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About Robin Sandoval

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Robin Sandoval is a California Licensed Bail Bondsman and owner of SCV Bail Bonds. Robin writes blogs and articles to help increase community awareness of the bail industry. If you have questions or want to suggest a topic, email robin@scvbailbonds.com, visit www.scvbailbonds.com or call 661-299-2245.

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Leave Your Dog in the Car? Better Think Twice About the Legal Issues

| Police Blotter | July 19, 2018

The weather patterns being what they are, it looks like it’s going to be another long, hot, dry summer. That said, it’s important to remember that while you and I can get hot, animals can get even hotter. Even with the shedding of their “winter coats,” dogs can still easily overheat, because they can’t sweat – and panting can only go so far.

If you’re out and about this summer and you decide to take your furry friends with you, think twice before leaving them in the car. Even if you’re “just running inside for a second,” it doesn’t take long for the interior of cars to get very hot and uncomfortable. In conditions like that, animals can overheat very quickly.

You’ve probably seen news stories or read articles about animal lovers who bash out car windows when they discover animals inside. It’s happened several times in the past, and will likely continue to happen well into the future. The act of smashing a complete stranger’s windows may seem like overreacting; and to some it is. Some folks may or may not take a tire iron to the back window of your Benz when they see your pet panting in the back seat; but they will also quickly call in law enforcement to the rescue.

You see, leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle is illegal in the State of California, and is covered under 597.7 PC. To be clear, simply leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle is not in and of itself illegal, it depends on whether or not the animal’s welfare is in danger by being left in the car. If it’s cooler outside, with a light breeze, and the windows are open to provide ventilation, then they may be fine for just a few minutes. But when the temperature is higher, the windows are closed, or the animal appears to be uncomfortable or suffering, then there will be a problem, and it could mean a huge legal one for you
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Convictions of violating 597.7 PC can carry an array of penalties and circumstances under which they can/will be applied. For a first conviction, an individual can be fined $100 per animal, as long as none of the animals left in an unattended vehicle suffered great bodily injury. If the animal does suffer great bodily injury (and it’s still the defendant’s first conviction), then the defendant may face a fine of $500 and a possible six-month stay in county jail. For second convictions, the $500 fine and six-month stay in jail is the penalty he or she will possibly face, regardless of whether or not there was any injury to the animal.

Lastly, leaving an animal unattended in a car can sometimes be seen as an act of neglect, which could bring charges of violating California Penal Code 597 PC, animal neglect. If convicted of this, the defendant can face up to three years in state prison. It’s just not worth the risk, to you or to them.

Expungement of Criminal Charges in California

| Police Blotter | July 12, 2018

Spending time in jail is never easy; the difficulties one can encounter while being incarcerated vary pretty widely depending on the crime he or she was convicted of and the type of facility they were sent to. For example, a person who spends time in county jail for missed child support payments will likely have an easier time than someone who’s sent to Pelican Bay. The reasoning behind this is because the person in county jail will typically be surrounded by others who have been convicted of committing misdemeanors and relatively minor felonies. The individual in Pelican Bay, however, will share their surroundings with a variety of much more dangerous, and often violent criminals.

Unfortunately for many, the difficulties associated with having spent time in custody aren’t necessarily over once a person is released – particularly when searching for employment. When applying for a job, pretty much every employer is going to want to know if the applicant has a prior criminal record, and those who do report extreme difficulty in obtaining employment post-incarceration. Luckily, for those who were sent to county jail instead of state prison, there is hope in the form of California Penal Code 1203.4 PC: California’s Expungement Law.

Expungement is something that an individual can apply for that will have the court seal their criminal records, thereby making it impossible for employers to use that prior criminal conviction against the applicant, as well as making it illegal for them to even bring it up.

To be eligible for expungement, a person must meet three basic criteria:

  • The defendant must have completed their probation successfully (including the payment of any fines and/or court fees, restitution, counseling and/or community service)
  • They must not be currently charged with another criminal offense, on probation for another criminal offense, or currently serving time for another criminal offense, and
  • The defendant cannot have been sentenced to serve time in state prison for the offense or for a parole violation regarding their offense.

Certain offenses are ineligible for expungement. Those offenses are: 286 PC: sodomy with a child, PC 288: lewd acts with a child, PC 288a (c): oral copulation with a child and PC 264.5(d): statutory rape.

An attorney can assist with the expungement process. It includes filling out the necessary paper work, waiting for the court to process it, and then attending an expungement hearing. If an expungement is granted, it can benefit the defendant in a variety of ways, including in the search for employment, obtaining a state professional license, and even help avoid certain consequences involved with immigration. If you think that you or someone you know may be eligible for expungement, be sure to speak with an attorney first. As bail bondsman, we are happy to offer information about laws that exist, but only an attorney is qualified to provide you with advice and counsel.

Get in the Habit of the 9PM Routine to Thwart Thieves

| Canyon Country Magazine | July 10, 2018

People have been breaking into cars to steal what’s inside for a long time, and until auto companies invent vehicles that can’t be broken into, the practice probably isn’t going to disappear any time soon. As a matter of fact, the crime is becoming increasingly common all across the United States. Even here in Canyon Country, despite the numerous police patrols, vehicles are broken into all the time. Sometimes it’s to snatch a cell phone or tablet, other times it’s for the change in the cup holder.

In an effort to help residents take proactive steps to protect themselves, the SCV Sheriff’s Station and other law enforcement agencies have taken to popularizing a protocol known as the 9PM Routine. The routine is simple. It’s a reminder for residents to go out to their vehicles at 9 p.m. every evening and remove their valuables – including loose change – and to make sure the windows are up and the doors are locked (in their vehicles, as well as in their homes).
Simple routines like this can be effective because breaking into someone’s vehicle is a crime of opportunity most of the time. Someone walking by a vehicle notices a pair of expensive sunglasses on the dash, a cell phone on the seat, or even random coins in the center console or cup holder and decides to bash in and relieve the owner of his/her property. When perpetrators peek through a vehicle’s window and see nothing worth stealing, they’re far more likely to move on to other vehicles rather than try their luck breaking into what appears to be an empty car.

