assembly and the Senate. However, the bill was vetoed by Governor Brown citing that the bill was opposed by school boards and teachers. However, one could argue that the student’s health and well-being should be just as important, if not more so. What do you think? Should schools start earlier to allow students the extra time to sleep in, or should schools continue on as is to benefit the teachers and parents? Let us know in the comments down below.