Should Cellphones Be Banned By Law In Schools?

Should Cellphones Be Banned By Law In Schools?

Times have definitely changed since many of us were kids. Back when most of us adults were in school, the only thing teachers had to worry about were calculators. Nowadays, students walk around with cellphones that can do infinitely more than a calculator ever could. And, we were told we wouldn’t be carrying a calculator around when we grew up.

Cellphones in schools have become quite a problem.

They either distract the student from the lesson or allow the student to sneakily look up answers on the internet. This is why most school ban cellphones, but the country of France has taken it a step further.

As schools began their new year in France, the French legislature recently signed a new law into effect. This new law basically makes it illegal for students under the age 15 to use cellphones at schools, though it is more complex than that.

The law leaves options that allow each school to change what is permitted on their campuses. Some schools may choose to say that these students cannot have phone period, while others may allow them on campus, but they have to be turned off at all times. The decision is up to each school. Before any parent grows too concerned, the new law does allow students to use their phones in the event of an emergency.

There is no denying that cellphones can be very distracting, and as much as we adults hate to admit it, they can be addicting as well. After all, how many of us feel lost without a phone in our hand or pocket? What do you think of France’s new law? Should something like that be done here in California, or do you think kids should be allowed to have their phones whenever and wherever? Let us know in the comments down below.


Statute Of Limitations In The State Of California

Statute Of Limitations In The State Of California

The phrase statute of limitations refers to a predetermined amount of time that has to pass before a person can no longer be convicted of a crime. Each state sets their own statute of limitations for different types of crimes. Statute of limitations apply to both criminal civil lawsuits.

Why Statute Of Limitation Exist

The idea of putting a time limit on a crime might seem strange. The logic behind the situation is that by limiting the amount of time a case can be investigated and charges brought, the fairer the justice system is being. The general belief is that after X amount of time has passed, the odds of the defendant getting a fair trial drastically decrease. Not only has the time made witness statements less reliable, but it also means that the defendant is less likely to be in possession of things such as receipts and other records they’d normally use to prove their innocence.

Embezzlement Of Public Funds And Murder

For major crimes, including the embezzlement of public funds and murder, California doesn’t have a statute of limitations. You can be charged with these 1, 5, 20, even 100 years after the crime was committed. If you’ve committed one of these major crimes in California and the prosecution decides they have enough evidence to charge you, your best hope is that enough time has passed that witnesses have begun to forget what has happened.

Lesser Felonies And Misdemeanors

For other type of felony crimes, the State of California has a relatively short statute of limitations. In most cases, if three years have passed since the initial crime and you haven’t been charged within three years, you can relax. With most misdemeanors, the California statute of limitations is either two or three years.

There Is A Catch

There is one catch that complicates the statute of limitations for both misdemeanors and felonies. The clock doesn’t start ticking until the authorities are aware the crime has taken place. For example, if someone drives off without paying for their gas, and no one realizes that it’s happened for three years, you can still be charged for the drive-off nearly six years after the fact. This loophole is called California’s Discovery Rule.

It’s worth noting that two to three years is the general statute of limitations for crimes committed in the State of California today. There is always a chance that new legislation will be passed that could extend the period, giving the authorities even more time to investigate crimes before charges are brought against the main suspect.


Creating An Emergency Kit For The Great Shakeout

Creating An Emergency Kit For The Great Shakeout

October 18th of this year will be the Great Shakeout. It is a day where schools and companies all over the world practice what they should do in the event of an earthquake. It is an opportunity for people to prepare for an emergency that can happen at any time without any warning. That is why it is important to be prepared.

One way to be prepared for an emergency like an earthquake, is to have an emergency kit ready to go. A good emergency kit will have all of the things that you need to deal with any emergency that comes your way.

This includes:

  • 3 gallons of water per person. This should last each individual 3 days.
  • A 3 day supply of non-perishable foods.
  • Baby food, diapers, and wipes if you have a baby.
  • Pet food and extra water if you have a pet.
  • A can opener.
  • Cups, utensils, and plates.
  • First aid kit.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Battery powered or crank powered radio and flashlight, plus extra batteries.
  • A whistle.
  • Portable phone charger.
  • Prescription medicine and glasses for those who need them.
  • List of contact information of family members and friends.
  • Important documents in a waterproof and fireproof container.
  • Waterproof matches.
  • A blanket.
  • A supply of cash for food and travel for at least a week.
  • A change of clothes and shoes for each member of the family.
  • If you have kids, activities for young children such as crayons and coloring books.

While this list can seem a bit intimidating, it can all be important in the event of an emergency. Just by having this stuff stored away in a safe place at home, a person is much more likely to be able to survive whatever comes their way.


Can Police Officers Search Your Electronics?

Can Police Officers Search Your Electronics?

In the modern age, so much of our lives revolve around electronic devices. How many of us would be able to go a day without our cellphone in hand? Probably not many of us. It’s no wonder that since electronic devices like this have become so commonplace that law enforcement officers may need to see them during criminal investigations.