Sometimes it’s the little things you can do that keep you from being the victim of a crime, and the 9PM Routine is one of those things. It’s easy, it’s quick, and it’s effective.

California Stalking Law – PC 646.9

| Police Blotter | July 5, 2018

Police responded to popular YouTube star Logan Paul’s residence in Los Angeles recently after two alleged stalkers hopped a fence and vandalized one of his cars. One suspect, a male, was arrested while the other, an underage female, was released into her parents’ custody.

Stalking is covered under California Penal Code 646.9 and is described as (willfully and maliciously) repeatedly following, harassing, or threatening someone to the point that they fear for the safety of themselves and/or their family. Some examples include:
Frequently sending emails to an ex-lover that include threats (either specific or non-specific in nature)
Following someone home from school or work while occasionally making menacing statements to them at work or school
Making frequent unwanted advances toward someone and threatening them if they don’t respond favorably
California has some of the toughest stalking laws in the nation, and they are usually associated with the large number of celebrities who live out here. California’s stalking laws were passed in 1990 in response to the cases involving two actresses: Theresa Saldana and Rebecca Schaeffer, who were both stalked and attacked by deranged fans. Saldana was stalked and repeatedly stabbed, though she survived. Schaeffer, unfortunately, wasn’t as lucky and did not survive the attack.

Interestingly, celebrity stalking cases comprise a very small amount of California’s stalking cases. Most of the time, stalking cases come from someone who the victim already knows, and the stalking occurs via the internet (cyberstalking), through the workplace, or in connection to a domestic violence case. Additionally, 80 percent of stalking victims are female.

Stalking can occur in a variety of ways, including following someone or “accidentally” running into them repeatedly, sending emails, voice mails or text messages, calling them on the phone, driving by their home or office, sending unwanted gifts, and gathering an inordinate amount of information about someone. If the victim of a stalking is a current or ex-lover, a roommate, a parent of one of your children, or someone you were dating, the crime will be known as “intimate partner stalking” and be addressed under California’s domestic violence laws.

Stalking is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the defendant’s prior criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the specific case. However, the crime will always be charged as a felony if the victim had a restraining order active against the defendant, and/or the defendant has a prior stalking conviction.

When charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include the typical misdemeanor penalties of informal probation, up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. It can also include a restraining order against the defendant and/or treatment in a mental facility. Felony penalties include formal probation, 16 months to five years in California state prison, a maximum $1,000 fine, a restraining order, possible treatment at a mental health facility, and possible registration as a sex offender.

Fourth of July Celebrations in Santa Clarita

| Community | June 29, 2018

The Fourth of July is holiday is upon us once again, and Santa Clarita is hosting several events and festivities for residents to celebrate Independence Day. The celebration begins with the Independence Day 5K and 10K runs hosted by the Santa Clarita Runners’ Club. The race follows the Fourth of July parade route beginning at Newhall Park at 7 a.m. for the 10K, 7:45 a.m. for the Kid K, and at 8 a.m. for the 5K run/walk. The whole community is invited to attend and cheer the runners on, but those who want to participate will have to pre-register at scrunners.org.

For the early birds out there, the Santa Clarita Rotary Club will be hosting their annual pancake breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Roger Dunn Golf Shop at 24200 Main St. in Santa Clarita. The breakfast includes pancakes, coffee, and sausage and costs $5 per person; the proceeds will be donated to various charities. If you’re an early-riser, come and enjoy a delicious breakfast and find out what a rotary club is.

Once the races have finished, Santa Clarita’s Fourth of July Parade will begin at 9 a.m. The parade route begins in Old Town Newhall and continues down Lyons Avenue and Orchard Village before finishing at 16th Street.

To close the city’s festivities, the fireworks show begins at 9:15 p.m. The show takes place at the Westfield Valencia Town Center and will likely receive heavy attendance this year as it does every year. Those looking for a good spot are encouraged to arrive early to stake out a good spot. If you do plan to show up early, be sure to bring good sunscreen, chairs, water, and even an umbrella or two to create a little shade. The Fourth is usually hot, and prolonged exposure to the sun can be dangerous.

Last but not least, remember to be responsible and stay safe this Fourth of July. If you choose to consume alcohol, whether on the Fourth, on the weekend, or both, don’t drink and drive. There are plenty of alternatives for getting home safely, including a designated driver, the use of a ride-hailing app, or simply choosing to stay where you are and getting a hotel/motel room. Law enforcement agencies will be conducting DUI stops and saturation patrols all over Los Angeles County, and there will be zero-tolerance given for those who choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, if you witness a friend under the influence who is getting behind the wheel, stop them. There is always a spike in the numbers of alcohol-related collisions around holidays, but taking responsibility for ourselves, our friends, and our loved ones can help reduce those numbers and keep ourselves and our community safe.

Firework Safety in Santa Clarita This—And Every Season

| Police Blotter | June 14, 2018

While some folks are still dealing with the effects of this weeks “South Fire” which forced evacuations in Santa Clarita, it goes without saying that fireworks are strictly controlled and prohibited in California under Health and Safety Code 12500 – 12728 HS.

Under these laws, fireworks are divided into two separate categories: “safe and sane fireworks” and “dangerous fireworks.” Those that fall under the “dangerous fireworks” category, such as large rockets, explosives, and sparklers longer than 10 inches, or greater in diameter than 1/4 inch are always illegal in California. The “safe and sane fireworks” category includes fountains, spinners, and snap ‘n’ pops.

Like many of California’s laws, HS 12500 – 12728 are flexible, allowing counties to make changes to the laws which provide further restrictions. That being the case, in Los Angeles County, ALL fireworks are considered illegal – even those that fall under the “safe and sane” category. The restriction may seem heavy-handed, though in this case it’s probably the safest thing to do. L.A. County is prone to wildfires, and last year’s wildfire season was the worst ever recorded. There were 43 people who lost their lives, over 9,000 homes were burned and over one million acres were devastated by raging wildfires that taxed the limits of our firefighters’ abilities to contain them.

