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Beware of Porch Pirates and Package Theft

Beware of Porch Pirates and Package Theft

Beware of Porch Pirates and Package Theft

One of the nicest benefits of living in today’s modern world is that pretty much anything can be ordered online and delivered to a person’s home. This allows people to buy things they want or need without ever having to leave the house. This ability is very useful. However, as with all good things, there are those people out there that have to ruin it for everybody.

There are always people looking to make a quick and easy buck, and that is exactly what porch pirates are. They take advantage of people’s orders being left out in the open and claim them for themselves. This problem only becomes more prominent as the holiday season draws nearer and people begin ordering more things online.

What Are Porch Pirates?

Porch pirate is a name for anyone who steals a delivered package from somebody’s front porch or yard. More often than not, these kind of thefts are crimes of opportunity. The person just happened to be walking, or even driving, by and they saw the package, or letter then decide in a moment to take it. They have no idea what could be inside, but they want it for themselves.

Of course, there are some people who have turned this kind of behavior into their day job. They will spend their days scouring through neighborhoods looking for unattended packages that are just waiting to be taken. They steal the packages and either keep the contents for themselves or sell them to someone else to make a profit.

Either way, one can easily see why this crime can be so distressing and upsetting for the victim, especially around Christmas time when the package could have been a gift for someone else.

Tips to Avoid Porch Pirates

Everyone wants to avoid falling victim to a porch pirate, especially during the holiday season. Luckily, there are a few different ways to reduce the chances of having a package stolen.

  • Amazon now has a service that allows for delivery inside a home. A person just unlocks their front door with an app on their phone so the delivery person can put the package in a safe place. They also have a similar thing for delivering inside a person’s car.
  • Have a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member who is home during the day get the package off the porch while at work.
  • Have packages delivered to work. If your workplace allows this, your packages will be delivered and watched over until you can pick it up.
  • Make sure someone will be home to answer the door and receive the package. By getting it off the porch, it is far less likely to be stolen.
  • Require a signature for the delivery. This ensures that the package isn’t left alone.
  • Set up a security camera aimed at the porch to help deter thefts in the first place. If a theft does occur, their will at least be video evidence of the culprit and their illegal act.
  • Some delivery companies, such as UPS, allow for customers to leave delivery instructions, such as hiding the package in a shed, instead of leaving it on a front porch.
  • The USPS provides a service called USPS Package Intercept that allows customers to change delivery destinations before the package has been sent out for final delivery.
  • UPS has a service called UPS My Choice that alerts a customer to a delivery the day before and allows them to change the time or location of the delivery for a small fee.
  • UPS, FedEx, and Amazon offer services where packages can be delivered to secure locations such as an office, warehouse, or locker. This way the package is safe until the customer comes to pick it up.

Penalties for Mail Theft

Stealing another person’s mail is illegal under both federal and state law. United States Code (USC) 1708 defines how mail can be stolen, and then lists how states should punish offenders of this crime. In a very long and descriptive way, the law basically states that anyone who knowingly takes someone else’s mail without permission to do so is guilty of mail theft. This law also defines what counts as mail, and includes the following items:

  • Letters.
  • Postcards.
  • Packages.
  • Mail bags.

Here in California, mail theft is a misdemeanor offense under Penal Code (PC) 530.5e. This law makes it so that people who steal mail, such as porch pirates, face the following:

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

This law also makes it so that people can be charged with other laws on top of this one. This means that a person accused of breaking this law could actually face harsher consequences as well.

Don’t Get Pirated This Holiday Season

The holiday season is all about giving, but porch pirates out there are only concerned with taking. Don’t fall victim to them. Follow the tips above to help prevent a porch pirate from walking off with a loved one’s Christmas gift this holiday season.

Have you ever been victimized by a porch pirate? Do you have any tips to avoid porch pirates that aren’t listed above? If so, add them in the comments down below. What about California’s take on mail theft? Are the consequences harsh enough, or does there need to be more of a deterrent against porch piracy? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

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Can Minors Have Alcohol in California?

