Monday, April 1, 2013

Kids & the Law (in California)

I think I may have promised my one-year-old daughter a sports car at 16.

This morning she was talking to me. 'mama, slkfjoej sioueoiw weuoruel'
So I would answer back 'sure, Zoe' or 'I totally agree, Zoe' or 'You'd like some breakfast?'
None of my responses were satisfactory to this toddler and she kept persisting with her baby talk. 

'mama, akl;dfja akdfja kljdad uh oh' (Zoe)
So finally, in an effort to calm her frustration I said 'Zo, ddalkjdl adfl;jaf dafkjlk adfjkl' (or something like that).

and what was her response? A HUGE SMILE, an approving clap / cheer, a look of utter satisfaction and a willingness to move on to breakfast. 

I might not ever know what I said that made her so pleased but, chances are, she'll remember it and remind me later. AND would our 'oral contract' be binding? um, no. (and I recognize this is a ridiculous example) but the truth is, there are TONS OF LAWS THAT PERTAIN TO KIDS and most of us don't know them. Below are some good ones to remember:

  • Before a teenager gets a driver's license, they must get an instructional permit from the DMV and be at least 15 1/2 but not yet 18. 
  • Children under 18 must wear a bike helmet while riding a scooter (non-motorized or motorized)
  • Teenagers under 18 may not be employed as drivers.
  • In some circumstances minors over the age of 14 can get a junior driving permit (VC 12513, 12650).
  • If someone under age 18 causes a traffic collision after drinking alcohol at home, his or her parent could face misdemeanor charges, a year in jail and a $1000 fine. 
  • A child who frequently violates curfew laws may be declared a ward of the court and treated as a status offender.
  • It is illegal for an adult stranger to contact your child online.
  • California law prohibits kids from accessing someone else's computer without authorization, pirating or downloading copyrighted material such as music!
  • A principal or superintendent MUST recommend expulsion (unless circs make it inappropriate)  for any student who causes serious physical injury to another (except in self defense, possesses a firearm, knife or other dangerous object at school, sells drugs (except for a first offense of selling less than an ounce of marijuana) and commits robbery or blackmail.
  • California law requires children between the ages of 6 - 18 to attend school or classes full time. Those who are absent without a valid excuse for three or more days during a school year, or who are tardy more than 30 minutes without a valid excuse on 3 occasions in a school year, are truants!
  • A criminal complaint can be filed against a parent who fails to comply with a school attendance review board. 
  • Kids must not work more than three hours on a school day and no more than 18 hours in a school week. 
  • Kids must not be employed more than 8 hours on a non-school day and mo more than 40 hours in a non school week. 


Tip: check your local city or county ordinances for regulations about the use of skateboards, skates and scooters. 

Part two will include laws pertaining to kids with respect to gangs, guardianship, graffiti, fighting, alcohol and more. 

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