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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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Resisting Arrest – What is it?

| Police Blotter | June 21, 2019

Resisting arrest is covered under California Penal Code 148 PC and is described as resisting, delaying, or otherwise obstructing, a law enforcement officer or emergency medical technician while they are attempting to perform their duties. The duties can include arresting someone, but 148 PC actually covers a wide range of duties, including traveling to the scene of a crime or accident, interviewing people while attempting to investigate a crime, and/or monitoring a criminal suspect who is in custody.

A typical example of resisting arrest involves obstructing or delaying a police officer trying to arrest you. You could run, fight, squirm, etc. and, by doing so, would be in violation of 148 PC. However, thanks to the broad definition of the law, it’s possible to be charged with resisting arrest if you jeer at officers attempting to arrest someone else, obstruct an EMT vehicle en route to an injured person, or even by giving a false name to police officers attempting to investigate a crime.

It’s important to understand that the law includes the word delaying in its description. This means that trying to avoid arrest altogether isn’t necessarily required for charges of violating 148 PC. One can be charged with the crime even if they know they’re going to be arrested and choose to take some action that’s going to keep it from happening temporarily. These actions include running and hiding from police, but also interacting with someone under investigation after police asked you not to. For example, person A is sitting in the back of a squad care while their vehicle is being processed by police when person B, who knows person A, walks up and starts talking to him. Person B ignores the officers’ warning to stay away from Person A, who is currently in custody, but refuses to do so because they “aren’t breaking the law by talking.” In this case, person B is delaying the officers’ processing of the vehicle by interacting with person A, and is thus eligible for charges of resisting arrest even though they weren’t originally under investigation for anything.

Of course, there are a few rules governing the actions that would otherwise qualify for charges of resisting arrest. For one, it’s important that the act of obstructing happens willfully. If you’re standing in the way of an EMT trying to perform their duties and aren’t aware that you’re in the way, you probably won’t be charged with a crime because your obstruction wasn’t willful. That’s why police and medical personnel often ask for bystanders to back up or move out of the way. If you ever find yourself observing police or emergency medical technicians in the line of duty and they ask you to move, do it! If they ask and you refuse to comply, your actions could be considered willful and therefore put you on the wrong side of 148 PC.

As of 2015, photographing or recording an officer as they perform their duties was clarified by the California Legislature as to not count under 148 PC. You can record and take pictures, provided you doing so does not obstruct or delay officers in the performance of their duties. However, the photographing/recording must take place in a public place where the person doing it has the legal right to be.

Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor in California law, and the possible penalties include up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and/or probation.

Arraignments – What are They?

| Police Blotter | June 13, 2019

N. J. Garcia, 50, the leader of Mexico-based church La Luz del Mundo, has been arrested and charged with several heinous sex crimes, including forcible rape of a minor, committing lewd acts on a child, extortion, and others. According to the charges against him, it’s alleged that the crimes occurred between June 2015 and April 2018.

A spokesperson for the church has denied the allegations. Garcia’s attorney has been quoted as saying that the crimes Garcia is being charged with are not in his character, and that he is instead the target of a “high-tech hit job.”

Along with two other defendants, Garcia was arrested last week at LAX and was being held in lieu of $50 million dollars bail. The others, A. Ocampo and S. M. Oaxaca – both women – are also being charged with sex crimes including forcible rape of a minor, and are being held in lieu of $25 million bail and $5 million bail respectively. A fourth suspect, A. R. Melendez, is still at large and being sought by police. According to prosecutors, all four defendants are believed to have forced their victims into performing sexual acts because disobeying “the apostle” (Garcia) would anger god.

The defendants are set to be arraigned in Los Angeles Superior Court soon.

The Arraignment Process

The arraignment is usually the first part of the criminal procedure that occurs before a judge or magistrate in a court room. The purpose of the arraignment is to provide the accused with a read of the charge, or charges, that are being held against them. This right is guaranteed under the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to protect defendants from being held in custody for long periods of time without knowing what they’re being charged with or why they’re being held. Arraignments must occur within 72-hours of someone’s arrest, or else it’s possible that the defendant can argue that their right to a “fair and speedy trial” has been violated.

The rules surrounding an arraignment will depend on whether the defendant is being charged with state or federal-level crimes, as well as the specific laws of the state in which the arraignment is taking place. The rules often differ regarding felonies and misdemeanors, as some crimes may not require an arraignment. Generally though, if there’s a possibility that the defendant will be receiving a jail sentence if convicted, they’ll be given an arraignment.

Arraignments can have more than one step before they’re complete. First and foremost, the point is to get the defendant before a judge to explain the charges being brought against them. The defendant will also be notified of their right to representation, and, if no private counsel can be found, a public defender will be appointed to their case. When no representation has been obtained prior to the arraignment, and a public defender needs to be appointed, it will happen during this first step and the actual arraignment will be postponed to another day when counsel is available.

Once counsel is available and the charges have formally been read to the defendant, he or she will be allowed to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. In some cases, the right to an arraignment can be waved by the defendant and they can enter their formal plea without having the charges read. This usually happens as part of an exchange with the prosecuting attorney who will be able to speed up the court process.

At the arraignment, the issue of bail and whether it should be raised, lowered, or if it even needs to be set, will also be discussed. The court can also announce the dates and times of additional hearings, including pre-trial hearings and the actual trial date.

Since the charges Garcia et. al. face are serious, and their bail has been set in the range of many millions of dollars, it’s unlikely those amounts will change much – if at all.

Criminal Threats Lead to Investigation at La Mesa Jr. High

| Canyon Country Magazine | June 11, 2019

Recently, a student was detained after it was discovered he had made written and verbal threats to shoot students at La Mesa Jr. High School in Canyon Country. The investigation began when a written threat to shoot up the school was found scrawled on a bathroom wall. Over the course of the investigation, detectives learned that a student had also made a verbal threat to do the same. Currently, investigators are trying to determine if the student who made the written threat also made the verbal threat.

At press time, no charges have been filed. However, in cases like this where charges are filed, it’s often under PC 422.

Under California Penal Code 422 PC, California’s “Criminal Threats” Law, it is illegal to willfully threaten to commit a crime that will result in great bodily injury or death to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying out the threat.

In order for a threat to qualify for a criminal threats charge, the threat must be made in such a way that the person being threatened believes that the threat is real, and is put into a state of fear because they feel they are in imminent danger.

