The Truth about Underage Drinking

The Truth about Underage Drinking

It’s almost time for school to begin, which means summer vacations are over and families across the state are heading back home for the new school year. The start of a new school year also marks the reunification of friends after a summer spent apart. If you’re the parent of a teenager, then chances are you know that when teenagers get around one another, rules can be broken.

As Friday night high school football games begin and the weather cools off, teenagers across the state will begin looking for ways to entertain themselves on the weekends. For some, this could mean bowling, going to the movies, or working out. For others, it could be house parties. Without jumping to conclusions or stereotyping, many times, teenagers use house parties as a means to illegally consume alcohol.

As a parent, it is your job to guide your children into making smart and responsible decisions. In California, consuming alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal. Such as many other states around the country, California has very strict and specific laws in place that prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from consuming or being in possession of alcohol.

Read below to learn more about these general underage drinking laws.

• It is illegal for a minor to be in possession of alcohol in a public space. If convicted, a person may face a fine of $250 and be required to complete community service.
• The state of California has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. If an underage driver is caught with a blood-alcohol level of .01 or higher, they will be charged with a violation of California’s zero-tolerance policy. As consequence, they could be fined and lose their driving privileges for a year or more.
• In addition to the law mentioned above, an underage driver will be charged with a DUI if they are driving or operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .05 or higher.

 

The items mentioned above are just a few examples of California’s underage drinking laws. However, there are also laws regarding contributing to the delinquency of a minor. As a parent or a person in general, you could be charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor if you are caught providing underage children alcohol. A minor can also be charged with this if they are caught providing alcohol to someone underage.

When it comes to underage drinking, just don’t. As a parent, it is never too early to begin having open conversations with your child about the consequences of consuming alcohol illegally. We want to ensure your children are equipped with the knowledge and power to make the right decisions.

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Can Climate Change Increase Suicide Rates?

Can Climate Change Increase Suicide Rates?

If you are like most people, than you probably don’t like it when the temperatures rise too high. Here in Southern California it is not unheard of for the temperatures to rise into the triple digits, which is never fun. This kind of heat can be deadly in its own right, but a recent study by researchers at Stanford has found that higher than average temperatures can increase chances of another problem.

The study looked at how climate change can affect the mental health of a person and found that suicide rates increased when temperatures rose above their monthly average. For every 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature, the monthly suicide rate increases by .68% in the United States. This was a noticeable trend that the researchers found after examining statistics from 1968 to 2004.

Here in the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that suicide claimed around 45,000 lives in the United States during 2016. This is compared to the roughly 800,000 people who die to suicide every year around the globe.

The belief is that when temperatures rise, they increase the likelihood of a person becoming more depressed, which can lead to a higher risk of suicide. Anyone who has ever had to deal with extreme temperatures knows that they don’t always put a person in a great mood.

For anyone who is depressed and struggling with suicide, it is important to know that you are not alone. There are people out there who are willing to help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-8255. They also have a website that offers additional resources, and can be reached here.

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Rules of the Beach

Rules of the Beach

Nobody wants to think about rules once summer rolls around, the season is about freedom after all. However, the rules still need to be followed. If someone decides to ignore them, they can end up facing some serious fines or even jail time. California law doesn’t care what season it is. If a law is broken, a person will get into trouble.

Beaches are the go to place to hang out in the summer when you live in California. Unfortunately, beaches are also the go to spot for tourist as well. Locals often find their favorite surf spots littered with tourist and trash. This can make for a bad relationship between locals and tourists. If you’re a local, try to be patient with the tourist this summer. They may not know that they’re on a private beach, or that it’s a popular surf spot. If you’re a tourist on the beach this summer, please remember to pick up after yourself. California already has enough problems with water population, we don’t need an extra hand.

Aside from littering, beaches have several other rules as well. You can’t just do whatever you’d like on a beach. Most beaches have set aside areas that are designated for certain activities that are banned elsewhere on the beach. It’s always a good idea to see what rules that a beach might have since they change from place to place. For example according to the LA County website, all beaches in LA County have the following rules:

• No animals allowed on the beach (no cats, dogs, horses, etc.)
• No alcoholic beverages
• No smoking
• No tents, or overnight camping
• No fires or barbeques allowed, except in the fire pits at Dockweiler Beach
• No fireworks
• No glass containers
• No loitering between midnight and 6am
• No amplified music
• No nudity
• No diving in shallow water
• No soliciting or selling merchandise
• No littering
• No driving or parking on sand or bike path
• No disturbances
• No swimming, wading, surfing, skin dive, scuba dive, or recreation in the ocean after sundown

 
Like most rules, these rules are designed with your safety in mind. They don’t want glass bottle on the beach because people tend to litter, and broken glass could easily slice someone’s foot open. Loud music may be okay with you and your group of friends when it’s your playlist, but your neighbors on the beach may be offended by your choice of songs.

