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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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Armed Robber Sought by SCV Sheriff Station Deputies

| Police Blotter | 17 hours ago

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.

The Danger of Driving While Impaired

| Police Blotter | February 7, 2019

Over Super Bowl weekend, members of the CHP and deputies from Santa Clarita Sheriff Station arrested nine people for allegedly driving under the influence. According to law enforcement, there is an average of about 10 DUI-related arrests in the area any given weekend. The fact that Superbowl weekend only saw nine means that even though a lot of people were celebrating this weekend, it didn’t equate to more people driving drunk.

Law enforcement agencies including the LASD, LAPD, and CHP, have long been vocal about their efforts to increase their vigilance when it comes to stopping impaired motorists. DUI checkpoints are held regularly at different locations around the county and saturation patrols are conducted at various times of the year. The consequences of driving under the influence will vary from situation-to-situation. Some people get behind the wheel while intoxicated and end up arriving at their destination. Others, however, like the recently-sentenced Saugus resident K. Hussain, are not so lucky.

On February 5, 2018, Hussain was driving on McBean Parkway near Bridgeport when his truck hit a tree and severed a water main. Both he and his toddler son were taken to the hospital with injuries. A few hours later, Hussain was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI with injury. He was sentenced this month to two years in California State prison.

The penalty for a DUI depends largely on the circumstances surrounding the crime and the defendant’s prior criminal history. A first-offense misdemeanor DUI carries the penalties of up to six months in county jail, a fine of $390 to $1000, six months suspended or restricted driving privileges, three or nine months of DUI school, and other associated costs totaling upwards of several thousand dollars.

For a third-offense, the driver faces much stiffer penalties, including six months to a year in county jail, the same fine, two years mandatory ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle (or three years of having their driving privileges suspended if they do not comply), 30 months of DUI school and significantly higher associated costs and fees.

If charged as a felony, defendants face anywhere from 16 months in state prison for a first-offense to three years for subsequent felony offenses. Additionally, they face up to five years of suspended driving privileges.

Of course, the real cost to driving under the influence comes when collisions occur which involve fatalities. Alcohol-related deaths are not uncommon, and when it happens, the charges and penalties a defendant faces increase sharply and include murder.

Shoplifting: What it is and How it’s Different From Other Forms of Theft

| Police Blotter | January 31, 2019

Recently in Stevenson Ranch, a suspect entered a business on the 24700 block of Pico Canyon Road, put two bottles of perfume into his backpack, and then left the store without paying. He was arrested shortly thereafter by deputies from the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station and charged with shoplifting.

Shoplifting is covered under California Penal Code 459.5 PC and is described as: “entering a commercial establishment with the intent to commit larceny (to steal something) while that establishment is open during regular business hours, where the value of the property that was taken or attempted to be taken is valued at no more than $950.” The law goes on to state that “any other attempt to enter a commercial establishment in order to commit larceny is burglary.”

The term “shoplifting” has been around for decades, if not longer. However, the actual crime of shoplifting has only been on the books in California for 4 years. Prior to the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014, shoplifting could have been prosecuted as burglary.
Burglary is covered under California Penal Code 459 PC and is described as entering any residential or commercial building or room with the intent to commit a felony. The reason shoplifting is no longer considered a type of burglary (even though the elements of the crime can be identical) is because in order to be charged with burglary, a person must enter the residential or commercial structure with the intent to commit a felony. Stealing something with a value of $950 or less is considered petty theft, which is a misdemeanor – not a felony. Therefore, since the crime of burglary requires someone to enter a residential/commercial structure with the intent of committing a felony, it would not apply when the crime committed by the suspect was a misdemeanor (petty theft).

If the value of the items stolen was over $950, or if the individual committed another felony while inside the structure (buying/selling controlled substances, for example), then it’s possible that they would be charged with burglary instead.

Shoplifting is also similar to, but not quite the same, as the crime of robbery. Under California Penal Code 211 PC, robbery is described as taking property from someone’s immediate person or presence, against that person’s will, by use of force or fear. Robbery is always charged as a felony regardless of the value of the item(s) stolen.

The difference between shoplifting from a business and robbing that business depends a lot on how the suspect gains possession of the stolen items. If someone slips a candy bar into their pocket and leaves without paying for it, it’s shoplifting. If a person slips a candy bar into their pocket, then grabs the clerk by the collar and threatens to kill them if they call the cops, it’s likely to be charged as robbery. In both scenarios, the merchandise taken was the same, and not worth much. The key difference was that during the robbery scenario, the merchandise was taken through the use of force or fear, whereas in the shoplifting scenario it was not.