Can Minors Have Alcohol in California?

Can Minors Have Alcohol in California?

There are certain laws that everyone knows about, such as don’t drive over the speed limit, don’t steal things from other people, and anyone under 21 is not allowed to drink alcohol. However, while these laws are well known, a lot of people tend to ignore them, which is never a good idea.

Ignoring a law is a good way to get into trouble. One slip up could cause a person to be arrested or forced to pay a fine. This is especially true when it comes to laws surrounding minors and alcohol. Breaking a law is bad enough as an adult, abut as a minor it can lead to problems down the line.

Minors and Alcohol Laws in California

Here in the state of California, it is illegal for minors to consume alcohol under Business and Professions Code (BPC) 25658. Under this law, it is illegal to do the following:

  • Sell alcohol to a minor, anyone under the age of 21.
  • Buying alcohol as a minor is illegal.
  • It is a misdemeanor to give alcohol to a minor who then gets into a car accident for driving while drunk.
  • It is a misdemeanor to allow a minor to consume alcohol on business property regardless if the person knew the minor was under 21 or not.

BPC 25658 is just one of several state laws that restrict the usage of alcohol amongst minors. For instance, BPC 25662 makes it illegal for a minor to even be in possession of alcohol.

Under these two laws, a minor can never posses or consume alcohol, not even if their parent or legal guardian allows them to have the alcohol. While that particular instance may be okay in some states, it is illegal here in California. Minors can never have alcohol. This is further confirmed by DUI laws related to minors.

When it comes to driving while intoxicated, adults have to worry about having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. Minors get into trouble if they have a BAC over 0.01%.

Penalties of Breaking These Laws

In most instances of minors with alcohol, both the minor and the adult that provided them with the alcohol will face consequences. The exact consequences that a person will face are dependent on which law was broken. In most instances, the person will face misdemeanor charges.

When a minor is caught with alcohol in their possession, under BPC 25662, they face misdemeanor charges. This includes:

  • A $250 fine for first time offenses. A $500 fine for subsequent offenses.
  • 24 -32 hours of community service, either at an alcohol/drug treatment center or a county coroner’s office.
  • Participation in a youth drunk driver program.
  • 1 year driver’s license suspension or a 1 year delay in acquiring a driver’s license.

Breaking BPC 25658, whether as a minor consuming alcohol or as an adult providing alcohol to a minor, is a misdemeanor offense. Someone accused of this crime faces:

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

If a minor is caught driving while under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of 0.01%, they will face a 1 year suspension of their driver’s license under Vehicle Code (VC) 23136. This is the state’s zero tolerance law for underage drinking and driving.

If a minor is caught driving with a BAC of 0.05% or greater, they will face consequences under VC 23140. This is the states underage DUI law. It comes with the following, infraction level consequences:

  • No jail time.
  • 1 year driver’s license suspension.
  • 3 months of mandatory alcohol education program.

If a minor has a BAC of 0.08% or higher, than they can be charged with regular DUI, which carries harsher consequences.

Don’t Give Minors Alcohol

Alcohol can be enjoyable, when consumed responsibly. Minors under the age of 21 are often not mature enough to handle alcohol. This can lead to them over consuming, and then putting themselves into dangerous or life-threatening situations, which is why they are prohibited from drinking. This is also why it is such a big deal for adults to give alcohol to minors.

With the holiday season starting up, there will be a lot more parties and a lot more alcohol around. If anyone has family visiting from other states where minors are allowed to consume alcohol when their parent or legal guardian permits it, inform them that California sees things differently.

What do you think of California’s take on minors and alcohol? Is the state taking the right precautions or does it need to loosen up a bit? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

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Runaways in California

Runaways in California

Runaways in California

Ask any parent and they will tell you that raising kids is not an easy task. Raising children is both challenging and rewarding. There can be a lot of good days, and a lot of bad days as well. Arguably one of the worst kinds of days would be when a child decides to run away from home.