Some examples of behaviors that may yield a criminal threats charge include, but are not limited to:
Threatening to shoot someone while holding a gun
Texting someone with whom you have an issue (an ex, old boss, one-time friend, etc.) and saying to the person, “Watch your back” (or something similar)
California Penal Code 422 PC is a “wobbler” which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Generally, the misdemeanor penalties include up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Felony penalties include up to three years in California state prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Finally, if the defendant makes threats on more than one occasion, or against more than one person, or pursuant to different objectives, the individual may face the above penalties for each threat that was communicated.

Illegal Gambling Spot Busted by LAPD

| Police Blotter | June 6, 2019

On Saturday, June 1, LAPD officers made a significant bust. At 4:30 p.m. Friday, officers served a search warrant at a building on the 200 block of North Vermont Ave., believing that the building was being used for illegal activity. Upon investigating the property, officers found a slew of gambling machines, narcotics and cash. When people in the building refused to leave, the LAPD called in a SWAT team, who used smoke grenades to get them out.

At least 35 people were detained the following Saturday morning after Friday’s raid.

California Penal Code 330 PC, California’s anti-gaming law, makes it illegal to engage in “banking” or “percentage” games. While other laws, including 337 PC (California’s anti-bookmaking law) and 332 PC (California’s gambling fraud law), target individuals who are taking part in gambling operations, under Penal Code 330 PC, it is also illegal to engage in the activity of gambling itself. Therefore, California Penal Code 330 PC is the one often used to charge players as opposed to operators.

California’s definition of “gaming” includes dealing, playing, carrying on, opening, or conducting, any “prohibited game,” whether being hired to do so or not. A “prohibited game” is any game that is either a “banking game,” a “percentage game,” or both. A “banking game” is any game that includes a “bank” or “house” that takes money from losers and pays money to winners. A “percentage game” is any game of chance in which a “house” takes a percentage of the total bets made or the winnings.

Games that fall under California’s prohibited games list include traditional gambling games, like twenty one and roulette, as well as lesser-known games of chance, including Faro, Monte, and Fan-tan. Interestingly, it’s up to a judge – and not a jury – to decide whether or not a game qualifies as a “banking” or “percentage” game. Also, 330 PC can apply to any game that isn’t known to be a traditional gambling game, as well as games that don’t typically include a “house” but are altered to do so.

There are a few notable exceptions to California Penal Code 330 PC. For the most part, bingo games conducted by charitable organizations for charitable purposes do not count under 330 PC. However, for a game to qualify as a charitable bingo game, it has to meet a certain set of specific criteria, including but not limited to: being held by a city or county that has passed an ordinance that allows for those types of games to be held, and the proceeds from the game are only used for charitable purposes.

Violations of California Penal Code 330 PC are considered misdemeanors in California, and the possible penalties include misdemeanor probation, up to six months in county jail, and/or a fine of at least $100 and no more than $1,000.

It’s unknown whether any of the over 35 people detained by police were charged with violations of 330 PC, or if the proprietors received any additional charges. However, due to the presence of narcotics, it’s highly likely that additional charges will be pressed.

The Carjacking and Kidnapping that Never Happened … or Did it?

| Police Blotter | May 30, 2019

On Thursday, May 23, LAPD officers responded to an alleged carjacking and kidnapping reported to have occurred near Wilshire and Orange Grove in Mid-City Los Angeles. Officers were able to locate the missing vehicle from the report, however, the owner’s 7-year-old son, who was said to have been kidnapped during the carjacking, was not immediately located. After several odd twists and turns in the story, police now believe that there was no carjacking or kidnapping.

The incident began when police arrived at the scene, where the father of the “missing” boy told them a man had punched him in the face, taken his vehicle and his child, and drove away. Things began to get strange when later police locate the said stolen vehicle on Elm Drive in Beverly Hills. Which happens to be where both the boy and his father live.
A local news reporter attempted to interview the father, but was sternly rebuffed. However, another man who said he is “friends” with the father was more willing to speak. According to the friend, there was really no kidnapping or carjacking at all. He went on to say that Angelo, who is the father of the “missing” boy, got into a minor altercation with Nicky. It was Nicky who punched Angelo in the face. The whole story about a kidnapping, according to the friend, was made up by Angelo to get back at Nicky whom he “couldn’t beat up because Nicky was bigger and stronger.”

Hours after the interview, the LAPD contacted Angelo and told him his son had been brought to the LAPD Wilshire Station by a man named Nicky Jace – who described himself as a longtime family friend. Mr. Jace was arrested by officers on suspicion of carjacking and kidnapping.

After questioning Jace, investigators believe they may finally have gotten to the bottom of what actually happened. According to them, the incident started when Angelo, Jace, and the boy were all in the vehicle together, and then Angelo decided to get out of the vehicle to get some food. Jace became angry because he had somewhere else to be. Therefore, Jace took the vehicle (with the boy still sitting in the back). Investigators at this point are uncertain as to whether or not there was actually a fight at all.

Regardless, the boy was unharmed and Angelo said he did not want to press charges against Nicky Jace, 25 who was still booked on carjacking and kidnapping charges. Which is likely why Angelo, the boy’s father and owner of the vehicle, is not being charged with making a false report of a crime. If he was, he’d be facing up to six months in county jail.

Domestic Violence Call Leads to Hours-Long Standoff with LAPD

| Police Blotter | May 23, 2019

At around 7:00 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, May 20, LAPD officers responded to a call at a downtown Los Angeles high rise. Police were told a man was forced out of a room by a suspect with a gun during an overnight party at the residence. When the people in the room refused to leave after being told to do so, SWAT was called in and a female was taken into custody. What her connection was to the incident is unclear.

After a three to four hour standoff, during which nearby streets were blocked off, a man was taken into custody. He was later charged with domestic violence, though other charges are still pending.

Domestic violence is covered under several California laws, though the two most commonly charged are: 273.5 PC – corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and 243(e)(1) PC, which covers domestic battery.

Under California Penal Code 273.5 PC, it is illegal to willfully inflict “corporal injury” on a spouse or cohabitant. “Corporal injury” refers to any injury, whether serious or minor. Some examples include:

Grabbing or squeezing a spouse’s arm hard enough to leave bruises
Pushing a spouse or significant other
Hitting and/or kicking a spouse or significant other

The crime is a “wobbler” under California law, which means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Felony convictions are punishable by two, three, or four years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $6,000. Additionally, when prosecuted as a felony, domestic violence is subject to other penalties, including the loss of gun-owning privileges, and the potential loss of a professional license.

California Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC, domestic battery, is described as the willful and unlawful touching that is harmful or offensive, and is committed against: the defendant’s current or former spouse, cohabitant, or fiancee, someone with whom the defendant had a past dating relationship with, or the defendant’s child. As with other forms of battery, it’s possible to be convicted of domestic battery even if the victim doesn’t suffer any injury at all. The requirement to be charged is simply to use force or violence against one of the people listed above.