Child Neglect and Filing a False Report of a Crime

| Police Blotter | January 24, 2019

Recently, police were called to the home of Blac Chyna after it was reported that she was drunk and being neglectful of her child. Upon arrival, police discovered that Blac Chyna, and everyone else at her home, were sober and the child was fine. A nanny was also present.

It’s believed that the false report of a crime was related to a fight between Blac Chyna and her makeup artist on Sunday. However, the reality star is also known to have feuded in the past with ex-lovers’ current girlfriends.

Child neglect is covered under California Penal Code 270 PC and is a serious crime. It can be charged when a parent fails to provide physical necessities for their minor child, without a lawful excuse. Interestingly, the term “parent” is given an extremely broad definition under California law. It includes both adoptive parents, as well as those who hold themselves out as parents (such as foster parents), as well as the husband of a woman who gives birth to a child while the husband is living with her. The term does not cover anyone who no longer has any rights or obligations to the child due to a court decision.

Often times, reports of child neglect are made when a parent or parents are too poor to provide for the physical necessities for their minor child. A prosecutor will typically take into account the family’s financial situation when dealing with child neglect cases. For example, if a parent loses their job and is unable to afford adequate meals, new clothes, or whatever other physical necessities the child needs, and is able to prove that the job loss is the reason why, the prosecutor will likely drop the charges. However, if a lack of money is due to mishandling funds, or if the parent spends their money on something other than their child’s welfare and, as a result, is unable to properly provide for them, the charges will probably still apply.

Often, 270 PC is charged as a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of misdemeanor probation, up to 1 year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, the crime can be charged as a felony under certain circumstances which usually involve a paternity suit. When charged as a felony, the possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail, 1 year and 1 day in California state prison, and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Making a false report of a crime is covered under California Penal Code 148.5 PC and can be charged when someone falsely reports a misdemeanor or a felony to a police officer, prosecutor, grand jury, or state or local employee designated to receive reports from citizens (such as 911 operators). Penal Code 148.5 PC is only charged when the person who makes the false reports knew that it was false as they were making it. There is no penalty or charge if you report a crime and it turns out that no crime was actually committed.

Penal Code 148.5 PC is a misdemeanor with the possible penalty of up to 6 months in county jail. However, based on the defendant’s prior criminal history, motive for making the false report, as well as the consequences of the false report, judges often sentence convicted defendants to little or no jail time.

California Penal Codes (Weapons): Did You Know?

| Police Blotter | January 18, 2019

California Penal Code 24310 PC

Carrying a machine gun in a violin case was a common trope in old mobster movies. It’s a practical idea for anyone trying to get a gun someplace without being noticed, and today you can buy all sorts of custom containers to carry your firearms. However, for residents of California, it’s illegal to do so.

California Penal Code 24310 makes it illegal to manufacture, import into the State of California, keep for sale, offer for sale, give, lend, or possess a camouflaging firearm container. The most notable example of a camouflaged firearm container is shaped like a musical instrument, but there are other styles too, including books, globes, clocks, first-aid kits, and more.

24310 PC is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor penalties include no more than one year in county jail. Felony penalties include 16 months to three years in California state prison. The severity of the charge will depend on the circumstances surrounding the case.

California Penal Code 29810 PC

Anyone who is convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors is legally obligated to relinquish their firearms. For example, a defendant is convicted of felony assault and, after the conviction, the defendant turns over his hunting rifle to the local police station.

Under California Penal Code 29810 PC, the courts must instruct the defendant that he or she is prohibited from owning, possessing, or having any firearms, ammunition, or magazines. The courts will provide the defendant with a Prohibited Persons Relinquishment Form, upon which any and all firearms, ammunition and/or magazines the defendant has must be identified. Then, the defendant can either relinquish the items to law enforcement, sell them to a licensed gun dealer, or have them stored by a licensed gun dealer.

Failing to fill out and submit the Prohibited Persons Relinquishment Form is an infraction punished by a $100 fine. If the firearms are not relinquished and law enforcement finds out about it, the defendant will likely be charged with a crime, namely California Penal Code 29800 PC – felon with a firearm – a felony. If convicted, the defendant faces 16 months to three years in California state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

California Penal Code 22010 PC

For the most part, California Penal Code 22010 PC makes it illegal to own or possess nunchakus (nunchucks) in California. Nunchucks are a traditional martial arts weapon that consists of two rods attached at one end by a rope or chain.