No parent ever wants to discover that their child ran away from home because they were unhappy. Unfortunately for parents, almost all teens consider running away at some point. This statistic does mean that if a child runs away, they aren’t a bad kid, they just made a bad decision. Luckily, not every teen goes through with the act.

Why Teens Run Away

Teens can runaway for all sorts of reasons including:

  • They got involved with drugs.
  • They made a bad choice and are afraid of the consequences.
  • They started hanging out with a bad crowd.
  • They want to gain some control over their life.

Often times when teens consider running away, they glamorize it. They view the act as a way to solve all of their problems and make their life better than what it would be if they stayed at home. They rarely ever consider the consequences of the act, and so are often in for a rude awakening.

What to do if a Minor Runs Away

When a parent discovers that a child has run away, they need to stay as calm as possible. It can be hard to do, but this will help the parent moving forward. Despite the prevalent rumor that a person needs to wait at least 24 hours before reporting that a child is missing, a parent is supposed to call right away.

The rule about waiting for a set amount of time is mostly for capable adults. When it comes to teens, and dependent adults, police urge parents and guardians to contact them right away. When a parent talks to a police officer, they should take down their name and badge number. Check back often for any updates.

After doing that, a parent should contact anyone and everyone they, or their child, know who might have information on the teen’s whereabouts. A parent should keep their cellphone on them at all times in case their child calls.

Lastly, search the teen’s room for clues and check their cellphone bill to see who they’ve been calling recently. Try contacting those people for information. Also look into location tracking on the teen’s phone.

Once They’ve Come Home

When a child disappears on a parent, it can be a very stressful and terrifying time. Naturally, when they get back emotions will be at an all-time high. Parents will feel a bizarre mix of relief and frustration. In this situation, the last thing a parent wants to do is yell at their child.

It is recommended that the situation not be addressed until both parties have had time to calm down from the incident. Once everyone has calmed down, then a parent can ask why their child ran away, then they have to sit and listen to their child. Don’t interrupt him or her. A parent should let their child say what they need to say.

Once the child has said their peace, the parent can tell their side of the story. They should let their child know how they felt when they realized the child left. Remind the child that they are loved, and that they can always talk to their parents.

If the running away, or even communicating, becomes a regular problem, then ask for help. The help can come from another adult that the child respects, or from a professional.

Call the Police Right Away

The last thing a parent ever wants to experience is their child running away from home. It can be truly terrifying to not know where a child is. Pretty much everyone can understand that.

This is why law enforcement agencies jump into action when they learn that a child has run away from home. They know that every second counts, and so they encourage anyone who thinks their child has run away should contact them right away. They never consider it a waste of resources to look for a missing child.

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Wildfire Tips and Arson Laws

Wildfire Tips and Arson Laws

Wildfire Tips and Arson Laws

Fall has arrived in California and it has brought warm, dry, and windy weather with it. This can only lead to one thing, wildfires. Californians are pretty well acquainted with the dangers of wildfires. As such, most people are aware of how important it is for them to prevent the blazes from happening in the first place.

As utility companies such as Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric do everything they can to prevent causing yet another wildfire in California, it is important for everyone to follow suit. No one wants to be responsible for starting a major wildfire. Doing so could have a lot of hefty consequences.

Wildfire Prevention Tips

There are plenty of things homeowners can do around their home to help prevent a wildfire from starting on their property. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

  • Clear leaves and dead vegetation from the yard. This reduces the amount of dry kindling in the area.
  • Prune trees so that the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet off the ground. This makes it harder for ground fires to spread to tree tops.
  • Put metal screens no larger than 1/8 inch over openings under porches, eaves, and into vents. This can prevent combustible materials from gathering there and prevent embers from landing there.
  • Keep flammable materials such as piles of firewood and propane tanks, at least 30 feet away from your home, garage, and sheds.
  • Maintain lawns to keep them green and less flammable. Mow lawns in the morning before the weather gets too hot and windy. Dispose of lawn clippings and other yard trimmings quickly to prevent them from piling up in the yard.
  • Try to make sure neighbors follow these tips as well to prevent fires from starting near your house. If their yard become especially prone to wildfires, contact local fire officials to alert them to the problem.