Rules exist for a reason. Although you may not always agree with that reason, the rule needs to be followed in order for you have the best beach experience. Don’t let the rules get you down. You can always look for beaches that have designated areas for you to have a fire, or a place that allows pets. There are several beaches in California, you just have to find the right one for you.

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Sending Packages to Inmates

Sending Packages to Inmates

What’s your first reaction when you see a loved one in either physical or emotional distress? It’s human nature to want to help solve the problem, alleviate their discomfort, or comfort their sorrows. Unfortunately for our loved ones behind bars these, simple acts of kindness and comfort are nearly impossible to complete. However, there are a few things you can do to help.

In a recent blog post, we discussed five simple ways that you can show support to those you love while they are incarcerated. However, one of the items listed suggested sending letters which can get tricky. With that in mind, we are taking the opportunity in this blog post to delve a little deeper into what is and isn’t acceptable when sending letters and packages to loved ones while they’re in jail.

Let’s get started by discussing the items that cannot be sent to someone in jail. The actual list of prohibited items is pretty exhaustive and includes things such as cell phones, cigarettes, and clothing. Ultimately what is and isn’t allowed into the prison is at the discretion of the corrections officer in charge of mail. They are likely to throw away or return any of the following items that fall into one of the categories below.

• Items that can be used or made into a weapon
• Items that promote violence
• Items that are related to or promote drugs of any kind
• Items that promote sexual deviancy

 
Now that we have what you can’t send to inmate out of the way, let’s take a look at the items you can send. You can send:

Letters and greeting cards – When sending letters and cards, be sure to keep the envelope clear of doodles, fragrances, staples, paper clips or tape – this may alert the corrections officer that you are hiding something inside
Photographs – Something to keep in mind as you select photographs to send is to ensure the photograph does not contain explicit content or nudity.
Money – If you would like to send money to an inmate, please ensure that it is in the form of a money order. Cash is not allowed inside the prison.
Reading Material – Unless prohibited by the prison, inmates may receive books, magazines, and newspapers. However, the reading material may not contain anything that promotes sexuality, violence, or other bad behavior. Please note, the reading material may not directly come from you, it must come from the manufacturer or distributor. This means that you cannot order a book and then send it to the inmate, the book must be sent straight from the website to the inmate.

It’s no surprise that incarceration is difficult for everyone involved. We hope that these guidelines help you decipher what types of items you are able to send to a loved one.

If you or a loved one need help avoiding unnecessary time behind bars while you await your court date, give us a call at 559-733-2070 and find out how we can help.

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Inmate Need Support Too

Inmate Need Support Too

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been incarcerated once or three times, jail can be a scary and nerve-wracking place. Just to give you a glimpse into the life of those incarcerated, they lose 99% of their contact with the outside world, they’re told what to do and when to do it, and they are forced to share a small cell with a complete stranger.

This is not a pleasant thought, but it is the reality that more than 2 million inmates face every day. That’s why it’s up to you, the loved ones of those incarcerated, to show support and help make their days a little brighter. We understand this can be hard to do, so we’ve come up with a few ideas to help you get started.

Send Money – We know that budgets can be tight and money may not be readily available to send, but a little monetary contribution to their fund every now and then can a have a big impact on a loved one’s experience in jail. Without funds, they cannot make simple purchases such as a phone card, paper, or stamps. By having funds in their account they will also be able to purchase snacks, which is a great alternative to the food served in prison. It’s a simple process and can be completed over the phone simply by knowing their full name and booking number.
Visit Often – There are a million ways to spend your Saturday and visiting a loved one in jail probably isn’t at the top of your list, but it should be. It’s understandable that scheduling a visit can’t be done every weekend, but you should try to make it a priority to visit loved ones as often as you can. If you can’t go, find a family friend that is free that day and see if they can stop by. You would never believe what a simple visit from a familiar face can do for an inmate’s mental health.
Write Letters – This is probably the easiest suggestion on the list because it’s one that you can do in your own time and is super cheap to do. If you can, write them a letter once a week and tell them about what is going on in your life, about different things that are happening within the family, and catch them up on local news. In fact, you can include small pictures of loved ones.
Don’t Ignore Their Calls – The ability to make a phone call is a big deal to an inmate because in order to make a call they may have to wait in a long time for an open phone line and use valuable or limited funds. We understand that sometimes you’re busy and unable to answer their call, but just by answering, saying hello, and scheduling a time to have a later conversation you can make their day a little brighter.
Show An Interest In Their Life – If time and money are a problem, this suggestion is for you. When you do get the chance to talk to a loved one, whether it be on the phone or in a letter, ask them how they are doing. They might not have a lot happening, but chances are they will be eager to tell you about recreation, the latest gossip, or provide you with an update on their court case.