Most members of the public are generally prohibited from owning this dangerous weapon; however, there are a few exceptions: self-defense schools with a regulatory or business license that keep the nunchucks on the premises; people who are taking someone else’s illegal nunchucks to the police station where they can be properly disposed of like the menace to society they are; possession of antique nunchuks by a person authorized to own them; authorized museums, libraries, and historical societies; or people making a movie, TV show, or video production.

If an unauthorized person is caught in possession of a pair of nunchucks, they face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if charged as a misdemeanor. Or, up to three years in prison and $10,000 fine for a felony.

Felony Probation – What Is It?

| Police Blotter | January 10, 2019

Recently, a 40-year-old Santa Clarita woman was in the news after being arrested for violating her probation. According to the SCV Sheriff Station’s Facebook page, they received reports about a motor home that had been parked for several days outside of a business on Golden Triangle Road. Deputies went to check it out, and while doing so, discovered that one of the occupants was on active probation and also in possession of illegal narcotics. She was arrested and taken to the Sheriff’s Station for her probation violation and the motor home was towed.

Felony probation is not freedom, it’s used as an alternative to prison. It allows for a person convicted of a felony to either remain in the community provided that they agree to live under certain conditions and supervision of the courts and a probation officer.

Probation is a possible sentence for many California felonies – but not all of them. Probation may not be granted to defendants who commit violent or serious felonies, as well as certain sex crimes. Probation is seldom granted for people who commit crimes that include: great bodily harm to the victim, offenses involving deadly weapons, grand theft of over $100,000, furnishing PCP, and being a public official convicted of embezzlement or receiving bribes.

If a person is going to be put on probation, it will happen at the time of their sentencing. A judge will either “suspend execution” of the defendant’s jail or prison sentence provided that the defendant adhere to specific conditions upon their release, or the judge will sentence the defendant to probation with no conditions attached.

If a judge does set conditions for a defendant’s probation, they can vary pretty widely. Generally, most probation conditions include: meeting with a probation officer once a month, paying restitution to the victim, participating in therapy, drug testing, performing community service, and, of course, not breaking any other laws.

Probation typically lasts for anywhere from three to five years, and any violations that occur during that period are taken very seriously. If the violation is relatively minor, it’s possible to receive a warning from a judge and not have probation revoked. When this happens, judges have the power to set even stricter conditions with which the defendant must comply for the remainder of their probation. When someone commits a serious probation violation, such as committing a violent crime, not meeting with their probation officer, or being in possession of narcotics, judges are far less likely to be lenient and issue a warning. In these cases, defendants are often sent directly to prison or jail for one or more years.

Violent Crime Drops in Los Angeles in 2018

| Police Blotter | January 3, 2019

Law enforcement agencies throughout Los Angeles have been hard-pressed to explain the rise of violent crimes that the area has experienced over the past five years. However, in 2018, the effort they’ve put in to trying to reverse the trend are beginning to bear fruit. According to recent statistics, Los Angeles saw a total of 253 murders over 2018, a decrease of 9.9 percent since 2017, during which 281 murders took place.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore issued a tweet praising the hard working officers of the LAPD and touting the news as evidence that their crime fighting strategies have been working. He credited the LAPD’s view that personal safety is a “shared responsibility” among the public and law enforcement, and that working together is the only way forward.

One way in which the LAPD has successfully worked with the public to share the responsibility of public safety is through their commitment to community policing. The practice is based upon a partnership between the LAPD and the community. The responsibility of identifying, reducing, eliminating, and preventing problems that erode order and safety within the community is shared by the LAPD and the community itself.

The LAPD believes that if people are able to bring their community’s specific needs to the attention of the LAPD, a plan can be put together by which problems of safety and order can be resolved that increased patrols or police presence may not necessarily solve. Community policing also serves to foster a bond of trust between members of law enforcement and members of the public as it creates greater familiarity between the two parties.

Unfortunately, not all of the LAPD’s crime prevention tactics have been embraced as quickly by the public as community policing was. One major point of contention was the LAPD’s use of the controversial “predictive policing” strategy. The strategy includes technology developed by the CIA that incorporates street-level intelligence with cell phone and license plate tracking of ex-convicts and other things. All of that data is then run through a powerful computer called Palantir to identify specific locations throughout the city where crime is most likely to occur. The LAPD lauds the technology as a way to indicate where best to spend their resources, while some members of the public are dubious about the relative secrecy surrounding the technology.