Another good rule of thumb is to just be aware of what actions can start wildfires. For instance:

  • Burning trash in a person’s back yard.
  • Leaving a campsite unattended without completely dousing the campfire.
  • Mowing the lawn can cause fires if a rock is struck by the blades, creating a spark.
  • Playing with fire, especially on windy days, can easily get out of hand.
  • Setting off fireworks in a bad area.
  • Throwing a cigarette on the ground can ignite nearby brush.

Even if unintentional, a person can get into serious trouble, for starting a wildfire here in California.

Penalties for Starting a Fire

The state of California has two arson laws. One applies when a person purposefully starts a fire. The other applies when a person accidentally starts a fire.

California Penal Code (PC) 451 makes it a crime for a person to willfully and maliciously set fire to any structure, forest land, or property. This law is a felony offense, meaning a person guilty of this will face harsh consequences. The exact severity of the consequences depend on what type of property was burned and if anyone was injured by the blaze. Depending on those facts, a person can face a state prison sentence from 16 months to 9 years.

PC 452 makes it a crime for any person to recklessly set fire to any structure, forest land, or property. Unlike PC 451, this offense is typically a misdemeanor, but can be charged as a felony if forest land is burned or someone is injured. If a person is guilty of breaking this law by burning down personal property, they face:

  • A max jail stay of 6 months.
  • A fine of no more than $1,000.

Accidentally burning structures, forest land, inhabited property, or causing great bodily injury can get a person locked up for as short as 16 months in county jail, or up to 6 years in state prison. This all depends on if the offense is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, and what exactly happened.

Be Careful with Fire

Wildfires are a very serious threat here in California. Everyone knows this. That is why it is important for everyone to do their part in preventing wildfires from happening. Luckily, it is pretty easy to not start a wildfire. All a person has to do is be careful.

For a more comprehensive list of what do to during a wildfire, and what to include in an emergency kit, check out ready.gov. This is the US government’s official website dedicated to helping people prepare for all kinds of natural disasters and emergencies. This site provides all sorts of useful information that every prepared family should know.

What do you think of being prepared for wildfires? Do you have any extra tips to add on to this list? If so, post them in the comments below and help other people be prepared. Also, what do you think of California having 2 different arson laws? Share your thoughts down below.

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5 Commonly Ignored Driving Laws

5 Commonly Ignored Driving Laws

5 Commonly Ignored Driving Laws

Anyone who has ever driven knows that there are a lot of laws to follow while on the road. With so many different things to pay attention to, it can be hard to follow all of the rules 100% of the time. This is especially true when people witness others breaking certain laws and figure if those people can do it, so can they.

There are dozens of different driving laws that people break every single day. Some of the most common ones include the following:

Speeding over the Limit

This one is obvious. People speed just about everywhere you go, but especially in California. In fact, it is not uncommon to come across sections of highway where the posted limit is 55 mph and yet every driver on the road is doing a minimum of 70 mph. Regardless, driving over the posted speed limit is illegal no matter how many other drivers do it.

Stopping at Stop Signs

Some drivers see stop signs and somehow read them as “slow down a little” instead of “stop.” This in turn leads to numerous accidents. In addition to that, it can lead to a ticket for the driver. Failing to stop at a stop sign is an infraction level offense that comes with a small fine and a point on a driver’s record.

Seatbelts Are Required

For a lot of people, buckling up when they get into a car is automatic. However, some people struggle with the idea of buckling up every single time they are in a vehicle. Being in a moving vehicle without a seatbelt is not only dangerous, but also illegal. This can earn a driver another infraction, and if they are driving a vehicle with someone under the age of 16 unbuckled in the car, they can face a separate citation for that as well.

