Do You Have a Scooter Problem?

 

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If you have been to any of the popular beaches around Los Angeles, or the surrounding areas, lately, you may have noticed a lot scooters lying around. These scooters belong to companies like Bird and Lime. These tech companies supply scooters and charge $1 to unlock the device and 15 cents per minute to use it. Once the person is done with the scooter, they can leave it wherever they like.

This is just one of many tech based ideas that are meant to help clean up urban environments. The idea behind these scooters is to give people a cheap and easy alternative to using a car. The idea sounds great, but has recently begun to receive a lot of backlash in the areas where these products can be found.

Anyone can pick up a scooter, which means that not every rider is considerate of pedestrians and vehicles. Many angry drivers and residents have complained about scooter ridersweaving recklessly through traffic and crowded sidewalksalike. This kind of reckless behavior has led to numerous accidents.

Another problem is that these devices can be left wherever for the next person to take, which leads to discarded scooters cluttering sidewalks and parks.

These two factors have created a lot of backlash, leading some city councils to create laws restricting or even outright banning the devices. Some people have even taken things to an extreme and begun to vandalize the scooters. Some people are even brazen enough to posts videos or pictures of their “handy work” on social media.

Make no mistake, vandalism is still illegal no matter how mad you might be at a company or product. In the state of California, Penal Code 594defines vandalism as maliciously destroying someone else’s property. If the damage is done to something worth more than $400, then the person can be charged with felony vandalism.

While the value of Bird’s scooters is not publicly known, similar devices on Amazon sell for over $1,000. This means that a person could face felony charges for destroying a scooter. This would mean a possible jail stay between 1 and 3 years, plus a max fine of $10,000. Is destroying a scooter really worth all of that?

Prevent Bullies

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New year, same problem. It’s the start of a new school year, which means new classrooms and new friends. For some, it also means facing new bullies. Let’s join the nation and take a stand against bullying one child at a time. What better child to start with than your own? The new school year is the perfect opportunity to start, or continue, the conversation with your kids about the importance of being kind to everyone and avoid being a bully.

A bully isn’t just someone who beats up on another student.According to the CDC,Bullying is any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be
repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm.

It is important to talk to your children about the different types of bullying. They are physical, verbal, and relational. Physical bullying is when one hits, kicks, punches, spits on, or trips another person. Verbal bullying is when someone taunts, calls another person a name, threatens, or makes sexual comments to someone else. The final type is relational, meaning someone is trying to harm another’s personal relationship by isolating them, spreading rumors, or sharing images.

According to stopbullying.gov, children are most likely to be bullied throughout elementary school. One of the key ways you can help prevent bullying is to address the bullying whenever and wherever you see it taking place. It is also important to talk to your children about the importance of being inclusive and kind to everyone, despite differences you may have.

If you would like more information on the warning signs, bullying prevention, or other educational materials, click here.

Vandalism in California

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Many people know what vandalism is. We hear about it, and see it, all of the time. Vandalism is taken very seriously in California. Getting caught vandalizing someone’s property can land a person in jail with hefty fines. While many people think they know what constitutes as vandalism, there are a few acts which fall into that category that people are unaware of.

Vandalism is the classified as the act of maliciously destroying or damaging someone else’s property.

Here is a quick list of acts that qualify as vandalism in the state of California:

  • Writing or painting on something that does not belong to you. This can even include writing your name in the wet cement of a city sidewalk.
  • Damaging a piece of property such as a window on a house or car. This can include breaking something of your significant other’s while fighting.
  • Destroying something beyond the point of repair.

If a person does one of these 3 things, he or she has committed an act of vandalism. If caught by law enforcement, this person can face a fine and possible jail time. The severity of the punishment often depends on how much damage was caused by the act. If the damage amounts to less than $400, than the crime is considered a misdemeanor. The accused person could face, at max, 1 year in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000.

If the damage total is greater than $400, the accused could face anywhere from 1 to 3 years in prison. On top of that, they could face a fine of $10,000, or more. The size of the fine will vary based on how bad the damage is.

Public Defenders v. Private Attorneys

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Public defenders and hired lawyers serve the same purpose: to defend and fight for their client in court. Their goal is to persuade the jury and the judge that their client is innocent of the charges against them. Although they serve the same purpose, both have pros and cons when defending a client.

  • Public Defender

    If a person cannot afford to hire a private attorney, the court will appoint a public defender to them. Therefore, the client does not have to pay for their public defender. The client cannot pick from a selection of public defenders; one is assigned to them. Public defenders are versed in a variety of cases and will be able to take on your case just fine.

However, public defenders do not make as much money as private attorneys, and they often have multiple cases to work on at the same time. Due to this, a public defender may have less time to meet with each client and go through materials. They must split their time across however many cases they have at once.