Much of the blame for the spike in violent crimes that began in 2014 was heaped on the passage of the controversial Proposition 47 which reduced the severity of a host of felonies to misdemeanors, thereby reducing the potency of the punishment’s deterrent. However, a study conducted by UC Irvine found that the spike in crime was not due to the passing of Proposition 47 – a finding which law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys found difficult to accept.

LAPD Investigating Brazen Burglars

| Police Blotter | December 27, 2018

LAPD detectives are investigating a string of burglaries that began on October 15 of this year. The crimes are unusual for a few reasons. The thieves are hitting homes in rapid succession and all of the homes are concentrated in one relatively small area. Namely, in the Coldwater Canyon Blvd. and Bellaire Ave., between Roscoe and Victory.

According to investigators, the suspects are targeting single-family homes with minimal or no outdoor lighting. The suspects have been seen by witnesses in a Kia Rouge, Cadillac Escalade, and a Nissan – all with paper license plates. Detectives aren’t sure how many suspects there are in all, as those who have been described by witnesses were wearing all black, and all appeared to have similar heights and builds. The suspects are believed to be working in teams of two to four, and are gaining entry to their target homes through rear sliding-glass doors. Once inside, the suspects have taken jewelry, guns, cash, and designer handbags. All of the burglaries happened between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., and the LAPD is asking for anyone with information to call the North Hollywood Station’s burglary detectives at 818-754-9378 or 818-754-8377.

Crimes like this highlight important precautions we all need to take to keep our homes and valuables safe. Adequate outdoor lighting is, by far, one of the biggest deterrents to would-be burglars when they’re out casing houses. The more visible their actions are, the more likely they are to be caught. If the outside of your home has a lot of darkness around it at night, it might be wise to install motion-detector lighting in common entrance areas like in front of the garage and behind the house near the back door.

Your risk of being burglarized increases this time of year, considering all the shopping and gift-giving that is done. Whether you’re out shopping or parked in your driveway, remember to never leave anything of potential value visible in your car. Smashing a car window to steal a pair of sunglasses is easy, and backpacks, shopping bags, or other packages is quick and easy. If you have to keep anything in your car, make sure it’s kept in the trunk and out of view, and always double-check to ensure your doors and windows are locked.

A New Year, New Laws for Californians

| Police Blotter | December 20, 2018

The year 2019 is a few weeks away, and all that it will bring is anyone’s guess. However, when it comes to road safety, there are a few new laws as well as changes to existing ones that will be taking effect in the New Year.

  • Anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, skateboard, scooter, or skates. If not, they become eligible to receive a “fix-it ticket” from law enforcement. The citation will give the offending party 120 days to show law enforcement that they’ve completed a bicycle safety course and possess a helmet that meets California’s safety standards. On the up-side, people over 18 will no longer be required to wear a helmet on motorized scooters.
  • Beginning January 1, 2019 and continuing until January 1, 2026, all DUI offenders, whether repeat or first-time, whose violations cause injury, will be required to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles for a period of 12 to 48 months. Anyone whose license is suspended as a result of a DUI will be allowed to obtain an ignition interlock device and receive credit toward the restriction period while their license is suspended.
  • Aside from first-time and repeat DUI offenders whose violations cause injury, it will be possible for the courts to order first-time DUI offenders whose violations did not cause injury to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for up to six months.
  • The exemption period for vehicles to require smog checks has been extended from six years to eight years. However, owners of vehicles whose model year falls within that extra two-year period will be required to pay a $25 smog check abatement fee.
  • It is now possible when applying for a California drivers license to choose male, female, or non-binary on the application. Those who choose non-binary will receive an X next to the gender category on their license.

Road safety has been a major issue for local law enforcement, particularly in Los Angeles where the LAPD has been on the lookout for pedestrians who don’t exercise proper safety precautions, as well as in Santa Clarita where speeders frequently hit pedestrians trying to cross the street. While most of the new laws will only affect a small portion of the population, they’re a step in the right direction to increasing road safety for both motorists and pedestrians throughout the state.

California Penal Code 647(f) – Drunk in Public

| Canyon Country Magazine | December 19, 2018

In the early morning hours of Monday, November 26, several reports were made to Santa Clarita deputies about a woman screaming in a Canyon Country wash. When the deputies arrived, they found a drunk, 67-year-old woman drinking wine in the wash. Once she was identified, deputies discovered that she had four outstanding warrants totaling over $200,000 for crimes including driving on a suspended license, DUI, battery on a police officer, and drunk in public. The woman was arrested and is facing a second charge of drunk in public as well.

