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California Vehicle Window Tint (CA Vehicle Code section 26708)

In this post, I’m going to discuss California law regarding automotive window tint. Many vehicles are sold new with window tint from the manufacturer. If your particular vehicle did not come with window tint originally, you can also, obviously, get tint installed aftermarket or do the tinting yourself. If you’re in this second category of car owners — in other words, your vehicle was not sold brand new with tinted windows and you’re getting it installed — you need to make sure your tint complies with California law. If it doesn’t, then you could get pulled over by law enforcement officers just because you have illegal tint. If you’re interested in it, the reason why you can be pulled over just for illegal tint has to do with Probable Cause and the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution. As I’ll explain below, window tinting on automobiles in California is covered by the California Vehicle Code. There are a variety of court cases in California that hold that any act which appears to violate the California Vehicle Code — including burned out tail lights, expired registration, speeding, stop sign violations, etc. — is sufficient to constitute probable cause that would justify a detention by law enforcement officers. Anyway, aside over, the most common scenario — at least in my experience — is that the tint is darker than California law allows so that’s what I’ll go over below. The California law in question here is going to section 26708 of the California Vehicle Code. Section 26708 goes over several things, including where on the windshield you can legally affix items...

Equitable Distribution vs. Community Property

I live and practice law in California. When it comes to divorces, California is one of nine US states that follow the Community Property system when it comes to dividing property. In theory, community property is a simple idea — namely, the general rules are that (1) whatever the individual spouses acquire on their own prior to the marriage is their own property and is not split up during a divorce, and (2) whatever the individual spouses acquire during the marriage is generally “community property” and, thus, needs to be divided 50/50 in the event of a divorce. To be clear, though, (1) and (2) are just the general rules under the California community property system. There are exceptions under which, for example, an item acquired during the marriage is still the separate property of the spouse acquiring it due to the manner in which the item was acquired. In practice, though, applying the community property system can be quite involved. Over on my Youtube channel, I put out a video a few months back going over some common problems that occur when you try to apply the idea of community property in the real world. Here is the video. If you haven’t seen my Youtube channel, I encourage you to take a look at it as I go over community property as well as various other ideas related to California law also. What I am going to do in this post, though, is try to compare Community Property to the other system — Equitable Distribution — that is in place in the other 41 US states. By the...

New York Statute of Limitations – Conversion

In this post, I’m going to continue my series of exploring various statutes of limitation for torts under New York law. Previously, I went over statutes of limitation for torts like fraud and wrongful death. In this post, I’m going to talk about one of the lesser known torts, the tort of conversion. The tort of conversion is about interference and specifically interference with plaintiff’s ability to possess an item they have the legal right to possess. In New York, the criteria for conversion are (1) the existence of plaintiff’s possessory right or interest in the item, and (2) defendant’s dominion over that item or interference with it in derogation of plaintiff’s rights. In my admittedly limited research, the New York authority I found for that is a New York Court of Appeals case called Colavito v. New York Organ Donor Network, Inc (2006) 8 N.Y.3d 43, 49. As my first aside, I’ll point out that California also provides for the tort of conversion so it is not specific to New York. In California, the elements for conversion are (1) the plaintiff’s ownership or right to possession of the property; (2) the defendant’s conversion by a wrong act or disposition of plaintiff’s property rights; and (3) damages suffered by plaintiff. The California authority for that — because I care and know that you’re interested — is a California Supreme Court case called Lee v. Hanley (2015) 61 Cal.4th 1225, 1240. A reminder as well that the California Supreme Court and New York Court of Appeals are both the highest state courts in their respective states and, as a result,...

New York Statute of Limitations – Enforcement of Money Judgments (NY CPLR section 211(b))

In this post, I’m continuing my travels through New York’s statutes of limitations. In prior posts, I went over the statutes of limitation for fraud as well as wrongful death. In this post, I’m going to talk about enforcement of money judgments. In more plain language, enforcement of judgments refers to the act of collecting on a judgment (e.g. that defendant pay $50,000 to plaintiff) that a court renders in favor of a winning party in a civil case against the losing party. The statute of limitations for enforcement of judgments refers to the time period within which that collection activity has to take place. In New York, the statute of limitation for enforcement of money judgments is 20 years. If you’re interested — and I know you are — the governing statute here is section 211(b) of New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR). Section 211 states: “On a money judgment. A money judgment is presumed to be paid and satisfied after the expiration of twenty years from the time when the party recovering it was first entitled to enforce it.This presumption is conclusive, except as against a person who within the twenty years acknowledges an indebtedness, or makes a payment, of all or part of the amount recovered by the judgment, or his heir or personal representative, or a person whom he otherwise represents. Such an acknowledgment must be in writing and signed by the person to be charged. Property acquired by an enforcement order or by levy upon an execution is a payment, unless the person to be charged shows that it did not include...

California Right to Counsel in Criminal Cases (CA Penal Code section 19.6)

Today’s post will be short. I’m going to go over the right to have a lawyer appointed for you in a criminal case and how that is handled in California state court. Most of you — at least I hope it is most of you — have heard of the 6th amendment to the US Constitution which says the following: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” (emphasis added) The part I’ve bolded and underlined is where a criminal defendant’s right to an attorney comes from. If you’re familiar with the Miranda Warning — or at least seen it on TV before — that also mentions a criminal defendant’s right to have an attorney. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?” (emphasis added) What this right to counsel means in the real-world, though, can be quite involved. Some...