  • Private Attorney

    For many people, the main problem with hiring a private lawyer rather than a public defender is the cost. Private lawyers can be expensive, and they can be more expensive for serious or prolonged cases than short ones. Nonetheless, the services of a private lawyer are more beneficial than a public defender since the private lawyer will have more time to dedicate to their client. They will have more resources such as extra help from associates, and will likely be able to build a stronger case.

Additionally, lawyers may specialize in certain criminal cases, such as domestic abuse. This means that someone who is in the middle of a domestic abuse case can hire a lawyer who specializes in this, rather than a lawyer who specializes in an unrelated criminal matter. Since clients pay for a private lawyer they selected, the private lawyer is more inclined to perform at their best because their practice and reputation relies on satisfied clients.

If a family can afford a private lawyer, that is the best way to go. If not, hope is not lost. A public defender is ready and willing to take on the case and they will do as much as they can to help the family win.

How to Dress and Act for Court

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If you are trying to get hired, you will dress neatly and offer respectable, mature mannerisms. How you present yourself is equally as important as how technically skilled you are for the position. Similarly, how you present yourself to the jury and the judge in court is very important. After all, these are the people who will be deciding your case. It is not just the evidence and arguments that your lawyer makes on the case. Your appearance is important too.

  • Dress

    Unless you are obligated to appear in an orange jumpsuit because you are being brought in directly from jail, you will want to dress neatly and professionally. Men should wear a collared, buttoned shirt tucked into their long pants. They should have a belt on, and a tie is a plus. Men should wear socks with their shoes, and they may or may not have a jacket on. Women may wear a skirt that should not be more than 2 inches above the knee. Their sleeved blouse should be tucked in, and they should have on flats, or low-heel shoes. Women may also choose to wear long pants with her blouse tucked in. She should wear a sweater, but she can take it off if she gets warm. Across the board, clothing should be clean and free of distracting items like embellishments, wording, rips, and stains.

  • Conduct

    Any defendant must closely follow certain courtroom etiquette, and they will be advised by their lawyer ahead of time. They should only speak when they are asked to, and they must speak clearly. Remaining calm and polite is important, because growing irritated, angry, and argumentative is not going to help their case. They should sit and stand straight. The judge should be acknowledged as “Your Honor.” Looking eye-to-eye with the court shows maturity and seriousness from the defendant, which is a plus.

So much can be said about a person based on their appearance and their in-court demeanor. This is essentially the defendant’s chance to give the jury and the judge a good impression, and hopefully the evidence and facts about the case itself will back the defendant up.

You Do Not Need Drugs to Enjoy a Music Festival

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Large outdoor music festivals and concerts invite attendees to bring their friends, enjoy some music, and have a whole lot of fun. Many outdoor festivals also offer food booths, carnival rides, and other attractions. They are advertised as a whole experience, where some even run for multiple days and offer overnight camping. While the festivals provide a whole lot of fun for attendees, they also cause issues that call law enforcement to break up the fun.

One of the biggest recurring problems with music festivals is the usage and possession of illegal drugs. While alcohol may be served at the event for those who are 21 and older, smuggling in and using drugs of any kind is illegal. Illegal drugs are illegal for a reason. They are harmful to the body, and people react differently to the drugs. Some can “handle” more than others, but any amount is unsafe. The more drugs a body has in the system, the more dangerous they are to themselves and others. When alcohol and drugs are mixed, the person is even more dangerous.

Remember that summertime concerts mean that attendees are burning through their energy under a scorching sun. Staying hydrated with water is imperative in order to avoid exhaustion, dehydration, and fainting. When this happens, paramedics come in, and that is also when they may discover the patient is under the influence.

If the police find someone under the influence of illegal drugs or in possession of them, they will take that person away in handcuffs. The person faces fines and some time in jail. If they are found with an excessive amount of drugs, they can face a few years in prison.

For a person to have a lot of excitement about a concert, only to have it end abruptly because of health complications or because they were caught with drugs is really unfortunate. That is money wasted, lasting memories never had, and time lost. Getting arrested is a lot of stress for a person and it may make them think again before taking drugs at a festival. Hopefully they realize they do not need drugs.

Music festivals are no strangers to some drug abuse and arrests, but it needs to stop before it gets out of control and ruins the fun for everyone.

Falsely Reporting a Crime

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Just like it is a crime to falsely dial 9-1-1, it is also a crime to falsely report a crime in California. It is one thing to be innocently mistaken that a crime is taking, has taken, or is about to take place. In this case, the person reporting the false crime may not be charged because they were misled. However, it is another thing to purposely report a crime that you know for a fact never happened.

There are many reasons a person would want to falsely report a crime, including getting revenge on someone they are mad at, to scare someone or make them feel threatened, to do a prank, or trying to make a profit from another individual because of a fake kidnapping, for instance.

Anyone who falsely reports a crime to the police, the grand jury, a prosecutor, and 9-1-1 operators can be charged with a misdemeanor. If the charge ends up with a conviction, the person will pay up to a $1,000 fine and spend up to 6 months in jail. When deciding what the exact punishment will be, the judge will consider if and how others were affected by the false report, whether they have a prior criminal history, and their intentions behind filing the false report.