Drunk in public is covered under California Penal Code 647(f) PC and is described as more than simply being drunk in a public space, which isn’t illegal. In order to be charged with violating PC 647(f), you need to be so drunk that you are unable to exercise care for your personal safety or that of others OR interfere with, obstruct, or otherwise prevent people from using public walkways, sidewalks, or streets. For example, if you drink so much that you end up passing out on the sidewalk, you could be charged with being drunk in public because you’re inhibiting other people from using that space while you’re passed out in it. However, a person who passes out someplace that doesn’t meet the requirement of being a public way, sidewalk or street probably won’t be charged. When it comes to whether or not you are able to exercise care for your own safety or the safety of people around you, a lot is left up to interpretation by police on the scene.

Being drunk in public is a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of summary probation, up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. In some cases, instead of filing charges, police can take the drunk person to an inebriation treatment facility (a.k.a. the “drunk tank”) where he/she can be held for treatment and observation for up to 72-hours. This action is usually referred to as civil protective custody, though unfortunately a lot of cities and towns don’t have one, which means criminal prosecution is the only option.

It’s The Most ‘Mail Theft’ Time of the Year

| Police Blotter | December 14, 2018

It’s the holiday season once again, and that means certain types of crimes are going to be on the rise, and it’s up to you to take extra precautions in order to avoid becoming the victim of an opportunistic criminal.

Mail theft, covered under California Penal Code 530.5(e) PC and 18 US Code 1708 has historically been a significant threat this time of year, and recent years have seen a further uptick in reported incidents. The official definition of mail theft under PC 530.5(e) is:

  • To steal or take any mail or packages from a mailbox, receptacle, or other authorized depository for mail, or from a post office letter carrier;
  • Use fraud or deception to obtain or attempt to obtain mail from any of these sources;
  • Remove the contents of any stolen mail;
  • Destroy or hide any stolen mail;
  • Buy, receive, or possess any stolen mail, knowing that it is stolen.

Mail theft is commonly associated with identity theft because thieves usually steal mail to obtain the personal identifying information of the recipients.

In California, 530.5(e) PC is a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of: summary probation, up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, the federal crime of mail theft under 18 US Code 1708 is much steeper, and can result in up to five years in prison.

The thought of someone stealing your mail and using the information contained therein to steal your identity is a scary one, and it’s important to protect yourself. If you’re going to be on vacation, whether during the holiday season or any other time, call your local post office and have them put a stop on your mail delivery until you return. If for some reason you’re unable to do so, or if you’re expecting something with information you need immediately, have a trusted friend or neighbor pick your mail up for you when it’s delivered.

If you live in a neighborhood where mail theft has been an issue before, consider talking to your neighbors and starting a neighborhood watch. If people are on the lookout for suspicious activity, odds are they’ll see something and be able to report it long before anyone notices their mail has been stolen.

Opt for paperless billing. Bills and receipts can contain personal identifying information that thieves need to steal your identity. The fewer bills you receive in the mail, the better. By opting for more paperless correspondences, you’ll cut down significantly on the amount of personal information about you making its way through the postal system.

It’s The Most ‘Mail Theft’ Time of the Year

| Police Blotter | December 13, 2018

It’s the holiday season once again, and that means certain types of crimes are going to be on the rise, and it’s up to you to take extra precautions in order to avoid becoming the victim of an opportunistic criminal.

Mail theft, covered under California Penal Code 530.5(e) PC and 18 US Code 1708 has historically been a significant threat this time of year, and recent years have seen a further uptick in reported incidents. The official definition of mail theft under PC 530.5(e) is:

  • To steal or take any mail or packages from a mailbox, receptacle, or other authorized depository for mail, or from a post office letter carrier;
  • Use fraud or deception to obtain or attempt to obtain mail from any of these sources;
  • Remove the contents of any stolen mail;
  • Destroy or hide any stolen mail;
  • Buy, receive, or possess any stolen mail, knowing that it is stolen.

Mail theft is commonly associated with identity theft because thieves usually steal mail to obtain the personal identifying information of the recipients.

In California, 530.5(e) PC is a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of: summary probation, up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, the federal crime of mail theft under 18 US Code 1708 is much steeper, and can result in up to five years in prison.