A very common question that most people have is when can a police officer search through my phone or other digital devices? The answer is the same for when can an officer search your home or house. They either need your consent to do so, a warrant that specifically lists the item in question, or when they have reason to believe that the searching of the device will prevent a crime.

This right is protected under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment protects all US citizens from unreasonable search and seizures of property. This includes digital property stored on electronic devices.

If a law enforcement officer searches your phone or other devices illegally, then nothing they find there can be used as evidence against you since it was obtained illegally. Furthermore, consent to search a device has to be given freely, it cannot be coerced out of an individual. Lastly, a warrant to search a device has to specifically list what types of files can be looked at on the device, and the officer cannot stray from that list.

The modern world is always changing, and that means that laws need to change and update with it. This is why the Fourth Amendment, which was written a few hundred years before any electronic devices were invented, now covers the search of those devices. It is a way to prevent law enforcement officers from abusing the powers granted to them. Unfortunately, not every officer out there is aware of this, and may claim otherwise. If that is the case, and an officer demands to search your device without a warrant, calmly and politely refuse while informing the officer that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects your devices from unreasonable searches.


The Cost Of Parking On California Streets

The Cost Of Parking On California Streets

You might not be aware that California is home to some of the strictest and most heavily enforced traffic parking laws in the United States. There are two reasons for this. The first is because California has a mind-boggling amount of traffic and each driver is looking for a place to park, the limited number of parking options forces state lawmakers to come up with strict parking rules. The second reason is that parking tickets is a lucrative and easy form of income that the state needs.

How Much Can A Parking Ticket Cost You?

Most people think that they don’t have to worry about parking tickets. They figure that the ticket is $5 or $10 and that the state won’t notice if the ticket doesn’t get paid. This is a costly assumption. Depending on which parking law was violated, the fine connected to the ticket can add up to $1,000, and the state has a reputation for swearing out bench warrants on drivers who fail to pay even minor parking tickets.

San Francisco has different fines for different types of parking violations, including:

  • $55.00 for parking on the side of the street that’s scheduled for street cleaning.
  • $65.00 for a going over your time at a downtown parking meter.
  • $90.00 for parking in a marked red zone.
  • $50.00 for angled parking.
  • $90.00 for parking in a space reserved for motorcycles.
  • $85.00 for parking in a tow-away zone.
  • $55.00 for parking in a temporary construction zone.
  • $105.00 for block charging bay parking.
  • $100.00 for parking in the entrance/exit of a facility.
  • $100.00 for speeding while in a parking facility.

It’s important to note that these fees can change with a single vote.

The steepest parking tickets are ones that are issued for parking illegally in a bus loading zone or in a space reserved for a disabled driver/passenger.

Protesting The Parking Ticket

Just like with all traffic violations, you are allowed to go to court and protest the traffic ticket you were issued, but you should know that proving your innocence isn’t always easy. The best ways to get the ticket over ruled is by bringing photographic evidence that the restrictions on parking there wasn’t clearly marked, or proving that you weren’t the one driving the vehicle on the day the parking ticket was issued. In some cases, the court will forgive the parking ticket if you can prove that the only reason you were parked illegally was because of a valid emergency.

Most California court systems are currently set up so that parking tickets can be paid online. Failure to pay your outstanding parking tickets can result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.


Consequences Of Ignoring A Jury Summons

Consequences Of Ignoring A Jury Summons

The idea of a jury sounds like a great aspect of democracy right up to the point when you get a jury summons. It’s perfectly natural to wonder what would happen if you choose to ignore the letter telling you that you need to report to the courthouse and be considered for jury duty.

While ignoring a summons to appear for jury duty might not seem like a big deal to you, state’s are starting to really crack down on those who do. The exact consequences of skipping out on a jury summons can vary from one district to another, most courts will issue a bench warrant. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the cops will knock on your door, but it does mean that if you get pulled over, when the patrol officer runs your name through their computer system, they’ll discover the warrant and arrest you on the spot.

Even if you get lucky enough to never cross paths with a police officer after a failure to appear for jury duty bench warrant has been issued, the bench warrant can have an enormous and negative impact on your life. There’s been at least one report of someone from California getting denied when they tried to rent an apartment. When the person investigated the reason, they found that skipping jury duty resulted in a bench warrant that had popped up when the landlord ran a background check. That person hadn’t even lived in California when the court sent the summons. It took some time, but the individual was able to prove that they hadn’t been a California resident. They worked closely with the California state patrol and were eventually able to get the bench warrant dropped.

In Georgia, a woman who ignored a jury summons was sentenced to three days in jail. In Massachusetts, approximately 48,000 residents were charged a $2,000 fine after they failed to obey a jury summons.

A recent report indicated that Los Angeles County collected more than $940,000 from people who didn’t honor a request to sit on a jury.

When all is said and done, it’s in your best interest to obey the jury summons. If you have a exceptionally good reason for not being able to honor the request, talk to the judge. They may accept your excuse and let you off the hook.