All it takes to start a fire that can quickly get out of control is a single spark, and under the right conditions, embers have been known to travel as far as a few miles before finding and igniting a piece of brush. Due to last year’s rainfall, there’s a great deal more dry vegetation in and around the county this year, making this season’s potential for wildfires even worse than previous years.

If you choose to light fireworks this year in celebration of the 4th of July, make sure to buy them from legal vendors and remain in counties ONLY where they’re legal. Additionally, be sure to light them in areas free of vegetation and dry brush. Whether legal in your county or not, the threat of wildfires in Southern California is very real, and taking a few simple precautions can help keep you, your friends, and your neighbors safe.

Remember: All fireworks are illegal in Los Angeles County. If you spot anyone lighting them off in the weeks leading up to the 4th of July celebration, call the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121.

California Penal Code 417 PC – Brandishing a Firearm

| Police Blotter | June 7, 2018

Firearms and who should be prohibited from owning them has been a hotly-debated issue in the U.S. for decades. According to the Second Amendment, “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” While the ability to “keep and bear arms” isn’t going anywhere, just how those arms are kept and borne is subject to regulation by the state.

One of those regulations is California Penal Code 417 PC – brandishing a deadly weapon or firearm. PC 417 makes it illegal to “draw, exhibit, or using a deadly weapon or firearm in a manner that is rude, angry or threatening.” For example, suppose two people get into an argument and one of them pulls out a gun so that the other can see it. It’s possible that the person who brandished the weapon could be charged with violating 417 PC, because the implication was that they’re willing to use the weapon to resolve the argument.

A deadly weapon is any object, instrument or weapon that is inherently dangerous or that is used in such a way that it could cause great bodily injury or death. This is a very broad definition that encompasses a very wide variety of objects including tools, pipes, cutlery, and even broken glass. The definition of a firearm under 417 PC is “any device designed to be used as a weapon, from which is expelled through the barrel, a projectile through the force of any explosion or other form of combustion.” This includes traditional guns as well as homemade items like zip guns. It does not include pellet or BB guns because they do not fire through force generated by combustion or explosions, they’re instead fired through the use of compressed gasses.

Brandishing a firearm under 417 PC is not illegal if the weapon was brandished in self-defense or the defense of others. Generally speaking, self-defense and the defense of others includes situations in which:

You reasonably believe that you or someone else is in imminent danger of suffering harm, AND
You fight back with no more force than is reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.

Basically, just because one has a firearm, that doesn’t mean they should use it in any situation in which they need to defend themselves or others. It should only ever be brandished/used in a situation where that type of force is reasonably necessary to protect oneself or others.

417 PC can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the specific incident. Misdemeanor penalties include a minimum of three months to a maximum one year in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine. When facing felony-level charges, the possible penalties include 16 months to three years in California state prison.

What Happens After a DUI Arrest?

| Police Blotter | May 31, 2018

If you were out and about after 6 p.m. on Memorial Day weekend, you may have come across one or more DUI stops. These stops are usually put in strategic places with the dual purposes of serving as a deterrent to keep intoxicated drivers off the roads and to hopefully catch those who drive anyway. When someone chooses to drive under the influence, their actions can have tragic results for both them and any innocent motorists or pedestrians unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Driving while impaired is extremely dangerous, and if someone is stopped by police, whether at one of the checkpoints or anywhere else, and is found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the penalties are severe.

The penalties for a first offense can vary significantly, and will depend on the circumstances of each individual case. Generally speaking, when someone is caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or above, they’re likely to face penalties that include:

  • 3 to 5 years of informal probation
  • Up to 6 months in county jail
  • $1,500 to $2,000 in fines and penalty assessments
  • A 3-month court-approved alcohol and/or drug education program
  • Driver’s license suspension of 6 months

When someone is sentenced to probation for a first-time DUI, the following conditions are always included:

The defendant must not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood
On a second suspected DUI, the defendant shall not refuse a chemical test of blood, breath, or urine
The defendant shall not commit any other crimes

DUI convictions fall into a legal category known as “priorable offenses,” a term which indicates that the penalties for committing the crime get worse if someone commits the crime again within a 10-year period. For example, when a defendant is convicted of driving under the influence the first time, they’ll face penalties similar to those above. For a second offense, they’ll face penalties that include:

  • 3 to 5 years of informal probation
  • A minimum of 96 hours and maximum of 1 year in county jail
  • Between $390 and $1,000 in fines
  • Completion of an 18- to 30-month court-approved DUI school and
  • A 2-year driver’s license suspension that can be converted to a restricted license only after 12 months

The penalties above are for misdemeanor DUI charges. If another party is injured as a result of a defendant driving under the influence, the crime becomes a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a felony, the penalties include:

  • 16 months to 10 years in California state prison
  • A possible “strike” on the defendant’s record under California’s Three Strikes Law
  • $1,015 to $5,000 in fines
  • Mandatory completion of an 18- to 30-month court-approved alcohol or drug program
  • Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) status for 3 years and
  • Possible restitution to all parties

When another person is killed as a result of someone driving under the influence, it’s possible to be charged with vehicular manslaughter or even murder, depending on the circumstances surrounding the individual case.

This day and age, it’s never been easier to refrain from driving under the influence, thanks to the variety of alternatives available like ride-hailing apps. The legal consequences for a DUI can be tough, especially the inability to drive, and can lead to significant difficulties getting to work or school. If a collision occurs and someone is injured or killed, the legal consequences, and the emotional consequences, can be severe.

Strange Series of Events Leads to Recovery of Stolen SUV – PC487(d)(1)

| Police Blotter | May 24, 2018

When a man went out for a leisurely bicycle ride on the streets of Venice Beach one day, he had no idea what would occur as a result. It all started when the man saw his wife’s SUV – which had been reported stolen a week prior – being driven by a woman he didn’t know. When the man called the police to report that he’d located his wife’s missing SUV, the suspect attempted to take off on foot. That’s when YouTube star Mathew Santoro, who happened to be in the area, started filming the suspect’s attempted escape. Santoro Tweeted the video asking users to forward it to the police, which they quickly did, sending LAPD officers in the area to apprehend the suspect.