Unlike 273.5 PC, domestic battery is not a “wobbler” – it’s a misdemeanor. The possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Also, when convicted, the defendant is required to attend 52 weekly domestic violence classes.

Luckily nobody was hurt during the standoff. Unfortunately for the suspect, the standoff is likely to result in additional charges besides domestic violence.

The Dangers of Dating Apps

| Police Blotter | May 16, 2019

A 40-year-old named A. Clark was recently arrested on suspicion of two sexual assaults that occurred on April 13 and 14. It’s believed that Clark used dating apps to meet women whom he lied to about having entertainment industry connections. He allegedly told the women he was a photographer in order to lure them into his home.

This isn’t the first time Clark has run afoul with the law. As a matter of fact, he’s already a convicted sex offender, though the victims in his previous crimes were minors. In 2003, Clark was found guilty of sexually assaulting two minors and was required to register as a sex offender. In 2014, 11 years later, Clark was again convicted of a sex crime – this time child molestation – and returned to prison. He was released on parole in March of 2017.

Currently, Clark is being held in lieu of $1.2 million bail, according to the LAPD.

There are Risks Associated with Online Dating

Dating apps can be a fantastic way to meet people you otherwise may never come into contact with in your day-to-day life. However, these sites are meant for adults, and minors should never use them. While most sites have age limits associated with their use, there’s no real way to enforce it, and minors can (and do) get on them from time-to-time, therefore, parents need to be mindful of that fact as more dating sites are popping up all of the time.

If you’re of age and have had an interest in using dating apps or websites in order to meet new people, here are a few important precautions you should take to help ensure your safety.

Plan Ahead and Maintain Control

No matter for how long you’ve chatted or spoken over the phone with someone, treat your first meet-up like a blind date. Pick a public, well-trafficked location, such as a restaurant or coffee shop, and meet there. Never go someplace private, secluded, or into their home, no matter how much they may ask you to. You don’t owe anyone anything; if you don’t feel comfortable, don’t go.

Avoid Giving Out Personal Information

This one is especially pertinent when you first begin speaking with a prospective date over the internet. Avoid giving them information they can use to track you down in the real world. If you talk about your job, don’t let them know where or when you work. Also, giving out your phone number is a huge no-no. Instead, use a Google Voice phone number. You can easily download the app no matter which brand of phone you use, and when they call that number, it will ring on your end as though they’d called your actual number. It is way easier to block someone who is creeping you out using a Google phone number than it is trying to do it with your actual number.

Never Give People Money

This one might seem obvious, but there’s a reason this warning was added to the list. Just like email phishing scams, Nigerian Princes love trolling dating sites looking for lovelorn souls to exploit. If someone you’re speaking to tries to get you to send them money, no matter how trivial the amount, it’s almost certainly a scammer. If it isn’t, well, is that really someone with whom you want to go on a date?

Give the Details to a Friend

Before you meet anyone for the first time, make sure one or more people know where you’ll be going, who you’ll be meeting, and what time you expect to be back. It can be tempting to change your plans and extend your evening if you find that you and your date are firing on all cylinders the first time you meet – but don’t. Last minute changes of venue, even if it seems like the reason is valid, can be a red flag. As mentioned in the first tip, make your plans and stick to them.

The realm of online dating can be fun and exciting, but the fact is, some people use online sites in negative ways. Don’t ever shy away from protecting yourself and your personal information first. Good people will understand if you ask a lot of questions to vet them out. And for those who don’t… Well, these sites have a blocking feature for good reason.

Has a Friend or Loved One Been Arrested in Canyon Country?

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 11, 2019

Here’s how to find them…
Finding out that someone you care for has been arrested can be gut-wrenching. What did they do? Where are they now? Are they okay? These questions and others can be incredibly difficult to deal with when you don’t know what to do.

Hopefully, you’ll never find yourself in a situation like this. But if you do, there are steps you can take to get the answers you need.

The First Three Days after Arrest

In order to find someone who has been arrested, you can use the LASD Inmate Locator tool. If you find no information in the first few hours after their arrest – don’t worry! First they’re booked and processed into the system, which can take anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours, depending on the sheriff’s station’s activity level.
Once an individual is booked and processed into the system, it’s likely they’ll remain at the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station for anywhere from one to three days – once again, depending on how busy it is. If the jail gets overcrowded or if an inmate has been there for about 72 hours, deputies will transfer them to larger, long-term jails in downtown Los Angeles. If the person you’re looking for is male, he will probably go to Twin Towers. If a female, she’ll be at the Lynwood Jail.

Three Days or More after the Arrest

If the defendant has been transferred and you’re still searching, it could be because they haven’t been properly booked into the jail yet. Upon transfer, inmates need to go through another round of booking and processing at the new location, and the jails in downtown L.A. are almost always busy. It can take as many as 24 hours to be properly booked and processed, and during that period the inmate may not show up on any locating tools.

Finding out someone you care for has been arrested can lead to a lot of questions, but there are steps you can take to find answers.

If for some reason you’re still having trouble locating your friend or loved one with the automated jail systems available to the public, you can always call us. We have worked closely within the jail system and with the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station for years, and a licensed, professional bail bondsman is available 24 hours a day to help you get the information you need. Our goal is to assist our clients and the community with a very difficult, stressful situation in the best way possible, and our consultations are always free of charge.

Jake Paul in the News Again After Birthday Bash Goes Awry

| Police Blotter | May 8, 2019

Infamous YouTuber Jake Paul has made the news once again after throwing a party where multiple people may have been drugged. According to reports, a phone call was made on Sunday, May 5, to the Malibu Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station alerting authorities to a possible occurrence of unwilling impairment related to Paul’s party on Saturday evening. Authorities have stated that detectives are only in the beginning stages of their investigation, and are as yet unable to speak on what may or may not have happened.

However, media sources claim that the alleged victim had attended a birthday party for a clothing designer held by Paul and located at his residence, where she unknowingly ingested some substance that caused significant impairment.

The young woman who filed the police report may not have been the only one who unwillingly ingested a toxic substance at the party. Multiple calls were made to paramedics throughout the night, two of which resulted in transporting partiers to the hospital, while one was to treat a person who fell and hurt themselves. Medical personnel were stationed at the party as part of the initial planning, though the 911 calls made during the celebration received responses from county firefighters.

As mentioned above, the investigation into the alleged incidents is only in its initial stages, and law enforcement have not yet mentioned any clear evidence of wrongdoing. However, spiking someone’s drink is illegal in California, and if the investigation turns anything up, it could result in criminal charges.