These may only be five simple suggestions to help provide support for a loved one in jail, but they are five suggestions that anyone can do. While these are great things to keep in mind for yourself, pass the ideas along to extended family members, friends, or your local congregation so they can reach out and show their support too.

If you or a family member need financial support to post a bail bond as a means to avoid unnecessary jail time, call us at 559-733-2070 to find out how we can help.

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How to Be Safe Near Rails

How to Be Safe Near Rails

Trains are fairly prominent in most people’s lives, even if you rarely ever ride one. There are around 5,000 miles of rail road here in the state of California which makes it very likely that a person will come across some tracks. While the train tracks may not consistently have trains running on them, that does not mean that they are inactive.

Freight trains are very inconsistent, unlike passenger trains who run on tight schedules. This lulls people into a false sense of security sometimes when near train tracks, which is what causes accidents. Railroads can be very dangerous, and it is important for anyone walking near them to keep their ears open. The tracks will begin to hum as a train approaches, and when that happens, get away from the rails.

Unlike cars, trains cannot swerve to avoid a person or vehicle. They are stuck to the rails, and they will never be able to stop in time to avoid hitting someone. This is simple physics: an object in motion stays in motion. The momentum of the several pound train will not allow it to stop in less than a mile. By the time an engineer sees that there is something on the tracks, it is already too late to stop.

If you ever get stuck on train tracks, or see someone else stuck, dial 911. Alert them to the problem, and they will alert the railroad company in charge of that stretch of track. The company will attempt to shut down all train operations on the line until the problem has been dealt with.

Lastly, beware of the illusion that trains are further away than they think. Their size, the way the rails converge, and the right viewing angle can all combine to make the train look like it is moving slower than it actually is. This can cause people to think it is safe to cross tracks when it really isn’t.

When it comes to train tracks, always stay alert. A freight train can come along at any moment, and you do not want to be caught off guard.

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Road Trip 101

Road Trip 101

Summer is for lazy pool days, family vacations, and road trips! If you’re like the 80% of Americans who ventured out on a road trip in 2017 then you know that road trips can be a lot of fun. However, they can also be a little nerve-wracking if you’ve never taken one before. That’s why we’re here to give you a few “rules of the road” for your summer trips. Read below for a list of our top 5 tips for road trips.

Have a “check-up” completed – It sounds unnecessary but we can’t express how important it is to take your car to a trusted mechanic and have them complete a total body inspection of your car. They will inspect all the hoses, tires, brakes, windshield wipers, and top off your fluids. The initial price of the inspection is only about $50 but can fluctuate depending on if the shop finds any problems. It’s a hassle and just adds to the never-ending list of things you need to do before you embark on your journey, but the peace of mind as you drive is well worth it.

Submit travel plans to your bank – Can you imagine stopping to grab a bite to eat after a long day of driving and having your debit or credit card declined? Before you leave your home state, be sure to log onto your mobile banking app and submit your travel plans. This alerts your bank that any abnormal purchases in strange states are actually you and not a random credit card thief taking a joyride.

Keep snacks at a minimum – If you’re like the rest of us then you get excited at the thought of all the snacks you can consume on your trip. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the $50 you just spent on snacks at Walmart wasn’t really worth it. Now, it is a good idea to get a few healthy options, maybe some pretzels or peanuts to munch on when you get tired, but don’t go crazy – it might just leave you feeling bloated and sluggish from the lack of activity and influx of snacks.

Pack a case of water – We suggest taking the extra money you allotted for snacks and putting it toward a case of water. We know that some people prefer a reusable water bottle, but you never know if the truck stop is going to have a water fountain to fill up your reusable water bottle. So rather than spending $4 for 2 bottles of water at each pit stop, pack a case of water from the start and you don’t have to worry about it.

Create a music playlist on your phone – In the age of Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora do people really create playlists anymore? Maybe not, but when you are in the middle of the desert, no matter what carrier your phone has, you’re going to lose reception and there aren’t going to be any radio stations. You’re going to be thankful you were prepared and have something to listen to.

Road trips are a great way to see the country, and they are a great bonding activity for your family. We are by no means experts in the field, but based on our experience we think these five tips and tricks will help make your trips much more enjoyable!

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Beat the Heat, Save Some Cash

Beat the Heat, Save Some Cash

If you’ve been living in California for any amount of time then it should come as no surprise that it was ranked as the third most expensive place to live in the United States, this according to a 2017 article published by CNBC. While California may be known as the Golden State, that doesn’t mean you have to strike it rich to live here.