In the end, the SUV was recovered and the suspect was booked on suspicion of grand theft auto. The YouTube star was later thanked on Twitter via DM by the LAPD for his help in solving the crime and apprehending the suspect.

Grand Theft Auto is covered under California Penal Code 487(d)(1) and is described as the unlawful taking of someone else’s vehicle worth more than $950, without their permission, with the intention of depriving the owner of its use, either permanently or for a period of time during which the owner would be deprived of a significant portion of the vehicle’s value or enjoyment of it.

Interestingly, for someone to be charged with violating PC 487(d)(1) the vehicle has to be moved and kept for a period of time. The distance in which it must be moved can be very short, as can the period of time during which the owner was deprived of the vehicle, but both must occur for this particular crime to be committed.

Grand theft auto commonly occurs via larceny – that is, the taking of a vehicle without the owner’s permission – but it can also occur via deceit or false pretenses. For example, if an individual is able to convince the owner of a vehicle to allow him to take possession of it under the pretense that the period of possession would be temporary, and then doesn’t return the vehicle, it’s possible for him to be charged with grand theft auto via trick.

Grand theft auto is a form of California grand theft (California Penal Code 487 PC), and carries the same penalties. Grand theft is a “wobbler” under California Law, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. However, more often than not, the crime is charged as a felony with the possible penalties including: 16 months to three years in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both jail time and the fine. For vehicles worth $65,000 or more, an additional year in jail is added to the sentence, and if the vehicle is worth $200,000 or more, a second year is added.

Animal Cruelty 597 PC

| Police Blotter | May 19, 2018

Recently, an SCV deputy rescued a dog left in a hot vehicle in the parking lot of Walmart in Canyon Country. The temperature outside was 90 degrees, meaning that the temperature inside the car could get as high as 130 degrees. To get the dog out, the deputy had to break one of the windows – something both police and the public are legally allowed to do – because the owner couldn’t be located. Once the owner returned to the vehicle, she was arrested on animal cruelty charges.

Animal cruelty laws in California are covered under California Penal Code 597 PC and make it illegal to kill, physically harm, overwork or neglect an animal. The law’s definition covers a wide variety of behaviors, including things like leaving an animal unattended in a vehicle (597.7 PC), cockfighting, and dog fighting (597.5 PC). The crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the crime and the defendant’s prior criminal history.

It isn’t illegal in and of itself to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle. However, it becomes a crime if doing so endangers the animal’s health or well-being. Certain conditions, such as the weather, ventilation, whether the animal has food or water, or any other circumstances that could reasonably lead to the suffering or death of the animal, are taken into consideration when police are deciding whether or not to charge someone with violating 597.7 PC.

The law is relatively new, having been first enacted in 2006, and the state Legislature based the law on the fact that California weather can make leaving an animal in a vehicle extremely hazardous to the animal’s health. Previously, only the police had the right to break into someone’s vehicle to rescue a suffering animal. However, recently a law was passed allowing members of the public to do so, as well. A member of the public is allowed to break into a vehicle to rescue the animal if it’s clearly suffering, or if the owner of the vehicle is unable to be located for a period of time and authorities have been contacted. It should be noted that if the animal doesn’t appear to be in imminent danger, it’s best to let the police decide whether or not to break someone’s window.

Penalties for leaving an animal unattended in a vehicle vary significantly. If the animal suffered no bodily injury, the penalty is a $100 fine, per animal, for first-time offenders. If the animal does suffer harm, the charge is upgraded from an infraction to a misdemeanor, with the possible penalties of a $500 fine and up to six months in jail. Since leaving an animal unattended in a vehicle is also a sign of neglect, it’s very possible for someone to be charged with the more serious crime of animal abuse, with the potential penalty of up to three years in California state prison.

Pedestrians at Fault in Several Fatal San Fernando Collisions

| Police Blotter | May 10, 2018

The LAPD is urging pedestrians to take care and pay attention when crossing the street. According to data collected by the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division, 7 of the 10 pedestrian fatalities that occurred between January 1 and April 21 in the San Fernando Valley were the fault of pedestrians – not motorists. When crossing the street, pedestrians are supposed to use crosswalks or cross corner-to-corner. None of those killed by motorists followed these rules; they were found to have been crossing the street illegally.

One of the reasons for the increase in at-fault pedestrian fatalities is believed to be, ironically, the same thing that’s been plaguing motorists: not paying attention. It happens all the time, someone walking along a sidewalk, head down and texting away, as other people are forced to step out of the way to avoid being bumped into. As idiotic as it may seem, people continue to exhibit this behavior when stepping into the street. Whether it’s because they’re oblivious to the world around them, or because they think that cars on the road will show them the same courtesy other pedestrians do is anyone’s guess.

Another factor believed to play in to the rise in pedestrians being at-fault in fatal collisions is the mistaken belief that pedestrians always have the right of way. According to California Vehicle Code 21950: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”

Basically, pedestrians do have the right-of-way – in crosswalks (marked or not) at intersections. Taking it even further, California Vehicle Code 21950(b) states that “No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

This section of the law generally gives vehicles the right-of-way in areas where pedestrians don’t have it, or if the vehicle is close enough to the pedestrian that stepping off the curb would be dangerous.

Ultimately, knowledge of where and when a pedestrian has the right-of-way can be useful, and help you be a more conscientious citizen, but knowledge of California Vehicle Codes isn’t necessary; paying attention, crossing at a crosswalk and/or not stepping into traffic can significantly reduce the chances of being hit by a motorist.

Safety Tips for the Next Fire Season

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 7, 2018

As it continues to get hotter, the weather and the landscape prime themselves for the upcoming wildfire season. Whether a fire is started by natural means, an accident, or arson, its effects can be devastating for communities that exist in areas prone to their occurrence. Below are some tips to help you keep your home and your family safe.