California Penal Code 347 PC makes it illegal to “poison” any food, drink, water, or medicine in California. The term “poison” as described by PC 347 does not limit the definition only to actual poisons. Instead, it describes the act of “poisoning” as “mixing any poison or harmful substance with any food, drink, medicine, or public water supply.” Under this definition, narcotics and other substances can be included as “poisons,” and spiking someone’s drink may therefore lead to charges.

Poisoning someone under PC 347 is a felony, and the possible penalties include 2 to 5 years in California state prison. However, if the poisoning results in great bodily injury or death, the defendant will likely receive an additional three years in prison. It should be noted that these penalties apply ONLY if a person is charged with violating California Penal Code 347 PC. Should information come to light over the course of a police investigation that the would-be poisoner intended for their victim(s) to suffer great bodily injury, the defendant may also face assault charges. If they intended for their victim to die, it’s likely they would face murder or manslaughter charges instead.

Sale of Narcotics Still Illegal in California – Health and Safety Code 11351 HS

| Police Blotter | May 2, 2019

Not long ago, LASD deputies arrested a man they found in possession of several baggies of cocaine and a “large amount” of U.S. currency. The deputies were in the area as part of a program that deploys deputies to patrol specific areas where there have been concerns about large amounts of illegal drug activity. While patrolling, the deputies made contact with the suspect, T. Dixon, and found the illegal narcotics during a search. He was then arrested on suspicion of possession of narcotics for sale and transported to the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station to undergo booking and processing.

California Health and Safety Code 11351 HS makes it a felony-level offense to possess certain controlled substances with the intention of selling them. Some of the substances are run-of-the-mill narcotics, such as cocaine and heroine, while others are prescription pain medications including Oxycodone, Vicodin, and codeine.

Of course, simply possessing one or more of these substances does not in and of itself mean that the person was intending to sell them. For a charge of violating 11351 HS, a prosecutor must be able to prove that the person had the controlled substances in their possession with the specific intent of selling them. To do so, the prosecutor looks to certain indicating criteria, including:

The possession of large amounts of one or more controlled substances
Packaging the substance in separate baggies, bundles, or other ways
Large amounts of cash (particularly in small denominations of $20 or less)
Possession of a scale
Frequent visitors to your home or location who only remain there for a few minutes

When you take the presence of one of the criteria listed, it isn’t too terribly hard to explain it away in court. Proving intent isn’t always a simple thing to do, but when several of the listed criteria are present in a given situation, it becomes much simpler.

As a felony, 11351 HS is punishable by probation AND up to 1 year in county jail, or 2 to 4 years in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $20,000. If, during the course of the trial, the prosecutor is able to prove that the defendant intended for multiple sales, it’s possible that the defendant faces the penalties above for each intended sale, as opposed to the overall crime.

If a person is convicted of violating 11351 HS and the substance they were selling is heroine, cocaine, or cocaine base, the individual faces an additional 3 to 25 years in jail, and additional fines that could reach as high as $8 million – depending on the amount of the controlled substance they were convicted of selling.

Alcohol is not Required to be Charged with a DUI

| Police Blotter | April 25, 2019

Recently, a statement from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department was released warning Santa Clarita residents not to drive under the influence of marijuana, and that it would be treated the same as any other DUI if caught. Anyone found to be driving erratically after having ingested marijuana, or prescription medications, including barbiturates, opiates, and even anti-depressants or over-the-counter cold medicine can be considered “driving under the influence” and will be held to the same standards as a drunk driver.

How Does Marijuana Impair Your Ability to Drive?

While the effects of marijuana may feel different than the effects of alcohol, there are some key similarities in the ways they affect your ability to drive. A large enough dose of THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana, has been shown to affect your psycho-motor performance, and therefore your ability to drive. It can also affect your attention span, concentration, and slow your reflexes.

What Happens When You’re Caught Driving Under the Influence?

In California, DUI penalties will vary pretty dramatically, depending on a couple different things: how many DUI’s you have on your record, and whether or not anyone was injured or killed as a result of your driving under the influence.

Generally, a first-offense in which nobody was injured will result in a misdemeanor charges. However, if a person has four or more previous DUI charges, or if someone was injured or killed as a result of a first DUI, the charge could be upgraded to a felony.

DUI Punishments

As previously mentioned, a first-offense DUI charge for an incident in which nobody was injured will be charged as a misdemeanor. The possible penalties include up to six months in county jail, a fine of $390 to $1000, three or nine months of DUI school, and a possible six-month period in which the defendant must have an ignition interlock device attached to their vehicle.

A second DUI in which nobody was injured will net you 96 hours to one year in county jail, the same amount of fines as a first offense, up to one year mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and anywhere from 18 to 30 months worth of DUI school.

A third offense is punished by 120 days to one year in county jail, two years of using an ingnition interlock device on their car OR three years of a suspended license, and 30 months of DUI school.

If a DUI is charged as a felony, the potential penalties include 16 months to three years in California state prison, the same fines, up to five years license suspension, and 18 or 30 months of DUI school.

It should be kept in mind that the initial fine of $390 to $1,000 can be a bit misleading. While the fine itself will fall within that range, there are many additional court fees, DUI school costs, and other charges that cause DUI penalties (even those imposed for first-time offenders) to cost significantly more. It isn’t unheard of for a DUI to cost a defendant upwards of $10,000 to $14,000 dollars.

LAPD Ends Controversial LASER Program

| Police Blotter | April 18, 2019

Recently, the top brass at the LAPD decided to do away with a predictive policing program that residents say is rife with racial bias. The program used specific crime data to identify what law enforcement referred to as Los Angeles Strategic Extraction and Restoration (LASER) zones. The program was one of several data-driven predictive policing programs that the LAPD used to identify places where violent crimes were most likely to occur, as well as persons most likely to commit these crimes. Once a LASER zone was identified, a surge of LAPD officers would be sent to the area in an effort to deter the crimes that their data indicates would be happening there, as well as to keep tabs on individuals.

At a police commission meeting on Tuesday, April 9, LAPD Chief Michel Moore stated that the program had led to the lowest crime rates in years. Residents and skeptics of the program, however, have questioned whether or not data-driven strategies that rely on computer algorithms and other computer data to identify areas where violent crime is most likely to happen is effective at all. A recent audit found that the program itself lacked oversight, and that the data used by officers to label individuals as likely to commit violent crimes was inconsistent.

Predictive policing has been a source of contention between the police and the public since its inception. The public is highly suspicious of data-driven policing, especially residents of neighborhoods targeted by programs like LASER. Law enforcement believes that the practice has given them useful information that allows supervisors to allocate resources more efficiently. Detractors of predictive policing have been saying for a long time that the practice is focused on poor neighborhoods and areas populated primarily by people of color. According to those in the know, the data used by the predictive policing algorithm doesn’t include race or gender.