Distracted Driving Is Dangerous

Everyone is aware that driving while distracted by just about anything, but mainly smart phones, can be incredibly dangerous. Some studies have even found that is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated or drunk. This is likely due to the fact that at least the drunk driver is trying to focus on the road, while the distracted driver is more concerned with sending a text, applying makeup, or eating. Despite this, and the fact that distracted driving is illegal, people do this every day. If a person doesn’t wind up in an accident, they could face a ticket with some small fines.

Hit and Run

Whenever people mess up, they are afraid of the consequences. After all, nobody likes getting into trouble. Unfortunately, sometimes things happen and a person is in an accident. The worst thing they can do is leave the scene of the crime. If they do this, it no longer matters if they were responsible for the accident. They left the scene and could have even left someone injured and dying. That is horrible, which is why it is illegal for a driver to leave the scene of an accident that they were involved in without first administering any needed aid or leaving contact information. The consequences for doing so can vary depending on the severity of the accident.

Keep These Laws in Mind While Driving

There are all sorts of laws that California drivers seem to forget about. Drivers need to remember these rules, not only to avoid an expensive ticket, since even the small fines are often a few hundred dollars, but to avoid ending up in a serious accident. Many of these laws were enacted to help keep people safe while driving. Failing to follow several of these could easily cost a person their life. Nobody wants that.

Are there any other California laws that you see drivers forgetting on a regular basis that are missing from this list? If so, share them below and help other drivers remember them.

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California Car Theft Laws

California Car Theft Laws

California Car Theft Laws

Cars are very expensive, but very useful to have. Owning a vehicle allows a person to go to work, run errands, and perform all sorts of other activities on their own schedule. They don’t have to rely on busses and other people to drive them around. It is very freeing to own a vehicle.

However, cars are not a cheap investment. They cost several thousands of dollars, which is why car owners try their best to take care of their investments. Unfortunately, there are people out there who would rather take someone else’s car than buy one themselves. Depending on how they take the car, they could get into all sorts of trouble.

Different State Laws

Here in the state of California, there are all sorts of laws regarding car theft. The laws vary on how the car was stolen, and the intent behind the theft. Some of the big car theft laws include: grand theft auto, carjacking, and joyriding.

Grand theft auto is illegal in California under Penal Code (PC) 487 which is the state’s grand theft law. Grand theft auto is a sub-category of grand theft. PC 487 defines grand theft auto as the act of taking a car valued at over $950 from someone else without their permission and with the intent of depriving the owner of the vehicle, or scraping and selling the vehicle. If a person does this, then they are guilty of grand theft auto.

Carjacking is similar to grand theft, however it is its own unique crime. Under PC 215, carjacking is defined as forcefully taking a vehicle from the owner’s immediate presence. Basically, this means taking the car from a person as they are driving it, or getting into it. The person often uses force or fear to get the vehicle in these instances, making the crime more violent.

Joyriding is its own crime as well here in California. Vehicle Code (VC) 10851 defines joyriding as taking someone else’s car without their permission regardless if they intended to simply borrow the car, or keep it for themselves.

Consequences of Car Theft

Depending on how a person stole the vehicle, determines which law they broke and therefor what consequences they face.

If a person breaks PC 487, they will likely face felony charges. While the crime is a wobbler here in California, which means it could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, the crime is typically charged as a felony. The penalties of felony grand theft auto are:

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

Since carjacking includes taking a vehicle through force or fear, it is considered a violent crime. This means that PC 215 comes with felony charges. The penalties for breaking this law include:

  • 3, 5, or 9 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $10,000.

A person faces these punishments for each victim that was in the car at the time of the carjacking. In addition, there are other enhancements that can increase the penalties, such as whether or not one of the victims suffered great bodily injury or if the accused is a gang member.