Create an Evacuation Plan Checklist
If your home is near the path of a wildfire, you’re likely going to be evacuated. If it is near one, you may face voluntary evacuation. Whatever the case, evacuating is nothing if not stressful, so create a checklist and keep it handy, in the event you find yourself having to leave your home. The checklist should include things like moving flammable furniture into the center of the room – away from windows and doors; shuting off the a/c; moving flammable items that are outside your home (such as propane BBQs) away from the house; and preparing pets for transport.

Make an Emergency Supply Kit
Your emergency supply kit should include non-perishable food, water, maps with at least two exits from your area clearly marked, a change of clothing, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, copies of important documents (i.e. birth certificates), and pet food.

Have a Place to Go Beforehand
In the event of evacuation, knowing someplace you can go beforehand can help alleviate a lot of stress. If you have friends or relatives who live close enough to travel to easily, but far enough to not also be under the same threat you are, speak to them and make sure they’re willing to take you in.

Wildfires can be scary and unpredictable, but knowing how to keep you and your family safe and taking steps to ready yourself beforehand can make a harrowing experience go a lot smoother. If you’d like to know more about how to protect yourself during fire season, you can go to www.calfire.ca.gov.

The High Cost of Vandalism

| Police Blotter | May 3, 2018

In a brazen act, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station was vandalized last week. The vandalism came in the form of writing spray painted on the front and side of the station that referenced a DEA agent killed in 1985, along with other cryptic phrases that might be nonsense. The crime was committed Thursday, April 26 at about 10:45 p.m. when surveillance cameras spotted the suspect approaching on a foot-powered scooter. The suspect then spray painted his message and quickly rode away.

Upon discovering the writing, deputies reviewed the footage caught on camera and were able to identify the suspect a few hours later. On Sunday, April 29, deputies arrested the suspect, a 26-year-old Castaic man, at his home without incident. He was booked on felony vandalism charges at the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station.

Vandalism is a fairly common crime, and odds are you’ve seen it many times. From writing scratched on bathroom walls to extravagant murals some folks refer to as street art, it’s all ultimately vandalism and therefore illegal. California Penal Code 594 PC covers vandalism and describes it as damaging, destroying, or defacing with graffiti or other written material, someone else’s property. The description of the crime allows for a broad interpretation, and some surprising things can be considered vandalism under the law. For example, if a married couple gets into an argument and one of them smashes a glass or a dish that they own together, it can be considered vandalism. So, too, can the otherwise innocuous act of writing one’s initials in wet cement. The bottom line is that if the property belongs to someone else (even if it also belongs to you) and you damage, destroy or deface it, you can be charged with vandalism.

The penalties for vandalism are pretty steep, given its ubiquity, and bail amounts can be set as high as $50,000. The crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the value of the property that was damaged or destroyed. Generally, if the value was less than $400, the crime will be charged as a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of informal probation (with possible conditions including counseling, community service, drivers license suspension), up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 ($5,000 for repeat-offenders). If the value of the property was $400 or more, the crime can be charged as a felony with the possible penalties of up to one year in county jail with probation or 16 months to three years in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000 (or $50,000 for repeat-offenders) and/or probation under the same conditions as above.

Last, but not least, when it’s municipal or community property that’s vandalized, it will most often be repaired using taxpayer funds.

Five Charged with 166 Counts in Largest Recycling Fraud Case in California History

| Police Blotter | April 26, 2018

Five people have been charged by the State of California, suspected of defrauding the state’s recycling program of over $80 million. The suspects include the owner and four employees of the Recycling Services Alliance Corporation who, according to State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, spent several years defrauding the state. They allegedly accepted recyclable cans and bottles purchased in other states, then forged the paperwork involved to make it appear as though they were purchased in California.

The scam is said to have been the largest ever perpetrated in the state in regard to recycling, and centered around the 5- and 10-cent deposits that are paid when someone buys beverages stored in recyclable containers. The deposits can be recouped by consumers who take the empty containers to recycling centers. The program is self-funded, and the centers themselves are supposed to only accept eligible containers that were sold in the State of California. The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery says that the program has been suffering from financial problems that has resulted in several private recycling centers having to close. It’s likely that the fraud allegedly perpetrated by the Recycling Services Alliance Corporation has had something to do with that.

In all, the five suspects have been charged with 166 counts, including grand theft, perjury, conspiracy, and recycling fraud.

California Penal Code 487 PC covers grand theft and describes the crime as the unlawful taking of someone else’s property, and that the property is valued at or above $950. Penal Code 487 is a “wobbler,” meaning that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges include the penalties of up to one year in county jail, while felony penalties include formal probation with up to one year in county jail or between 16 months and three years in county jail.

California Penal Code 118 PC covers perjury and describes the crime as deliberately giving false information while under oath. Perjury is always a felony under California law and the penalties include up to four years in California state prison. However, the sentencing is dependent upon the discretion of the judge, and could result in probation and no actual jail time.

Conspiracy is covered under California Penal Code 182 PC and is described as one individual agreeing with at least one other individual to commit a crime and one of those people commits an act in furtherance of that crime. Conspiracy charges are penalized dependent upon the type of conspiracy in which one is involved. Typically, if one is charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, then the penalties associated with the conspiracy charge will be the same as those of the original felony.

California Penal Code 422 PC Criminal Threats

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 23, 2018

Two suspects were arrested in Canyon Country in a neighborhood near the intersection of Sand Canyon and Soledad Canyon roads last month after a short pursuit by Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station deputies. It’s believed that the principal suspect in the case, a male, entered a business near the same intersection and proceeded to make threats while attempting to shoplift. The second suspect, a female, is believed to have acted as an accessory after the fact when she attempted to act as a getaway driver at some point during the incident.

Threatening someone isn’t a good idea, but it’s not necessarily illegal either. To be charged with making criminal threats, certain criteria must be met while making them. One must threaten to kill or physically harm someone and all of the following:

  • The person is put into a place of reasonably sustained fear for their safety or that of their family
  • The threat is specific and unequivocal23One communicates the threat verbally, in writing, or via some electronic device

For example, claiming to shoot someone while holding a gun, or indicating that you have a gun, would qualify as a criminal threat because it fits all three of the listed criteria. Alternatively, holding a gun and telling someone they “had better watch out” may not result in charges because the threat is implied as opposed to being “specific and unequivocal.”