Interestingly, while LASER was the most recent predictive policing program to be shut down, it wasn’t the only one. A much more controversial segment of the program, which involved the identification and monitoring of so-called chronic offenders who are most likely to commit violent crimes, was scrapped last summer. The segment of the program involved identifying the chronic offenders, adding them to a list, and then distributing that list to officers in the area. Though the lists and database were discontinued in August, the public was only informed last month.

Ultimately, the end of the LASER program does not spell the end of predictive policing entirely – it was just one of several programs already in action. Increased oversight as well as more consistency in how the data is used may very well help quell the public outcry and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of predictive policing.

Parole – What is It?

| Canyon Country Magazine | April 15, 2019

Recently, SCV Sheriff’s Station deputies attempted to contact a vandalism suspect currently on parole and ended up being led on a high-speed chase on the northbound 14 Freeway. The suspect was a parolee from Acton who, during his attempt to flee law enforcement, hit an occupied CHP patrol vehicle in a head-on collision. The suspect continued to flee after the collision, and was able to elude a spike strip placed in the road before ending up in a single-car collision, from which he fled on foot. He was eventually apprehended and taken to the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station to undergo booking and processing.

Parole is a confusing concept for a lot of people. It’s often mistakenly used interchangeably with probation, though they’re actually two very different concepts. Probation is used as part of sentencing once a defendant is convicted of a crime. The individual can be sentenced to probation, jail time, or both. Generally, probation is part of someone’s sentence when a judge wants to reduce or eliminate the time they spend in jail.

The terms of a defendant’s probation will depend on the circumstances of the specific case involved, but for the most part, probation allows a defendant to avoid going to jail if they live within certain restrictions placed upon them by the judge. Sometimes a defendant’s probation is supervised by the court (usually in felony cases and referred to as “formal probation”) and sometimes it isn’t (“informal probation” is often used in misdemeanor cases). As long as the defendant does not violate the terms of the probation or commit any additional crimes, he/she will be able to stay out of custody. But if caught violating probation, the individual can be sent to jail for anywhere between one year and the entirety of their sentence.

Parole, on the other hand, is also a supervised program but it only applies to felony cases when the defendant has spent time in custody at a California state prison. Parole does not begin until the individual is released from prison, but it is similar to probation once the inmate is released. In order for someone to be granted parole, the inmate must agree to abide by certain conditions and limitations once released from prison. And they are required to do so for the amount of time set forth by the judge.

When paroled, an inmate will be assigned a parole agent who will supervise the inmate and ensure he or she is complying with the conditions of the parole. When inmates violate one or more of these conditions, they can be subject to a California parole violation and revocation hearing, during which it will be decided if the defendant should be allowed to remain on the street or to go back to prison. Once the period of their parole is over, they will no longer be supervised and will be able to live their lives as regular citizens.

Since the suspect in the vehicle chase undoubtedly violated his parole, it is likely he will be going back to prison. Unfortunately, since he broke several laws during the process of violating his original parole, he will probably face a much longer, harsher sentence this time around.

Management May be Forced to Live in Crime-Ridden SFV Motel and Other Unusual Sentences

| Police Blotter | April 11, 2019

The Studio 6 Motel in the San Fernando Valley has long been a hotbed of criminal activity including prostitution, narcotic sales, and gang activity.

Law enforcement and community members have long tried to curb the issues stemming from the motel to no avail. For management, the gangs, prostitutes, and drug dealers were also customers, so there was little incentive to do anything about it since it affects their bottom-line.

However, in a recent twist, management may have no other choice. The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office wants a judge to force three members of the motel’s management to live on-site until they’re able to clean things up.

Not only has law enforcement’s previous efforts to clean up the property been stymied, but the criminal activity has actually gotten worse. Now, city attorneys are hoping that if management is forced to face the problem with crime every day, they’ll finally do something about it.

This isn’t the only incident where unusual sentences, court orders, or other obligations are mandated that fit squarely outside the box. Most crimes have minimum and maximum sentences mandated by the state that provide judges with guidelines along which a convicted person’s punishment may fall. However, judges are also given a great deal of leeway and freedom when it comes to sentencing and court orders. While some judges stick to the books, others prefer to get creative.

A Texas metal-plating business owner was ordered to get rid of toxic chemicals from his property but failed to comply. He was later convicted of illegally dumping chromium, after which the presiding judge chose to sentence the man to drink a glass of nasty, toxic sludge. The intent was to make the man think twice before dumping toxic chemicals in places where they can taint wildlife or the water supply.

Judge Michael Cicconetti of Ohio has garnered quite a reputation for unusual sentencing. He’s previously ordered a woman to walk 30 miles after she stiffed a cabby out of his fair for a trip of the same distance. The judge also told a man convicted of drunk driving he could avoid jail time if he instead spent time looking at car crash corpses.

Judges who recommend unusual sentences are rare, and typically reserve the practice for first-time offenders and impressionable young people. Career criminals and those convicted of serious and/or violent crimes typically face traditional sentences. Also, not every sentence handed down by a judge stands up to scrutiny, either. It’s highly unlikely the previously mentioned Texas business owner was forced to drink a cup of toxic chemicals, for example. The judge was likely attempting to make a point with the sentence rather than make the man sick.

Felony Reckless Evading – Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC

| Police Blotter | April 4, 2019

As residents of Los Angeles County, we’re no stranger to high-speed pursuits. Oddly enough, several of those pursuits find their way through or near the Santa Clarita Valley. Thanks to the SCV’s location near the 5, 14, and 210 freeways, it’s really easy to get here if you’re fleeing the police. Of course, fleeing the police isn’t the best way to see the sights of the Santa Clarita Valley.

California Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC covers the crime of felony reckless evading. It can be charged (along with 2800.1 VC – the lesser misdemeanor charge) when you evade the police in a vehicle and drive with a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property. Basically, if you flee the police in a motor vehicle and drive relatively safely while doing so, you’re likely to be charged with 2800.1 VC, if you drive like a maniac, you’re likely to be charged with 2800.2 VC.

For example, a person steals a vehicle and a police officer attempts to pull him over. Instead of complying or just continuing on as he was doing, the suspect speeds away and runs stop signs and red lights while doing so. When caught, the suspect would likely face two felony charges: grand theft auto and felony reckless evading.

One doesn’t necessarily have to be fleeing a crime to be charged with felony reckless evading. Suppose a person is driving and a police officer attempts to pull them over for not using their turn signal. Not wanting to have to talk to police, the suspect speeds off, causing surrounding cars to veer into each other to avoid hitting the suspect. The suspect in this case, if caught, would likely face charges of violating 2800.2 VC.