The thought of someone stealing your mail and using the information contained therein to steal your identity is a scary one, and it’s important to protect yourself. If you’re going to be on vacation, whether during the holiday season or any other time, call your local post office and have them put a stop on your mail delivery until you return. If for some reason you’re unable to do so, or if you’re expecting something with information you need immediately, have a trusted friend or neighbor pick your mail up for you when it’s delivered.

If you live in a neighborhood where mail theft has been an issue before, consider talking to your neighbors and starting a neighborhood watch. If people are on the lookout for suspicious activity, odds are they’ll see something and be able to report it long before anyone notices their mail has been stolen.

Opt for paperless billing. Bills and receipts can contain personal identifying information that thieves need to steal your identity. The fewer bills you receive in the mail, the better. By opting for more paperless correspondences, you’ll cut down significantly on the amount of personal information about you making its way through the postal system.

Human Trafficking Suspects Arrested

| Police Blotter | December 7, 2018

Recently, San Bernardino County investigators arrested two women on suspicion of pimping, pandering, and human trafficking of a minor. The investigation began when detectives were alerted to an online posting that appeared to be advertising an underage girl for prostitution. According to the ad, the girl appeared to be being prostituted out of the ironically-named Best Ontario Inn on Mission Boulevard in Ontario. Upon further investigation, deputies tracked the girl down at an apartment complex in Highland.

On Wednesday, November 28 at around 9 a.m., deputies arrived at the apartment complex to serve a warrant and conduct surveillance when they noticed a teenage girl fitting the victim’s description walking along with a juvenile male. The two were detained by law enforcement and taken to the apartment where it was believed that the suspect was staying. Police served the warrant at the apartment and arrested two women, one 40-years-old and one 44-years-old, and took them as well as the two juveniles to the sheriff station for questioning.
During questioning, detectives affirmed that the 17-year-old girl they had detained was indeed the victim, though the juvenile male was deemed to be unrelated to the case and was subsequently released to his mother. After questioning, the two middle-aged suspects were arrested. Another young girl, this one 15, who also lived in the apartment was located later on and put into protective custody while an investigation into whether or not she was also a victim of prostitution takes place.

Pimping and pandering are covered under California Penal Codes 266h and 266i PC and are described as knowingly receiving financial support from someone engaged in prostitution or receiving compensation for soliciting a prostitute (pimping), and procures, persuades, encourages, or otherwise assists someone into becoming a prostitute (pandering). Both crimes are felonies in California, and the possible penalties include three to six years in California State prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. However, since the victim was a minor, the suspects face up to eight years in prison and mandatory registration as a tier-three sex offender.

Human trafficking is a separate crime that often goes along with pimping and/or pandering charges. Human trafficking of a minor is covered under California Penal Code 236.1 PC and is described as depriving someone of their personal liberty with the intent to:
Obtain forced labor from them
Violate California laws against pimping and pandering, child pornography, or extortion and blackmail
Persuading or attempting to persuade a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, with the intent to violate one of those same laws.

Human trafficking is always a felony in California and the possible penalties include five to twelve years in California State prison and a fine of up to $500,000. For those who are convicted of human trafficking in order to commit a crime in relation to a commercial sex act, the potential prison sentence is increased to 20 years.

Felon Confronts Deputies at Santa Clarita Gas Station

| Police Blotter | November 29, 2018

In the early morning hours of Friday, November 23, deputies were called to a Chevron gas station on Lyons Avenue to respond to a report of an altercation. Once they arrived on scene, the suspect in the altercation immediately confronted the deputies and the row quickly got physical. The suspect is reported to have assaulted a deputy before trying to flee the scene on foot. He was arrested a short while later and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, assault on a police officer and evading a police officer.

Under California Penal Code 29800 PC, the acquisition or owning of a firearm or ammunition is illegal for anyone convicted of a felony, several specific misdemeanors, or narcotic drug addicts. Anyone in one or more of the aforementioned groups cannot own, possess, purchase, or receive a firearm and, if they are found to have done so, can lose their gun rights for a minimum of 10 years, and some can have their gun rights revoked for life.

The misdemeanor convictions that make one eligible for charges under PC 29800 include certain violations of PC 245 – assault with a deadly weapon, certain violations of PC 417 – brandishing a weapon, and several California sex crimes. California Penal Code 29800 PC is always a felony, and the possible penalties include 16 months to three years in county jail and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.