Joyriding under VC 10851 is a wobbler offense. This means it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. As a misdemeanor, the crime comes with the following consequences:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $5,000.

As a felony, a person faces the same max fine, but an increased jail stay of one of the following lengths:

  • 16 months.
  • 2 years.
  • 3 years.

If a person has prior joyriding convictions, or “borrowed” an emergency service vehicle such as a police car, firetruck, or ambulance, then they can face the following charges:

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

Don’t Steal Cars in California

Cars are a pretty big deal to a lot of people, and as such, a person shouldn’t take them without permission. Stealing a car can get a person into a whole lot of trouble, especially if they do so in a violent manner. Depending on how a person stole a vehicle, what vehicle they took, and whether or not they have any priors, a person can very quickly find themselves in a heap of trouble.

What do you think of the state’s various car theft laws? Were you surprised there were so many variations? What about the consequences for each crime, are they reasonable, or do they some need adjusting? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

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Halloween and DUI’s

Halloween and DUI’s

Halloween and DUI’s

It’s no secret that there will be alcohol at Halloween parties, and most adults will enjoy themselves. This alone isn’t a problem. The real problem arises when people who have been drinking decide that they are going to drive. Drunk driving is always a bad idea. It can get a person into a lot of trouble, and yet people break this law all of the time.

DUI Is Illegal in California

It is illegal to get behind the wheel of vehicle while intoxicated, or high, in the state of California. The reason for this is that being drunk, or high, greatly reduces a person’s mental capacities. They have less control over their body movements and have slower reaction times.

All of this adds up to really bad driving. If something unexpected happens in front of a drunk driver, they will be less likely to react in time to avoid an accident. They also struggle to perform simple tasks such as driving in a straight line. Bottom line, all of this puts people in danger.

Penalties of Driving While Drunk

The penalties for driving while drunk here in California depend on a few different factors. For starters, is this the driver’s first time breaking this law, or have they done this before? Also, was someone injured or even killed due to the driver’s actions. All of this plays a part in how the driver is punished for driving drunk.

For a first time offense, a person faces:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • A 4 month driver’s license suspension or 6 months with an ignition interlocking device (IID).
  • 3 – 9 months of DUI school.

A second offense comes with:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • A 2 year driver’s license suspension or 1 year with an IID.
  • 18 – 30 months of DUI school.

Third and subsequent offenses come with:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • A 3 year driver’s license suspension or 2 years with an IID.
  • 30 months of DUI school.

If another person is injured due to the driver’s actions, then the driver can face either misdemeanor or felony charges. For a misdemeanor DUI with injury, the penalties are pretty much the same as a first time DUI offense, except the max fine is increased to $5,000. For felony DUI with injuries, the penalties are:

  • 16 months to 16 years in state prison.
  • A max fine of $5,000.
  • 1 year of driving with an IID.
  • 18 – 30 months of DUI school.

As one can see, the more often a person drives while drunk, or high, the worse the consequences become.

Don’t Drive While Drunk

Driving while drunk is bad enough on any other day of the year, but becomes extra dangerous on Halloween. On this night, lots of kids are out and about trick-or-treating. This means that a drunk driver is more likely to get into an accident on this night, and that accident is more likely to involve children.

No sane person would want to risk getting into a car accident with children, so why take the chance? That is why anyone planning on drinking this Halloween should also plan a safe ride home. Assign a designated driver (DD) before going to the party, and make sure the DD knows they are the DD. In addition, getting a safe ride home is less than a phone call away nowadays with apps like Uber and Lyft. There is no reason for anyone to drive drunk.

A person can usually also count on a friend or family member to come pick them up too. While the loved one may not enjoy the call, it is arguably better than finding out someone was hurt because they decided to drive drunk rather than bug someone.

Let’s keep this Halloween safe and fun by not driving while drunk or high this year!