With your paycheck being split between housing, food, and gas, we want to help stretch your family’s budget for the things you want to do – things that don’t include sending money to the government. In an effort to help you cut costs and make room in your summer budget, we bring you the top five ways to cut your summer utility bills.

We’ve taken tips from all over the web, including Forbes and US News to bring you top tips. Read below to save some serious summer cash.

Place heavy or thick drapes over the windows – By hanging heavy drapery over windows and doors you will help keep your home or apartment cool by not letting the sun’s rays through the glass. We know that blackout curtains aren’t cheap. Click here to shop Amazon’s selection of blackout curtains. If there still isn’t room in your budget to cover every window with curtains, buy coverings for only the large windows or doors that face direct sunlight.
Don’t turn off your A.C. – This might sound strange, however, when you turn off your A.C. completely the temperature in your home rises. In turn, when you return home and turn the unit back on the system will have to work twice as hard to cool down your home. Ultimately, using more electricity and causing your energy bill to rise.
Utilize ceiling fans – The great thing about ceiling fans is that they do not use as much electricity as your air conditioning unit, but they help circulate air throughout your home to help keep it cool.
Turn your lights off – This simple and effective step can save big on your electric bill by cutting energy usage during the day and keeping your home cool.
Limit appliance usage – This suggestion is multi-faceted, meaning that it’s not specific to a particular room in your household. By limiting the use of your dryer, dishwasher, and oven you will see your electric bill take a nosedive. Utilize the summer warmth to dry laundry outside, have your kids help wash dirty dishes, and make simple dishes that don’t require the use of your oven or stove.

These are just a few tips and tricks to help you beat the heat and save some cash this summer, but we know that there are thousands of other ideas out there. Drop us a comment below and tell us some of your own tips and tricks to help lower your family’s utility consumption during the summer months.

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The New California Law No One Saw Coming

The New California Law No One Saw Coming

Perhaps one of the more disheartening aspects of law-making is how some laws come into effect. With very little recognition, a new law was recently signed into effect that can, and likely will, change the effectiveness of law enforcement. Assembly Bill 1810 was recently signed into law as a part of California’s new budget. However, this law has very little to do with budgeting.

AB 1810 is supposed to be a health bill, but has more prominence in the law enforcement sector. Under this new law, just about anyone accused a crime, regardless of how serious, could claim a mental health issue and ask to be placed on a two year diversion plan. In other words, a person could say they only committed a crime because they have a problem and then the judge would put him or her into a two year course to correct whatever problem the person claims to have. Upon completion of the course, the person’s record would be sealed, making it as if the crime never happened.

The wording of the bill is very vague, and allows for just about anyone to claim some mental health issue. It is easy to see how this can very easily be used and manipulated to get people out of being punished for a crime. What’s worse, is how little attention this big change in law got. It spent less a week going through Sacramento before being approved by both houses and sent to the Governor for final signature. That is not a lot of time to truly evaluate something this substantial.

Of course, there are some people out there who need a program like this. Something like this can get them the help that they desperately need. Unfortunately, the way the bill is worded, it is very easy for someone to take advantage of this change in procedures, and use it to avoid any real punishment altogether.

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Could Prop 9 Be Stopped Before Anyone Gets to Vote?

Could Prop 9 Be Stopped Before Anyone Gets to Vote?

If you have been paying attention to politics this year in the state of California, you know that we voters have some pretty big decisions to make come November. One of the biggest measures on the ballot this year is whether we want to begin looking at dividing California into three separate states.

This is a very big deal for every Californian, and as such, it is receiving a lot of attention. In fact, a group of people is now trying to block the measure from being added to the November ballot. An environmentalist group, The Planning and Conservation League, sponsored the filing at the California Supreme Court.

The argument against Prop 9 is that it is too big of a decision to give to the people of California. Prop 9 claims that it will only amend the state Constitution, however its critics say that the measure will completely revise the state Constitution. This is something that the California Supreme Court has regularly sided against.

Splitting up the state of California is a very big deal, and this isn’t the first time someone has tried to do this. In fact, this isn’t even the first time that Prop 9’s sponsor tried to split up the state. Tim Draper tried to split California into 6 states back in 2014, but the measure ultimately failed.

California is a pretty big state, and the thought of splitting it up is terrifying for many people. However, splitting up the state is not as simple as voting to do so. Even if Californians approve the measure, it would still need to be approved by the state senate and House of Representatives. From there, it would then go to Congress in Washington DC for final approval, which would be unlikely. A state hasn’t been split since West Virginia separated from Virginia in 1863.

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