California Penal Codes 243(b) and 243(c)(2) PC cover battery on a peace/police officer. The crime can be charged when a suspect commits battery, and the suspect either knew, or should have reasonably known that the victim of the battery was a peace/police officer. Peace/police officers are a class of protected officials which includes custodial officers, firefighters, EMTs, process servers, employees of a probation department, and doctors and nurses providing emergency medical care.

California Penal Code 243(b) is a misdemeanor and is typically charged when battery of a peace/police officer occurs but no injury is inflicted. The potential penalty includes summary probation, up to one year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,000. If injury does occur during the commission of the battery, then it is likely the suspect will be charged under PC 243(c) which can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties are the same as those previously stated. If charged as a felony, the penalties include formal probation, 16 months to three years in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Finally, evading a peace officer, or resisting arrest, is covered under California Penal Code 148(a)(1) PC and makes it illegal to willfully resist, delay, or otherwise a law enforcement officer or other emergency personnel from performing their duties. The crime is a misdemeanor with the possible penalties including up to one year in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Robbery – California Penal Code 211 PC

| Police Blotter | November 21, 2018

On the evening of Saturday, November 17, a man allegedly held up a cashier at the Stevenson Ranch Walmart located on the Old Road. Afterward, the suspect successfully fled with an undisclosed amount of money, as his flight through the parking lot was tracked via security cameras. Eventually, the suspect made it out of the cameras’ field of view. Nobody was hurt during the incident and deputies are currently searching for the suspect.

Robbery is described under California Penal Code 211 PC as “the unlawful taking of property from another person or their immediate presence, against the property owner’s will and by using force or fear to do so. Interestingly, the person in possession of the property does not need to be holding it, nor does the property actually have to belong to them. For example, the cash in the register at the Walmart didn’t belong to the cashier, and they likely weren’t holding it all when the suspect endeavored to relieve them of it. However, the cashier was working the register which held the money, and was therefore in control of it, thus fitting the definition of possession as required by law.

In order for someone to be charged with robbery, as opposed to another of California’s theft crimes, the use of force or fear must be employed when the suspect is attempting to take possession of the property from the victim. Force is defined as physical force for the purposes of robbery charges, and fear is defined as the fear of injury to either the victim, their family, the property being taken, or someone else present during the robbery. Additionally, California courts have held that drugging someone in order to relieve them of property in their possession counts as robbery, even though the use of “force or fear” as defined by PC 211 isn’t necessarily present.

Robbery is divided into two types: first-degree robbery and second-degree robbery. First-degree robbery is always a felony and occurs in situations where the victim is the driver of a bus, taxi, cable car, street car, or other similar form of transportation for hire; the robbery takes place in an inhabited house, trailer, or boat; or the robbery takes place during or immediately after the victim uses an ATM machine. Felony robbery charges include the possible penalties of formal probation, three to six years in California state prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Second-degree robbery includes any type of robbery that doesn’t meet the criteria for first-degree robbery. The potential penalties include formal probation, two to five years in California state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Robbery also counts as a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law.

The potential sentences for robbery charges are eligible for significant enhancement if the defendant used a gun during the commission of the crime. Under California Penal Code 12022.53 PC, California’s 10-20-Life Use a Gun and You’re Done law, the defendant will receive an additional 10 years for personally using a firearm during the robbery, 20 years for personally and intentionally firing a gun during the robbery and, 25 years to life by causing great bodily injury or death with a firearm during a robbery. Since nobody was hurt during the robbery of the Stevenson Ranch Walmart, and the gun was not fired, the suspect stands to have their penalty enhanced to an additional 10 years in California state prison.

Penal Code 368 PC – California’s Elder Abuse Laws

| Canyon Country Magazine | November 17, 2018

A few weeks ago in mid-October, deputies received a report on Nearview Drive in Canyon Country about a possible domestic disturbance between two roommates. When deputies arrived, they discovered that an argument between a 57-year-old man and his 79-year-old roommate had become physical. After a brief investigation, the younger man was arrested on suspicion of elder abuse.

Elder abuse is covered under California Penal Code 368 PC and covers several situations, including:
Physical abuse
Emotional abuse
Neglect and endangerment
Financial exploitation
Elder abuse has been on the rise in the U.S. for years, and those who are most often charged with it are family members or caregivers of the victim. However, it’s possible to be charged with elder abuse even if you have no relation to the victim.

