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Understanding Felony Probation in California

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In some situations, when you’re convicted of a felony, a judge might decide that instead of spending time in prison, you can stay home and be placed on what is referred to as felony probation. While there are always exceptions, felony probation in lieu of prison time is usually only considered for what are considered s mild felonies or in the case of first-time offenders.

Anyone who is convicted of a felony that involves a violent crime such as murder and felony sexual assault will not be eligible for felony probation. If you have a history of violence, even if those charges were misdemeanors and you’re currently being convicted of a non-violent felony, a judge will be unwilling to consider felony probation.

The key to felony probation in California is that you have to adhere to all of the rules connected to the probation. Failing to meet a single requirement or doing something you were told not to do while on probation will result in you being sent to prison.

If the judge decides that you’re a good candidate for felony probation, you’ll hear the term suspended sentence. This term is used to provide formal notice that should you violate the terms of your probation, you’ll be sent to prison. Should you get into trouble while you’re on felony probation, not only could the judge decide to chose to sentence you to jail, you could also face additional criminal charges.

Don’t expect felony probation to be something you can just breeze through. Most felony probation periods last from 3-5 years. During this time, your life will be under intense scrutiny and there will several terms and conditions you’ll have to meet.

Conditions that are attached to felony probation often include:

✦ Regular meetings with your probation officer
✦ Drug tests
✦ Paying restitution to your victims
✦ Mandatory community service
✦ Submitting to home searches
✦ Avoiding people who are specifically mentioned in the terms of your probation
✦ Agreeing to not leave California

If you’re granted felony probation, it is in your best interest to pay careful attention to what the judge says. If you have any questions about the terms of your probation, you need to take those questions directly to your lawyer or probation officer. If you do make a mistake while you’re on felony probation, you should be honest about it, which could make a judge more tolerant and less likely to revoke your probation.

Roadside Stands in California

Roadside Stands in California

Roadside Stands in California

If you have a green thumb and a good-sized garden, you’ve likely grown more produce than you can eat. A roadside stand is a great way to find a home for the surplus fruits and vegetables while also earning some extra money.

Before you start hauling tubs of squash and green peppers to the side of the road, you should take a crash course in the legalities of owning a roadside stand.

In California, roadside stands are regulated by California Health and Safety Codes as well as many local departments. To be legal, a roadside stand has to sell fresh produce or eggs. It isn’t a closed building, but rather a structure that’s open on at least one side. If you use the stand to sell packaged food or for storage, you can only use 10% of the stand’s total space.

Traditionally, the only types of things you could sell via a roadside stand were eggs and unpackaged fruits and vegetables. That has changed a little. When California lawmakers passed AB 2168 roadside stands could be used to market some home bottled products, including jams, pickles, and olives. The one rule was that the items used to create these bottled products had to be grown either on or near the home where the stand is based.

If you plan on using a roadside stand to sell jam and preserves, you probably won’t be able to bottle the items in your kitchen. The law requires that the packaging and preparation of these artisan items have to take place in a kitchen that’s been granted health department approval. If you want to make your products in your home, you’ll have to get your kitchen licensed as a Cottage Food Operation.

Another change is that you’re also legally permitted to sell bottled water and soda pop at your road stand, but only in limited quantities. The amount of space you dedicate to these items can’t exceed 50-feet.

It’s extremely important that you run your roadside stand like a business. Keep accurate records of both any money it makes and all of your expenses connected to the stand. The bad news is that you’ll have to claim this income when you file your taxes. The good news is that you’ll be able to deduct your expenses.

It is also a good idea to explore getting liability insurance for your roadside stand so that you’re protected if any customers are hurt while they’re going through your produce.