LAPD Cracks Down On Street Takeovers

LAPD Cracks Down On Street Takeovers

It is no secret that Los Angeles County has been experiencing an increase in dangerous vehicular activities this year. From street racing to takeovers, hundreds of people all over Southern California have been participating in this dangerous and illegal activity. In an effort to crack down on these activities, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) created a street racing task force back in August.

Over the last month or so, there have been multiple incidents of large groups of people blocking of intersections and parking lots in order to perform dangerous stunts in front of large crowds. Nothing separates the vehicles from the bystanders, and several recorded instances show multiple people almost being hit by the vehicles.

These kinds of events are dangerous and illegal. Participants can be arrested and have their vehicles towed and impounded. This is what happened to a few individuals who were recently caught street racing. As far as charges go, people caught participating or even viewing illegal spectacles such as this can face:

  • Unlawful assembly
  • Reckless driving
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Vehicular manslaughter

These kinds of activities are illegal because they are dangerous. Under normal circumstances, a person may only be charged with reckless driving. However, if a bystander is hurt or killed, the driver could face assault with a deadly weapon charges and/or vehicular manslaughter charges. This is regardless if the accident was on purpose or not.

This is why the LAPD, as well as other law enforcement agencies, encourage safe driving. Nobody wants to get hurt, and nobody wants to be responsible for hurting someone else.


The 3 Levels Of Crimes

The 3 Levels Of Crimes

When it comes to getting in trouble with the law, there are three levels of offense. Crimes are spread across these three levels, which is why different crimes earn a person different severities of punishment.

The three different levels are:

  • Infractions
  • Misdemeanors
  • Felonies

Every crime that you can think of can be placed into one of these categories. Some crimes can fall between two categories, meaning they can be charged as one or the other. These kinds of crimes are called wobblers, and the severity of the punishment is often decided by the prosecution based upon the details of the crime itself.

Infractions are the lowest level of crimes and it include things such as traffic violations. Since these are usually minor crimes, they can only earn a person small fines with no risk of jail time. This is how parking in the wrong place can earn a person a ticket, but not jail time. However, some crimes such as speeding, can be bumped up to the next level if the crime was considered dangerous enough.

Misdemeanor crimes are the mid-level crimes, which is a pretty wide field in the state of California. Most crimes fall into this category, unless they were very violent or dangerous. Misdemeanors can earn a person fines up to $1,000 and jail time no longer than 1 year.

Felonies are the worst crimes that a person can commit, and as such, carry the heftiest consequences. Felonies can be punished with fines up to $10,000 and up to life in prison. These are the kinds of penalties people face when they have done something as bad as killing another person.

Knowing the differences between the three levels of crimes can come in handy. It helps a person to know how much trouble they or a loved one are in when they have been charged with something.


What You Need To Know About Police Radar Jammer Devices

What You Need To Know About Police Radar Jammer Devices

Even though you’re in a hurry to get to your destination, you don’t want to get a speeding ticket. Not only does getting pulled over mean you’re even later getting to work, but there’s also the expense of the fine, plus the extra points on your driving record means your insurance premiums will sky rocket.

One of the things that many motorists consider when they’re hunting for ways to speed and not get caught is the possibility of jamming the police radar. If the officer doesn’t know how fast you’re going, they can’t pull you over.

If your about to purchase a device designed to jam a police radar, don’t. The only thing the device will bring to your life is trouble.

First, using a radar jammer is a Federal offense, and one the courts take seriously. If you get caught using one, a speeding ticket will be the least of your worries.

Not only will driving a vehicle that’s equipped with a radar jamming device get you into serious legal trouble, but now that most officers use laser speed guns or LIDARs means that the laser jammer doesn’t even work. The officer still knows exactly how fast you’re driving.

In California, laws have been passed that specifically prohibit any attempt to interfere with both police laser and radar devices is illegal. California Vehicle Code Section 28150 (Division 12: Equipment of Vehicles, Chapter 5: Other Equipment, Article 17: Jamming Devices) deals with the topic of jammers.

It states that:

  • It’s against the law to drive or equip a vehicle with any type of device that scrambles, jams, disables, or otherwise neutralizes the system a police officer is using to measure the speed of your vehicle.
  • It’s against California’s law to even purchase, possess, or sell a device that’s designed to interfere with the system a police officer is using to measure speed.
  • Having such a device is a misdemeanor.

While you’re not legally allowed to have any device that jams police radars, the state doesn’t currently have any laws stating you can’t have radar detectors in your vehicle. These devices don’t interfere with the system the police use, but they do alert you to the fact that an officer is in the area and that they’re looking for speeding vehicles. Before you rush out to purchase a radar detector, you should know that they’re not always reliable.


Do You Have A Scooter Problem?

Do You Have A Scooter Problem?

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 riders weaving recklessly through traffic and crowded sidewalks alike. 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 594 defines 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?