Interestingly, one can be charged with making criminal threats even when they are physically unable to carry out the threat, or if they never intended to carry it out at all. The key result, then, is putting someone in a state of actual fear by making the threat.

California Penal Code 422 PC can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor convictions carry the possible penalties of a $1,000 fine and/or up to one year in county jail. Felony convictions can result in up to three years in California state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Additionally, if someone makes threats against more than one person, on more than one occasion, or pursuant to different objectives, the defendant can face charges for each threat they communicate.

Penal Code 350 PC Counterfeiting Marks

| Police Blotter | April 19, 2018

A recent bust that took place in downtown Los Angeles’ fashion district netted over $700,000 worth of phony cosmetics. The fraudulent products included popular brands like MAC, NARS and Urban Decay. The worst part about the counterfeit products wasn’t that consumers were being ripped off, but the fact that after testing, all of the products were found to contain lead, bacteria, and traces of animal feces. Authorities were first tipped off when consumers complained of rashes and other irritations of the skin after using the fake eyeliner, lipstick, and eye shadow.

According to authorities, the counterfeit products looked almost identical to authentic ones, though the cheap prices should have raised red flags with consumers.

Counterfeiting of merchandise, like makeup, falls under California Penal Code 350 PC. The law makes it illegal to sell, manufacture, or possess for sale, any counterfeit “mark.” A counterfeit “mark” refers to any fake trademark/brand that is identical to, or confusingly similar to, a mark that is registered with the U.S. Trademark Office or the California Secretary of State. The description provides for those who would, in an attempt to sneak past the law, slightly alter a company logo. They attempt to either pass a counterfeit product off as an authentic one by directly telling shoppers the product is genuine, or by hoping that the slight difference in marks goes unnoticed by the buyer.

Simply possessing knock-off goods isn’t enough to get one arrested, nor is buying them. In order to be charged with violating Penal Code 350 PC, one must knowingly possess the counterfeit marks with the intent of selling the items.

The penalties under PC 350 will depend on the value of the counterfeit goods involved, as well as their number. If fewer than 1,000 counterfeit items are involved, and the goods have a total fair market retail value of less than $950, the crime will be charged as a misdemeanor. The possible penalties for misdemeanor convictions include misdemeanor probation, up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for individuals or $200,000 for companies. However, if the total number of counterfeit marks exceeds 1,000, or if the fair market value of the goods is $950 or greater, the crime becomes a «wobbler» that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted on felony charges, defendants face the penalties of formal probation, 16 months to three years in county jail and/or a fine of up to $500,000 for individuals or $1,000,000 for companies. Additionally, when convicted of violating California Penal Code 350 PC, the court will order the asset forfeiture of all counterfeit marks and the goods that bear them, the machines and/or materials used to manufacture the counterfeit marks, and any vehicles used to transport them.

Last, if in selling or manufacturing counterfeit marks a person was killed or suffered great bodily injury, the charge is always a felony and the potential jail sentence is increased to 2 to 4 years in county jail.

PC 166 – Contempt of Court

| Police Blotter | April 12, 2018

California Penal Code 166 PC outlines the punishments for being in “contempt of court.” Those who are charged with violating PC 166 are usually people who perform behaviors that are considered disrespectful to the court process, including:

Inappropriately interrupting court proceedings by being excessively loud, engaging in disrespectful or disorderly conduct, or other behaviors considered to be disruptive
Willfully disobeying a lawfully issued court order
Refusing to perform your duties as a witness when in situations where you have no legal right to do so
Publishing extremely inaccurate or false accounts of court proceedings
Willfully and knowingly violating a protective or stay-away court order (also known as a restraining order) which involves domestic violence, elder abuse, or adult dependent abuse

You’ve probably seen fictional depictions of the first item on this list on television and in movies; it’s a fairly common courtroom trope. Being charged with contempt of court for being disruptive isn’t nearly as common in real life as it is on TV. Usually when someone is charged with contempt of court, it’s because they violated a court order, such as the terms of their probation. Technically, when someone violates their probation, they’re engaging in the willful disobedience of a court order, however they’re charged separately in a California probation violation hearing.

Aside from probation violations, in order to be convicted of having violated a court order, a few things have to be proven: the judge must have issued a legal order, you must have known about the order and had the ability to comply with it but willfully chosen not to do so. For example, suppose a judge grants a restraining order to the victim of domestic violence that stipulates that his/her former partner must completely avoid contact with the victim. It isn’t too difficult because they live far enough away from each other that accidentally meeting up socially isn’t likely. Despite this, the person who must refrain from initiating contact calls the victim on the phone every day. Since they willfully chose not to heed the judge’s order, it’s possible that the perpetrator will be charged with contempt of court.

Most violations of contempt of court are misdemeanors, and are punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in county jail. However, there are a few exceptions with harsher sentences. The individual in the example outlined above, who has a restraining order for committing domestic violence, could face up to one year in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000 if convicted of a misdemeanor. However, if the charge is increased to the felony level, the suspect faces a maximum fine of up to $10,000 and 16 months to three years in California state prison.

Tips for Preventing the Dangers of Online Dating

| Police Blotter | April 6, 2018

Law enforcement, as well as a woman who was allegedly victimized by an ex-contestant of “Millionaire Matchmaker,” are asking potential victims to come forward and tell their stories.

According to the alleged victim’s story, she had been communicating with the suspect over a dating website for two months in 2015 before they finally decided to meet up in person. Once they met, the victim allegedly endured physical and sexual assaults and abuse at the hands of the suspect, and was deeply traumatized as a result.

She claims that the severe emotional damage she incurred during her time with the suspect has lead to losing her job, her home, her friends, and has caused her to develop severe social phobias.

The suspect is about to go to trial on charges related to drugging and raping three other women in 2014 and 2015. Those charges include sexual penetration by a foreign object, attempted sodomy by use of force, forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, rape by use of drugs, rape of an unconscious person and administering a drug to commit rape.