In order to be charged with fleeing a police officer, that officer actually has to be pursuing you. A good example of this would be someone driving on a suspended license and has a police car behind them. The officer gets a call and turns on the lights and siren so they can respond, but the driver thinks that the officer is trying to pull him over so he speeds off and runs several stop signs. If the driver is eventually caught, he will, at the very least, receive a ticket for running a stop sign and possibly for speeding, as well as being charged with driving on a suspended license. However, since the police officer wasn’t actually after the driver, they would not face charges of 2800.2 VC.

The term “felony” reckless evading is a bit misleading because the crime is actually a “wobbler” that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The defendant’s prior criminal history as well as the circumstances of the case will be taken under consideration by prosecutors, though more often than not, violations of 2800.2 VC result in felony charges. If charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties include misdemeanor probation, 6 months to 1 year in county jail, and/or a $1,000 fine. Felony penalties include formal probation, 16 months to 3 years in California state prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Keep Your Children Safe from Becoming Victims of Sexual Assault

| Police Blotter | March 28, 2019

On Tuesday, March 12, a 17-year-old girl went to authorities to report that she had been the alleged victim of sexual assault by her driving instructor. According to her report, the suspect had been hired last June to give her six driving lessons. The first four proceeded without incident, though during the final two lessons, the girl claimed to have been sexually assaulted by her instructor.

As law enforcement investigated the claim, they learned that the instructor, T.M. Lam, was a registered sex offender who, while acting as a driving instructor, had been previously arrested for annoying or molesting a minor in 2014. The suspect was arrested and booked at the LASD Walnut Station on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor. After his arrest, he was released after posting $140,000 bail.

The suspect’s original crime, which occurred in 2014, is covered under California Penal Code 647.6 PC and is described as annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18. For the purposes of PC 647.6, the terms “annoying” and “molesting” mean the same thing, and refer to conduct which is motivated by sexual interest in a child, or children in general, and which is likely to irritate, disturb, or be observed by a child or children.
Under 647.6 PC, a suspect does not actually have to make any physical contact with a child or minor in order to be charged with a crime, and words alone may constitute annoying or molesting a child.

Minors can be victims of sexual assault no matter what their age. Knowing who should and should not be trusted around your children can be difficult, as many would-be child predators like to place themselves in positions of trust, such as clergy, school teachers, and even law enforcement.

One of the best ways to help keep your child safe from harm is to be involved in their lives. Ask your kids what they did during the day and with whom. If your child participates in sports or other activities, get to know the adults who will be around – particularly the parents of your child’s friends. When choosing caregivers, always screen them carefully. Be sure to educate your children on the grounds of what is and is not permissible behavior, and teach them to come to you if they feel something is wrong.

Finally, for parents, know the warning signs of child sexual abuse, and be aware of any changes in your child’s behavior or demeanor – no matter how small.

Penal Code 667.61: California’s ‘One Strike’ Law

| Police Blotter | March 21, 2019

You’ve probably heard about California’s “Three-Strikes Law.” If not, then pay attention – it’s one of the harshest sentencing proposals in the country. When it was first enacted, the law stated that if a person is convicted of three felonies, they will be sent to prison for 25 years to life.

In 2012, reformers and members of the public who had long fought to change California’s “Three Strikes Law” were able to get Proposition 36 onto the ballot. Under Prop 36, “California’s Three Strikes Law” was changed so that offenders convicted of a third felony would not automatically receive a sentence of 25 years to life unless their third conviction was for a violent felony. Additionally, inmates who were sentenced under the old “Three Strikes Law” were given the opportunity to petition to have their sentences reduced, provided they were not convicted of a sex crime, a drug crime that involved a large amount of drugs, a firearm, great bodily injury, or certain other violent offenses.

California’s “One Strike Law,” covered under Penal Code 667.61, is a lot like the “Three-Strikes Law” in that it is a sentence enhancement for certain crimes. When a defendant is convicted of committing a crime under certain aggravating circumstances, PC 667.61 says that their sentence can be enhanced to include 15 years, 25 years, or life in prison.

For example, a person convicted of rape who already has a previous rape conviction on their record could face 25 years to life under PC 667.61 as opposed to 3, 6, or 8 years under Penal Code 261 – California’s rape law.

PC 667.61 does not apply to every felony. It covers a very specific set of crimes, including: rape (PC 261), spousal rape (PC 262), lewd or lascivious acts (PC 288), continuous sexual abuse of a child (PC 288.5), and a few other similar crimes. The aggravating factors that qualify one of the previously listed crimes for a sentence enhancement under California’s “One Strike Law” include: a previous conviction of one of the above listed offenses, kidnapping the victim, inflicting bodily harm on the victim, using a dangerous weapon during the commission of the crime, tying the victim up, and/or administering a controlled substance to the victim.

California imposes serious sentences for the most serious crimes. PC 667.61 applies generally to repeat, violent sex-offenders, and it is often up to a judge to determine what, if any, sentence enhancement is warranted.

PC 273(a) – Child Endangerment

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 20, 2019

Residents of a Canyon Country apartment complex got a scare recently when they witnessed a small child standing dangerously in front of an open window and banging on the screen. According to eyewitnesses, the little girl was heard screaming and crying as she pounded against the screen of a second-story window. With the sliding glass open, the flimsy screen was the only thing keeping the child inside the apartment.

Neighbors quickly phoned 911, and emergency response teams were dispatched to the location. Deputies from the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station were attempting to get into the apartment through the door, but were having trouble, so a fire truck with a ladder was brought in to get the girl to safety. Fortunately, one of the deputies was able to gain entry to the apartment and get the girl from the window. The child appeared to have been left unattended and, once located, her parents were both arrested and charged with child endangerment. They were taken to the SCV Sheriff’s Station to undergo booking and processing and were held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Child endangerment is covered under California Penal Code 273(a) PC and is defined quite simply as willfully exposing a child to pain, suffering, or danger. Anyone can be charged with violating PC 273(a) – not just parents.
More often than not, the charge is pressed against an adult who has a child under the age of 18 in their care.
Per its definition, child endangerment may sound a lot like child abuse, but they are, in fact, two different things covered by separate penal codes. Child abuse is covered under California Penal Code 273(d) and is described as imposing physical injury or cruel punishment on a child. The major difference between child endangerment and child abuse is that, in cases of child endangerment no actual harm has to happen to the child. In cases of child abuse there typically needs to be some sort of injury to the child.