As with any situation, each false report will be treated differently. Some are given more leeway than others, depending on the circumstances. All reports of crime are taken seriously to start out, but if it turns out to be a false report, then that is where problems for the person who made the report begin to arise. By investigating the false report, police exhaust their energy, resources, and time when they could have been attending to more serious situations and helping others who really are in need of assistance. A person who purposely delays real emergencies will be punished.

Unpaid Traffic Fines will No Longer Result in a Suspended Driver’s License

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Starting next month, Californians who do not pay their traffic fines have one less thing to worry about: risk losing their license. There is a kind of catch 22 here because, on one hand, it means Californians who do not pay their traffic fines can keep their license and continue to drive. On the other hand, these individuals may feel less inclined to have to pay their traffic fines.

One reason for this change is that suspending licenses has not been helping the state collect money for the unpaid fines. Additionally, lower income individuals who lose their license simply because of unpaid traffic fines risk falling deeper into debt. By losing a license, a person can no longer drive. Think about how that would affect your everyday life, if that was you. You would have to find alternative ways to get to work, run your errands like getting groceries, taking your children to school, visiting people, and more. We rely on our car, driver’s license, and privilege to drive in order to go about each and every day.

Common traffic violations that result in a small fine include parking illegally, such as in a red zone or when the meter is expired, speeding, running a red light, and driving in the carpool lane without a passenger in your car.

Keep in mind that people will still be cited and fined for these traffic violations, they just will not run the risk of losing their license solely for these violations. For more serious violations like DUIs, then the driver will still lose their license.

What to do in a Police Chase

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Car chases in the movies are exciting and cool, but in real life, getting stuck in the middle of one is dangerous, and nerve wracking. What is the protocol for civilians who are suddenly in the middle of a car chase? This is not something driving school or the DMV teaches people. Do you move to the side of the road because you hear sirens coming your way? Will you have time? Will you have the room to do so?

If a driver has the time and room to move over to the side of the road to let the car chase pass, then they should do so. This does not happen often though, so in all other instances, the driver should continue driving in their lane at the same speed they are going. The police will maneuver around the driver. A driver should never make a lane change if the car chase is too close. They do not accurately know how fast the police cars are coming up behind them, and the police cannot predict the driver’s decision to change lanes. It is much easier for the police if drivers continue driving as they were.

As much as a driver may want to, they should never try and intervene in a car chase to be the hero who helped catch the suspect. It is a dangerous situation because not only are there fast moving vehicles, but they also do not know the type of person or persons inside the vehicle. They may be armed with weapons or drunk. You can get yourself and others injured.

Car chases are all too common in California, especially in Los Angeles where it seems like there is a car chase at least every couple of nights. Car chases are generally thought of as high speed chases. However, there are times when the speed is quite slow, yet the police do not seem to take advantage and speed up to cut them off. This is because the police have tactics and protocols that they must consider in the moment to successfully stop and apprehend the suspect without anyone getting hurt. The majority of police chases end successfully, because the police know what they are doing and the civilians let them do their job without intervening.

Responsibilities of Being a Parent

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Being a parent takes an incredible amount of responsibility, including legal responsibility. Until a child turns 18 and becomes a legal adult, their parents are responsible for them in many ways. This includes needing to pay for consequences should their child get into trouble, cause problems, and/or get arrested. The parents can hold their children accountable at home, but the justice system will hold the parents accountable too.

If a child damages other property, such as graffiti’s on the wall, breaks a window, or runs a car into another, the parents will have to cover the financial responsibilities of paying for the damages. The money goes towards the victim or person who owns the damaged property. It is called paying restitution because it compensates for the losses or damages the child caused. The parents may decide to punish their child by withholding allowance or setting a curfew, but from a legal standpoint of paying for the damages, the money will come from the parents.

If a child is arrested, then fees are involved for lawyers and juvenile detention services like food and laundry. Again, this money comes from the parents’ pockets.

One thing that parents would not have to pay for if their child is arrested, is bail or a bail bond. The reason this is not a factor to them, is because youths who are arrested are not given the option to post bail to be released. Instead, after a record is made of the minor’s arrest, the police will usually release them back to the custody of their parents or legal guardians. Alternatively, depending on the situation, the police may send the child to an agency or shelter that will look after them, or put them in juvenile detention. The child and the parents will be given a notice to appear in court to settle the matter. Bail and bail bonds are reserved only for adults.

Raising a child is not easy and there is no perfect solution to doing it. It is hard, and it is a learning experience. You and your family will manage to get through it together. Once they turn 18, they are legally on their own, though as a parent, it will be your natural instinct to always protect them. The good news is that when they turn 18, any records they had as a minor will be sealed, meaning that no one will be able to view or access those records. This clean slate is meant to encourage them for their future and not let adolescent mistakes prevent them from succeeding.