This story, and others like it, are an all-too-common occurrence when it comes to online dating. Most people don’t have ill intentions, but others can be quite the opposite. Below are a few precautions you should take into consideration if you ever decide to meet someone in person who you previously met online:

Tip #1: Always meet in a public place. Never, ever go directly to someone’s home, and always meet somewhere in which there will be a lot of other foot traffic. A restaurant, the mall, anywhere that you’ll both be seen and heard. If the person to whom you’re speaking doesn’t want to meet in a public space and instead prefers to meet somewhere private, you may want to rethink meeting with them at all.

Tip #2: Tell someone where you’re going, when you’re leaving, and when you expect to be home. Ensure that your friend or family member also has the contact and identifying info of the person you’re dating (name, phone number, address, etc.). If your plans change mid-date, be sure to update whoever it is you’ve been contacting.
Tip #3: Drive yourself to the date, and drive yourself home. You don’t want to be at anyone else’s mercy as to when you can leave or return home. If you’re getting bad vibes for any reason, you can always leave.

Tip #4: Don’t drink. Alcohol weakens your inhibitions, and you may do things while under the influence of alcohol that you wouldn’t do sober.  If you’re meeting someone for the first time, you’ll want to have your wits about you. If things go well on subsequent dates, you can choose whether or not you wish to consume alcohol then.

Above all, the most important thing to remember is that you are in control. You don’t owe your prospective date anything, regardless of whether they’re paying or not. If for whatever reason you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to get up and leave.

California Penal Code 243 (b) and (c) PC Battery on a Peace Officer

| Police Blotter | March 29, 2018

Recently a man was arrested outside the Chase Bank on The Old Road after he got into a physical altercation with a Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station deputy. According to reports, the man had been loitering behind the bank throughout the day and was reported several times. When a deputy showed up and tried to see what was going on, the suspect refused to answer questions and “a little altercation” ensued. Nobody appeared to be injured during the scuffle, and while an ambulance was called to the scene, no one was transported to the hospital.

When someone gets into a fight or another type of physical altercation with the police, it’s possible to be arrested and charged with violating California Penal Code 243(b) or (c) PC – battery on a peace/police officer. This law makes it illegal to willfully and unlawfully touch a police officer, as well as other protected officials, in a harmful or offensive manner while he or she is engaged in their duties. The other protected officials include, but are not limited to, custodial officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, process servers, probation department employees and doctors and nurses providing emergency care.

The spirit of PC 243 is to allow the protected individuals to conduct their duties unhindered by bystanders or others who may want to obstruct what’s going on. As such, one can only be charged with violating PC 243 if they are alleged to have committed battery on someone while that person was in the process of performing his or her duties. For example, suppose someone gets into a physical altercation outside of a bar with another individual who happens to be an off-duty EMT. The person who committed battery will not be charged with violating PC 243 because the EMT was not in the middle of performing their duties. However, it is still possible to be charged with another crime, such as simple battery (242 PC).

Violations of California Penal Code 243(b) – battery on a peace/police officer – are misdemeanors. The possible penalties include misdemeanor probation, up to one year in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $2,000. However, if the battery results in injury, the charge can be increased to felony battery on a peace/police officer under California Penal Code 243(c). Under the law, an “injury” is described as any physical injury that requires professional medical treatment. If convicted of felony-level charges, the possible penalties include felony probation, 16 months to 3 years in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Various Types of Theft Charges

| Police Blotter | March 22, 2018

Recently, a Los Angeles man was arrested and charged with dozens of felony counts of grand theft, forgery, and identity theft after a nine-year white-collar crime spree. According to authorities, R. Gutierrez and W. Rodriguez prepared fraudulent structural engineering plans, reports, and other relevant documents using the name of Palos Verdes Engineering Co. – a legitimate engineering firm – in order to dupe people into believing that the documents had been reviewed and approved by an actual licensed civil engineer. They are alleged to have perpetrated their scheme from 2003 to 2014, and it’s believed that there are more than 735 victims.

Grand theft is covered under California Penal Code 487 PC and described as the unlawful taking of someone’s property that is valued over $950. In California, grand theft can be carried out in a number of ways:

  • Grand theft by larceny – The most prominent type, grand theft by larceny is when someone physically carries off someone else’s property.
  • Grand theft by false pretenses – Theft by false pretense occurs when someone knowingly and intentionally deceives another (usually by lying) in an attempt to persuade the person to let the thief take possession of the victim’s property.
  • Grand theft by trick – It involves obtaining property owned by someone else using fraud or deceit.
  • Grand theft by embezzlement – It is defined as fraudulently using property that you were entrusted with by the owner for your own gain.

Grand theft is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges include up to one year in county jail. Felony charges include felony probation with up to one year in county jail.

Forgery is covered under California Penal Code 470 PC and is described as knowingly signing someone else’s name, faking a seal or someone else’s handwriting, changing or falsifying any legal document, and faking, altering or presenting as genuine any document pertaining to money, finances or property. Misdemeanor charges for forgery carry the possible penalties of up to one year in county jail, a $1,000 fine, restitution and informal probation. Felony charges for forgery include 16 months to three years in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000, informal or formal probation, and payment of restitution to any victims.

Finally, California Penal Code 530.5 PC covers identity theft. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, and can be charged in a wide variety of circumstances. The legal definition essentially states that identity theft is the unlawful or fraudulent use of another person’s identifying information. Like the preceding crimes, identity theft is a “wobbler.” Misdemeanor charges include up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Felony penalties include 16 months to three years in county jail and up to $10,000 in fines.

Unfortunately for the many alleged victims, since neither defendant was a licensed, professional civil engineer, many of the structures built to their specifications may be unsafe and need to be rebuilt.