Child endangerment can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history (if any). If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include misdemeanor probation and/or up to 6 months in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. For felony charges, the penalties include 2, 4, or 6 years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 and/or at least 4 years of formal, felony probation.

Kidnapping in California – California Penal Code 207 PC

| Police Blotter | March 14, 2019

When you hear that someone was kidnapped, what images come to mind? Do you think of a ski-mask-wearing bad guy forcing a victim into his vehicle at gunpoint? What about an adult grabbing a child off the street and speeding away? Recently, a Canyon Country man found out the hard way that kidnapping in California has a very broad definition.

On the morning of Wednesday, March 6, deputies responded to a domestic violence incident near a business on Soledad Canyon Road. According to witnesses, the incident began with a man and woman getting into an argument, and then the man allegedly grabbed the woman by the arm and forced her into his vehicle against her will. Deputies responding to the scene were able to locate the suspect relatively quickly and he was quickly arrested and on suspicion of kidnapping and domestic battery.

Kidnapping is covered under various California Penal Codes, including: 207, 208, 209, and 209.5. Each penal code deals with different situations, but in general, a person can be charged with kidnapping when they move someone else a substantial distance, without that person’s consent, and by using force, fraud or fear to do so. In the case of the Canyon Country suspect above, grabbing his girlfriend by the arm and forcing her into his vehicle likely qualified as “use of force or fear.”

It’s important to note that a person’s intent when they allegedly kidnap someone is irrelevant. A suspect doesn’t need to intend to assault, injure, ransom, or otherwise harm their victim in order to be charged with simple kidnapping. The crime occurs when the victim is moved a substantial distance against their will by the use of force, fraud, or fear. However, if an individual does kidnap someone for ransom or with other intentions in mind, it can upgrade their charge from simple kidnapping to aggravated kidnapping.

The penalties for kidnapping depend on the circumstances of the case. Simple kidnapping, for example, is a felony for which the penalties include 3, 5, or 8 years in California state prison, and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. If convicted of aggravated kidnapping and the victim was a child under 14, the prison sentence is increased to 5, 8, or 11 years in state prison. The penalty is increased to a life sentence with the possibility of parole if the kidnapping occurred with the specific intent to ransom the victim, extort them, use them in a variety of sex crimes, or carjacking.

The suspect in the Canyon Country incident is likely being charged with simple kidnapping, though the additional charge of domestic battery could end up increasing his jail time, if convicted.

Craigslist Emerges as Hot Spot for Fentanyl

| Police Blotter | March 7, 2019

Investigators have long trolled the pages of Craigslist looking for people looking to commit illicit activities. Whether it’s selling stolen merchandise, advertising one’s sexual services, or simply selling drugs, you may be able to find it on Craigslist – if you know where to look.

Over the past several months, Craigslist has emerged as a major hub for people looking to buy and sell the dangerous drug called Fentanyl. Fentanyl is an extremely powerful opioid that’s typically used in a medical setting to ease intense post-surgical pain in hospitalized patients, or to treat short-term conditions that are accompanied by significant pain. Fentanyl is roughly one-hundred times more powerful that morphine, most doctors’ go-to drug for pain relief, and about 50 times more powerful than heroine.

Controlled substances and other illicit chemicals have been sold on Craigslist under a variety of pseudonyms (roofing tar – heroine, clear-sealant – crystal meth, and M30 – oxycodone). Over the past year, on Los Angeles’ Craigslist pages, investigators have seen more and more ads for Fentanyl. Like other drugs, Fentanyl has its own pseudonyms, including China White Doll and White China Plates.

According to assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles Ben Barron, Craigslist has proven to be an extremely effective agent in the dissemination of illegal drugs. Barron is in charge of prosecuting Los Angeles’ first Craigslist-related Fentanyl death.

The death occurred when the suspect, A. Madi, allegedly sold Fentanyl to the victim after being contacted through his post on Craigslist. The victim had just recently left drug treatment and like so many others, went right back to using. The victim originally contacted Madi via the suspect’s Craigslist ad looking for heroine. However, Madi was out of heroine at the time, and instead introduced the victim to Fentanyl. A few days later, the victim was found dead in his apartment of an apparent Fentanyl overdose; a baggy of the drug near the victim’s body.

A search of other major U.S. cities’ Craigslist sites only turned up a handful of similar ads. It’s believed that the Fentanyl market on the site is limited to Los Angeles due to the area being a prime hub for drugs out of Mexico and China – with both countries housing labs that produce a great deal of the substance.

Many believe the explosive popularity of Fentanyl is the result of several high-profile busts of heroine dealers in the Los Angeles area, who sold to addicts unable to get prescription opioids after doctors stopped over-prescribing them. That being said, it would seem the growing popularity of Fentanyl, much like heroine, is not the result of the traditional drug trade getting bolder, but the result of the pharmaceutical and medical industry’s overzealous habits in prescribing opioid painkillers.

Murder vs. Manslaughter: What’s the Difference?

| Police Blotter | February 28, 2019

Murder and manslaughter are similar crimes, though they have very different penalties. Here is a description of the two, in addition to what makes them different.

Murder, covered under California Penal Code 187 PC, is described as “the unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought.” The term “malice aforethought” means that “the killer with wanton disregard for human life, does an act that involves a high degree of probability that it will result in death.” Basically, it means that the killer wanted to kill someone, and then performed a necessary action that had a high probability of killing someone.

Voluntary manslaughter is covered under California Penal Code 192(a) PC and is described as “the killing of another person that one commits during a sudden quarrel, in the heat of passion, or based on the honest but unreasonable belief the need to defend oneself.”

As you can see, both crimes involve one person willfully killing another. However, the key difference between murder and voluntary manslaughter is the term “malice aforethought.” To be charged with murder, a prosecutor must be able to prove “malice aforethought,” to be charged with voluntary manslaughter, they do not. Below are two scenarios intended to illustrate the difference between the two crimes.

Example 1: A wife comes home early from work to surprise her husband, but is surprised herself when she finds him with another woman. Upon seeing this, the wife is overcome with rage, picks up a lamp from the bedside table, hits her husband in the head and he dies. In this scenario, the wife did not come home with the intent of murdering her husband, so there was no malice aforethought necessary to make a murder charge stick. Instead, she would likely be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter because the killing occurred in a moment of passion.

Example 2: A wife thinks her husband is cheating on her so she hires a private investigator to watch him while she is at work. The P.I. comes back with indisputable proof that the wife is indeed being cheated on. The wife then plans to take revenge on her husband by poisoning his drink with arsenic. The husband drinks it and dies. In this case, the wife would definitely be charged with murder, since she planned to kill her husband with the arsenic (malice aforethought).

