Margaret A.M. Heine

is the principal counsel at Heine Law Group in Fullerton, California. She is licensed in California and Washington and has authority to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Court of International Trade.

Her practice includes estate planning, wills, trusts, and probate as well as business, real estate, and civil litigation. Email: or visit company website


It is the beginning of summer picnics, barbeques, vacations, and driving!  So, a good time to review what may affect your carefree summer days.

  • Driving with your pets.  Many of us take our dog for a ride in the car, we’ve all seen that dog hanging his head out of the window or pacing around in the back of the pick up truck.  Outside of the risks of transporting your pet in this fashion, which any vet could tell you about, it is illegal to leave your pet loose in any open portion of the vehicle.  California Vehicle Code § 23117 requires any animal transported in the back of a vehicle to be either (1) cross tethered to the vehicle or (2) protected by a secured container or cage, to prevent the animal from falling, jumping, or being thrown from the vehicle. The animal does not have to be restrained if it is in an enclosed space in the vehicle or in a vehicle that has side and tail racks at least 46 inches high. Cal. Vehicle Code § 42001.4 makes a violation punishable by a fine of $50 to $100 for the first offense and $75 to $200 for a subsequent offense.  You can also be sited for “negligent driving” or for “reckless driving” if your pet sits on your lap or stands on you while you are driving as posing an unsafe driving hazard.
2)     Leaving your pet in the car.  Not only do we take our pets on a ride, we take them with us as we run errands.  This has subjected many animals to extremely hot temperatures that have caused death and other serious injuries.  In California, you may be subject to criminal penalties for doing just this.  Penal Code 597.7 is California’s law against leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle.  It prohibits leaving an animal (or animals) in an unattended car if by doing so you endanger the health or well-being of the animal. Remember, law enforcement may not think that being in a car on an 80 degree day is reasonable, although you think it is comfortable!  If you have to leave your vehicle, leave your pet at home.
Consider this:  In one recent case, the pet owner was fined, the vehicle was towed, and the pet survived.  The defense was that while in the store, the owner had a medical emergency, and had to be transferred by ambulance to the hospital—no one knew the pet was in the car.  Luckily the pet did not get seriously injured, but the owner was still fined.  The court’s point is – the exact reason not to take someone or some animal with you that you must leave in the car!
  • Having a party? Remember, you are responsible for your guests drinking.  State laws

BPC 25602 and 25658, provide that anyone who serves or provides alcohol to persons

under age 21 can be held criminally liability if that person who consumed the alcohol is

killed, injured, kills or injures another person.  The law also states that you cannot serve

alcohol to someone who is obviously intoxicated.  The person who serves the beverage

can face arrest, a $1,000 fine and/or 6 months in jail.


  • My plane has been delayed, what are my rights?


If you have been delayed on the tarmac for an extended period of time, the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations state that the plane must return to the gate, and passengers must have food, water, and toilet access while delayed.


If you are simply delayed at the gate, sit tight while the problems are resolved.  The airline does not need to implement any of the new regulations unless the delay is due to extend to “hours” versus minutes.


If you have not yet boarded the plane and it is delayed, the airline will delay your flight until the plane becomes available or will reschedule you to the next available flight if the flight is canceled.  Sometimes, if the delay is lengthy, the airline may pay for meals while you are delayed.  You simply need to ask.


If you are bumped from your flight because it is oversold, then you may be able to receive back the money you paid for your ticket or a voucher for future airfare.  It changes from airline to airline, so ask if this happens to you.  The Department of Transportation generally sets out in its’ passenger rights  the protections in which the airline must notify passengers of delays over 30 minutes as well as any cancellations or diversions.


  • Real ID changes are being implemented.  Travel with official government identification.  Right now you can use your driver’s license or passport or global entry cards to fly and clear TSA.  Any international travel requires a passport.


  • TSA Travelers are not guaranteed PRE CHECK, fast track entry. The lines are growing long at the airport, and PRE CHECK can speed you on your way by not having you remove shoes, take out electronics or your personal items bag—however, even having TSA approved pre check does not guarantee you will have it on every trip.  Be sure to check your boarding pass to make sure it says TSA PRE.  If it doesn’t and you know your known traveler number, you may ask the agent if they can pre clear you so that you may use the expedited lanes.  The same is true of GLOBAL ENTRY.  Even though you are pre-approved, if it is not on your boarding pass, you cannot use the expedited lanes.  Sometimes the airlines cannot assist, so, make sure you always leave enough time for unexpected delays or lines.  You may also apply for CLEAR which will speed your way through the travel lines this summer.


  • Car Rentals can be expensive. Most people don’t want to pay for insurance, but you could be at risk for all of the damage to the car, to whomever you hit, as well as for medical costs.  Check with your insurance to see what will and will not be covered and what insurance deductibles will apply.  Check with the credit card you are using to see if they will cover any damages to the vehicle if you charge the car on your credit card.  This can save you up to $50 or $60/day in insurance charges alone, not to mention saving on the deductible costs in the event you do have an accident.  Also, be sure you know who can and cannot drive the vehicle under the rental contract.  Also, there may be limitations as to where you can drive the vehicle, such as no off road travel and no crossing international borders.  Your personal belongings are most likely always at risk, so secure the vehicle at all times.


Be safe, remember, most of the activities you take on during the summer are at “your own risk”.  Have a great summer!

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