California Penal Code 32 PC Accessory After the Fact

| Police Blotter | March 15, 2018

Under California law, there are two parties to a crime: principals and accessories. A principal is someone who participates in the crime either before or during its commission, while an accessory is someone who helps the perpetrator of the crime after it’s been committed by aiding in their escape from arrest, trial, conviction or punishment. For example, suppose two individuals intend to burglarize the storage room of someone they know. One person obtains a copy of the key to the storage room and hands it off to the second person, who does the actual burglarizing. Afterward, the person who robbed the storage room is given a place to hide out by a third person who had nothing to do with the initial crime. The first two individuals, those involved in the commission of the burglary, would be considered principals while the third person would be considered an accessory after the fact.

An individual can be charged with being an accessory after the fact under a variety of circumstances, including:

  • Lying to the police to conceal a suspect’s whereabouts
  • Concealing the perpetrator themselves
  • Helping the perpetrator flee the scene of the crime
  • Destroying/concealing physical evidence

Simply providing some form of assistance to the perpetrator of a crime is not necessarily in-and-of-itself enough to have someone charged with violating Penal Code 32 PC and thus becoming an accessory after the fact. It’s imperative that the would-be accessory knows that the perpetrator committed a felony, and that their actions are assisting the perpetrator in escaping arrest, trial, conviction, or punishment. Destroying evidence in a crime that one doesn’t know happened, giving a friend a place to stay, or any other action that would lead one to be considered an accessory, doesn’t count under certain conditions. It does not apply if the person doing the assisting isn’t aware that the person they’re helping committed a felony or that the actions they’re undertaking are helping them elude justice. Additionally, if someone is put under duress and pressured or coerced into acting as an accessory after the fact, even if they know a felony has been committed, it’s possible to avoid charges.

Acting as an accessory is less severe than actually committing the felony, and the potential punishments reflect this. Acting as an accessory is a “wobbler,” which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor penalties include a $5,000 fine and up to one year in county jail, while felony penalties include 16 months to 3 years in California state prison.

CA Penal Code 246.3 PC Negligent Use of a BB or Pellet Gun

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 14, 2018

by Robin Sandoval

On the afternoon of February 1, a call was made to the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station reporting an incident of road rage near the 14 in Canyon Country. The caller reported that the suspect followed a vehicle off of the 14 and engaged in a verbal dispute on the side of the road. During the dispute, the suspect allegedly pulled a gun, which was later discovered to be a BB gun, on the victim. Nobody was injured during the incident and one person was arrested on Silver Oak Lane in Canyon Country.

Under California Law, guns that fire BBs (ball-bearings) or pellets aren’t regarded in the same way as traditional, bullet-firing guns due to the way in which the projectiles are fired. BB and pellet guns are powered by air or CO2 canisters and, as a result, are far weaker and therefore not regarded as “firearms.” They are, however, extremely dangerous when used negligently and included in many of California’s firearm laws. California Penal Code 246.3 PC, for example, makes the negligent discharge of a BB or pellet gun illegal. Additionally, firing a BB or pellet gun at another person will undoubtedly result in, at the very least, assault and/or battery charges, and possibly assault with a deadly weapon.

BB and pellet guns are perhaps most dangerous because they are often indistinguishable from actual firearms from far away. If a police officer, sheriff’s deputy or other law enforcement personnel see someone wielding one of these weapons, they’re going to treat it as though it’s an actual firearm – which is most often the case anyway. Anyone who owns a BB or pellet gun should take care to use it only in lawful and careful ways, because the potential consequences of misuse are serious.

If you have questions about any Canyon Country bail related subject, or if you want to suggest a topic, visit Robin at Santaclaritabond.com or call 661-299-BOND(2663).

The JUUL – A New and Secretive Way for Kids to Vape

| Police Blotter | March 9, 2018

A recent trend in vaping has been making its way into schools around the country. Known as the “JUUL,” this e-cigarette has the size and shape of an unassuming flash drive, making it easy for children to get past their parents by hiding it among their school supplies. The vapor from these devices makes it easy for teens to use them just about anywhere; the cloud of smoke exhaled by users lacks the tell-tale stench of traditional nicotine smoke, replacing it with sweeter scents like cherry and vanilla. According to recent surveys, e-cigarettes have replaced traditional cigarettes as the go-to smoking device, thanks to their ease of use.

The JUUL was developed for smokers of both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes who would prefer to have something smaller, sleeker, and easier to carry around than a pack of smokes or a clunky e-cig. JUULs are small, slender, and provide smokers with a nicotine-containing vapor via small “JUUL pods” that, according to the company, “contain the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.” The devices themselves are relatively simple, using the internal battery to heat a liquid that contains nicotine into a vapor that is then inhaled by the user. The device itself can easily be recharged in a computer’s USB port.

The purpose of the JUUL is like that of any other e-cigarette company, to provide smokes with an alternative to cigarettes that’s safer for the user and the people around them. While some studies have been done showing that e-cigarettes are safer in some ways than traditional cigarettes, they haven’t been around long enough for long-term studies to discern their effects over the course of one’s life. It’s entirely possible that the vapor from e-cigarettes ends up being harmless; however, the opposite could also prove true in time. It’s generally wise not to inhale anything other than fresh, clean air (or as clean as one can get in the Los Angeles area), because human lungs didn’t evolve to scrub modern chemicals from the bloodstream or from the lungs themselves.

While e-cigarettes like the JUUL aren’t meant for anyone under the legal age, teens tend to get their hands on them, nonetheless, and easily become addicted to nicotine through repeated use. An addiction to nicotine is a powerful one, and it’s very difficult to quit – just ask smokers. The fact that the JUUL and other e-cigarettes offer a quick, easy fix that’s difficult to identify by parents and educators makes their use even more problematic. Where cigarette smoke can be smelled from several yards away through ventilation systems, under doors, and through open windows, e-cigarette vapor clouds are nowhere near as pungent, and often mimic the scent of body sprays used by teen girls.

If you’re worried about your teen getting their hands on an e-cigarette like the JUUL, and subsequently becoming addicted, the best thing to do is to talk to them. Peer pressure is huge among young people, and coupled with the desire to fit in, some kids can end up addicted without ever purchasing a device themselves. Explain to them the nature of addiction and the health risks that come from nicotine exposure. You can’t be around your child 24/7, but educating them against the use of products like this can help ensure you don’t need to be.

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