Most of the time, voluntary manslaughter isn’t charged; it’s agreed to as a plea bargain in a murder case. The penalties include 3, 6, or 11 years in California state prison, a potential strike under California’s Three Strikes Law, a maximum $10,000 fine, community service, counseling, loss of firearm privileges, and any other conditions that the court believes are relevant to the case. For murder convictions, the potential penalty includes 25 years to life in prison, life in prison without parole, or the death penalty.

Armed Robber Sought by SCV Sheriff Station Deputies

| Police Blotter | February 21, 2019

Shortly after 12 p.m. on Saturday, February 16, Joe’s Liquor in Canyon Country was robbed by a masked suspect. According to reports, several calls reporting a potential robbery came in at about 12:40 p.m., and deputies rushed to the scene. Witnesses describe a man wearing a black ski mask, armed with a handgun who had a “darker skin tone” fleeing from the scene mere minutes before police arrived.

Deputies searched the area to no avail, and it’s believed that the suspect escaped with several thousand dollars. Law enforcement’s efforts to locate the victim were hamstrung by staff at the liquor store who sent the surveillance video to a third party before showing it to SCV Sheriff Station deputies. Without any information on what the suspect looked like, their build, etc. deputies were forced to search the area with inadequate identifying information on the suspect.
Robbery is covered under California Penal Code 211 PC and is described as taking personal property from someone else or their immediate presence, without their permission, through the use of force or fear. An interesting fact about PC 211 is that, in order for an action to count as robbery, the suspect must intend to deprive the owner of the property permanently or for long enough that the owner of the property would be denied a major portion of its value or enjoyment.

For example, suppose a man is playing Frisbee with his new girlfriend’s son and the Frisbee gets caught in a tree. The little boy starts to cry and the man doesn’t want his new girlfriend to think he made the boy cry, but the Frisbee is caught in the tree just out of reach.

Suddenly, the man notices a woman walking down the sidewalk with her purse and, not one to ignore opportunity when it knocks, he asks the woman if he can use her purse to knock down the Frisbee. The lady, not willing to give her purse over to a random stranger, naturally declines. The sobs of the child grow louder, and the man begins to panic because he knows the boy’s mother will hear sooner or later. So, he pulls out a knife and threatens to cut the woman if she doesn’t give him her purse. Naturally, she gives her purse to the man who uses it to knock the Frisbee out of the tree and silence the child. The man then gives the purse back to the woman.

The situation above describes a scenario in which someone takes personal property from the possession of another person against their will. However, the man in the story would probably not be charged with robbery because he didn’t intend to deprive the woman of her purse permanently. He would, however, likely be charged with another crime. Threatening people is not the way to get them to let you borrow things, even if it’s for a moment.

Robbery is divided into two separate crimes, first-degree robbery and second-degree robbery. First-degree robbery is charged if the victim is the driver or passenger of some sort of transportation for hire (taxi, bus, cable car, etc.), the robbery takes place in an inhabited dwelling, or the robbery takes place during or immediately after the victim uses an ATM. The possible penalties include felony probation, three to six years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Second-degree robbery is defined as any robbery that does not meet the criteria for first-degree robbery. The possible penalties include: felony probation, two to five years in California state prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Since the suspect allegedly used a firearm during the robbery, the potential sentence is significantly enhanced under California’s “10-20-Life Use a Gun and You’re Done Law.” Under this law, using a gun during a robbery enhances the prison sentence to 10 years, firing a gun during a robbery enhances the prison sentence to 20 years, and 25 years to life for causing great bodily injury or death by using a gun during a robbery.

Joyriding Charges in Canyon Country

| Canyon Country Magazine | February 18, 2019

On January 29, 2019 a vehicle was reported stolen near Whispering Leaves Drive and Sierra Highway in Santa Clarita. When deputies located the vehicle, they attempted to make contact with the suspect, but he ran from them. A containment area was set up and the suspect was caught less than an hour later. He was arrested under suspicion of unlawfully taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, as well as two other warrants, including vandalism and violation of a domestic court order.

Driving or taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent is covered under California Vehicle Code 10851 VC. It can be charged when someone drives or takes a vehicle without the owner’s consent, and with the intention of depriving the owner of the vehicle for any length of time. VC 10851 is often referred to as “joyriding,” because it isn’t quite the same as grand theft auto (GTA) which is covered under California Penal Code 487(d)(1)PC.

The two crimes are similar in many respects in that they both involve taking someone else’s car without the owner’s permission. The major difference between the two revolves around how long the suspect intended to keep the vehicle. Generally, when someone steals a car with the intention of depriving the owner of it permanently (whether by keeping it themselves or selling it), the person will be charged with GTA – a straight felony. If, however, a person takes a car without permission with the intention of keeping it only for a short while, it’s more likely they will be charged with joyriding – which is a “wobbler.”

A lot of California crimes are “wobblers,” which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal record. When “joyriding” is charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. If charged as a felony, the potential penalties are increased to 16 months to 3 years in county jail.

Impersonating a Police Officer – California Penal Code 538 PC

| Police Blotter | February 14, 2019

On Friday, February 8, a man was arrested by the LASD under suspicion of impersonating a police officer. The arrest came after police were sent video in January of a man wearing an LAPD T-shirt antagonizing a group of Black Lives Matter protesters. The people gathered to protest the October shooting of an unarmed black man by an LAPD officer inside a gym. In the video, the suspect can be seen wearing a T-shirt with the LAPD logo on it and chanting “white power” at the protesters. The suspect in the case is of Asian descent.

LASD deputies made the arrest when they saw the suspect wearing the same T-shirt bearing the LAPD logo on it and recognized him from the video footage. Upon being interviewed, the suspect admitted to impersonating a police officer on multiple occasions in an effort to “get respect.” After his arrest, the suspect was released from custody on $2,500 bail.

Impersonating a police officer is covered under California Penal Code 538 PC. Simply dressing like a police officer for a Halloween party, a play, or even as a joke isn’t enough to be charged with violating PC 538. You cross the line when you dress up as a police officer and fraudulently cause another person to think that you are a police officer. Additionally, PC 538 requires that anyone who sells genuine police uniforms must verify that the person to whom they are selling actually is a police officer. If not, the merchant will be charged under PC 538(d).

There are two notable exceptions to the law. When someone is wearing a police uniform for the sole purpose of a theater production or movie/television filming, or if that person has written permission from the identified law enforcement agency (in this case, the LAPD). These exemptions extend to selling, transferring, and wearing a police uniform.

Impersonating a police officer is a misdemeanor in California. The possible penalties include summary probation, up to 6 months in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

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