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Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween Safety Tips

October is here, and all anyone can think about is the holiday of Halloween at the end of the month. Kids love getting dressed in fun costumes and trick-or-treating for bags full of candy. Meanwhile, adults enjoy dressing up as well, but they have parties to get to instead of wandering door to door hunting for candy.

Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips

Tips for Keeping Everyone Safe This Halloween
When it comes to trick-or-treating, a parent’s main priority should be keeping their child safe. This can be a bit tricky as the sun sets and things get dark. In order to ensure that everyone stays safe this Halloween, here are some safety tips to keep in mind while out trick-or-treating:

  • Always make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street in front of them.
  • Always walk in well-lit areas.
  • Don’t eat any candy until home and a parent has inspected it for any tampering.
  • Each child should be carrying a flashlight or glow stick.
  • Face paint is better than wearing masks since masks can obstruct a child’s vision.
  • Make sure costumes are the appropriate size so they are not loose or baggy on the child, creating a tripping hazard.
  • Never cross the street between parked cars. Drivers are less likely to notice pedestrians between cars.
  • Never enter a stranger’s home or car.
  • Only cross streets at corners with traffic signals and/or crosswalks. Always check left and right before crossing.
  • Only walk on sidewalks or paths. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street facing oncoming traffic.
  • Put electronic devices down when walking, and especially when crossing the street.
  • Put reflective tape and stickers on bags or costumes when possible to increase visibility.

Following these safety tips should help a parent keep their children safe this Halloween.

Tampering with Halloween Candy Is a Crime

Tampering with food products in a way that can harm someone is a crime here in California. Under California Penal Code (PC) 347, it is illegal for a person to tamper or poison food, medicine, and public water supplies.

This crime is a felony offense, and can earn a person a prison stay of one of the following:

  • 2 years.
  • 4 years.
  • 5 years.

If someone is killed suffers great bodily harm from the act, an additional 3 years in prison is added to the sentence.

Basically, no one should be tampering with Halloween candy.

Halloween Safety Tips for Adults

Not every adult has children who are trick-or-treating that they need to worry about. These adults tend to have parties to go to. While they may not be trick-or-treating themselves, they still need to be aware of trick-or-treaters while driving around. A few tips for adults this Halloween would be:

  • Be careful while exiting driveways and alleyways.
  • Be extra wary of kids crossing at intersections.
  • Drive slower in residential neighborhoods.
  • Popular times for trick-or-treating fall between 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm, so be very cautious during those times.
  • Turn headlights on earlier in the evening to increase visibility.
  • Watch for kids while driving, especially kids in dark clothing.
Keep Halloween Safe and Fun

Halloween is supposed to be a fun holiday for children and adults alike. No one wants to ruin the evening with an accident of some kind. That is why everyone, including adults not out trick-or-treating, need to be more cautious this evening. By being more aware, they can avoid harming a trick-or-treater who was just looking to get an excellent score of candy to take home.

Do you have any safety tips for Halloween that might be missing from this list? If so, add them in the comments down below. What do you think of California’s laws about tampering with someone’s food, particularly candy given out at Halloween? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

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California Drunk in Public Laws

California Drunk in Public Laws

California Drunk in Public Laws

Most people like to go out and party from time to time. After all, it is nice to cut lose and forget about any responsibilities for the evening. Often times when people do this, they like to consume alcohol. There is nothing wrong with that. However, there are ways that people can get themselves into trouble with alcohol.

Everyone is aware of the obvious problems with drinking and driving, but there can also be problems for just being drunk and out in public. If a person is so drunk that they begin to risk their own safety or interfere with others, they can get into legal trouble.

California Penal Code 647f

California Penal Code (PC) 647 is the state’s law against disorderly conduct. This law covers things from begging for money to prostitution. One aspect of disorderly conduct that this law covers under section f is public intoxication.

PC 647f defines public intoxication as being any person in a public place who is under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any other controlled substance and is in a condition where they are unable to exercise care for their own safety, or the safety of others. This includes things such as stumbling along the sidewalk, almost falling into the street, or even passing out on the sidewalk and blocking people from using it.

This law does not prevent a person from getting drunk while out on the town. What it is aimed at is preventing a person from getting so drunk that they could hurt themselves or someone else. To get to this level of drunk, a person usually has to overdo their drinking. So, in order to avoid getting into trouble a person needs to be aware of their limits and not push things while out in public.

Penalties of Being Drunk in Public

Breaking PC 647 is a misdemeanor offense. This means that a person faces the following consequences:

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

It is possible for a person to get probation instead of jail time for this crime, but that is up to the case judge.

No matter how a person is punished for this crime, it goes on their criminal record. There, it will be visible to any potential employers, which means a drunk in public charge could cost a person a future job. It is really in a person’s best interest to not overdo things and wind up in trouble with the law.

Don’t Overdo It

Whenever a person decides to go drinking, they need to do so responsibly. That means not drinking too much so they don’t get to the point that they can’t take care of themselves. If they do that, and are out in public, they can get into trouble with law enforcement for disorderly conduct. Nobody wants that, especially since it sticks around on a person’s criminal record. No one wants to miss out on a job because of something dumb they did a long time ago.

What do you think of California’s take on disorderly conduct and being drunk in public? Are the laws too lenient, or are they too strict? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

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California’s Stand Your Ground Laws

California’s Stand Your Ground Laws

The last thing anyone wants is to be put in a dangerous situation where they need to defend themselves from an attacker. Unfortunately this situation does happen on rare occasions. As if this wasn’t bad enough, there are some states in the US that don’t allow people to defend themselves with any means necessary. This means that in some states, a person who may have killed someone in self-defense, could actually face murder charges.

Due to this fact, a person needs to be aware of their state’s laws when it comes to self-defense, particularly stand your ground laws.

Castle Defense

Here in California, the state does not have a stand your ground law, but it does have a Castle Doctrine. Penal Code (PC) 198.5 allows a person to use deadly force within their own home so long as certain worries arise. As long as all of the following occurs, a person is allowed to use deadly force to protect their home:

  • A person broke into their home.
  • The intruder was not a law enforcement officer doing their job.
  • There was reasonable fear of death or injury for the homeowner or a family member.
  • The occupants of the home didn’t provoke the intruder.

In those instances, a person can do whatever they need to in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm.

Self-Defense While Out

The problem with PC 198.5 is that it only applies when a person is in their own home. It doesn’t give a person the right to defend themselves while out in public. This is where stand your ground laws come into play in other states. These laws grant a person the ability to do what they feel they need to in times of distress in order to protect themselves from an attacker.

California does not have a particular stand your ground law. However, California does recognize that there are times where a person may need to use deadly force in order to defend themselves. California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) 505 and 506 instruct jurors to find defendants innocent of crimes such as homicide or assault if the person acted reasonably under the given circumstances, specifically:

  • The person reasonably believed they were in danger of being hurt or killed.
  • The person reasonably believed they needed to use force to keep themselves safe.
  • The person used only the amount of force necessary to protect themselves.

As long as a person followed the above, they should be found innocent.

In some states, a person needs to run away from a threat before they are legally permitted to use deadly force. That is not the case in California. As long as a person is defending themselves from threat of injury or death, they can do whatever they reasonably feel they need to in order to survive.

Stand Your Ground vs. Castle Defense

While both stand your ground laws and castle defense laws refer to a person defending themselves from an attacker, they are not exactly the same. Stand your ground laws apply wherever a person may be while castle defense only applies when a person is within their own home, or a few select places, such as their car.

No one ever wants to need to defend themselves, but the need can arise in rare instances. If a person ever finds themselves needing to protect themselves in California, they can rest easy knowing that the state will not fault them for doing whatever they felt was necessary to protect themselves during the situation.

What do you think of California’s take on stand your ground laws and castle defense? Should people be allowed to use reasonable, even deadly, force in order to defend themselves from an attacker? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.