Laws that granted senior citizens special protections were first put on the books in California during the early 1980s. In 1982, the California Legislature acknowledged that “dependent adults” (people who, due to their age or a disability, are dependent on others to meet their daily needs) are often on medication, confused, or mentally/physically impaired. This puts them in a place where special protections are necessary to ensure that others don’t take advantage of them or abuse them. It wasn’t until 1983 that Penal Code 368 was enacted to protect dependent adults. However, in 1986 the law was amended to extend protections to all elders.

Elder abuse is a “wobbler” in California Law, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the crime and the defendant’s prior criminal history. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include: informal probation, up to 1 year in county jail, a maximum fine of $6,000 ($10,000 for a second offense), restitution, and/or counseling. Felony penalties include: formal probation, 2 to 7 years in California state prison, up to $10,000 in fines, restitution, and/or counseling.

Zero Tolerance for Hate Crimes

| Police Blotter | November 15, 2018

Last September, on the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur, a man in North Hollywood snatched the wig from an 80-year-old Jewish woman’s head. The man then smiled at the elderly lady before handing the wig back to her and walking away. Later that day, he attempted to snatch the wig from a 36-year-old woman walking down the street in the same area. Then on Tuesday, November 6, the same man approached a 58-year-old woman and tore off her wig. Afterward, he threw the wig to the ground while sarcastically claiming to be “sorry” before walking away. After the third wig-snatching incident, police released information about the suspect and made an arrest shortly thereafter.

Normally, someone doing something like this would probably be charged with battery and little else. However, due to special circumstances in these incidents, the man is facing possible hate crime charges as well.

In California, a hate crime is defined as harming, harassing, or threatening someone because of their disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Since all three of the suspect’s alleged victims were Jewish women, and the wigs, scarves, or other hair coverings are considered symbols of modesty in Orthodox Jewish culture, it’s possible that the man’s actions were motivated by anti-Semitism. When a person harms, harasses, or threatens someone and the motivation to do so stems, at least in part, from the fact that the victim has one or more of the aforementioned characteristics, it’s possible to have the crime they are charged with upgraded to a hate crime.

Hate crimes don’t have to include assault, battery, or even happen in front of the victim. Vandalism, for example, can be considered a hate crime if it fits the above criteria. Additionally, it’s possible to commit a hate crime in California even if the intended victim didn’t actually possess any of the characteristics protected under law. What matters is if the suspect is motivated by the belief that the victim had one or more of the characteristics.

The penalties for hate crimes are much harsher than those of the underlying crime, and it’s possible to be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony hate crime. If the underlying crime an individual is charged with is also a hate crime, a misdemeanor-level offense becomes a “wobbler” which could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the penalties include informal probation, up to 1 year in county jail, a fine of up to $5,000, and/or up to 400 hours of community service. If charged as a felony, the penalties include formal probation, 16 months to three years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

If the underlying crime for which the defendant is charged is a felony and not a misdemeanor, the sentence for that underlying crime is enhanced to include an additional prison sentence of one to three years – on top of the sentence for the underlying crime. So, if a person were to commit felony robbery as a hate crime and receive a sentence of five years in prison, they would receive an additional one to three years in prison as an enhancement.

The International Day for Tolerance falls on November 16 and is an annual observance day declared by UNESCO to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance. Read more about it and do your part to help end any hate in your community.

Child Abuse – California Penal Code 273d

| Police Blotter | November 8, 2018

On Friday, November 2, a 64-year-old teacher was arrested under suspicion of child abuse after he is alleged to have punched a student multiple times. According to a cell phone video caught by another student in the class, the situation started when a 14-year-old student confronted the teacher for allegedly having spoken ill about the boy. Initially, the teacher took a passive stance, so the student’s provocation increases to cursing and calling him by a racial epithet. Eventually, the teacher snapped and began hitting the boy repeatedly, using the hand that was holding his cell phone to do so.

Eventually, the fight was broken up, and after a call to the LASD, the on-campus police related what had occurred. After that, the teacher was arrested on suspicion of child abuse charges and held in lieu of $50,000 bond. He was released from jail the following day and is scheduled to be arraigned on November 30.

Child abuse is covered under California Penal Code 273d and is described as the willful infliction of either:
Cruel or inhuman corporal punishment, or
An injury that results in a traumatic condition on a minor who is under 18

Under California law, the term “corporal punishment” refers to the punishing of the body, as opposed to the emotions. A “traumatic condition” is any wound, minor or serious, caused by the direct application of physical force. “Willfully” indicates that the person who inflicted the punishment or injury intended to do so at the time. For example, punching a child in the face in an attempt to injure them would be considered willful. Accidentally elbowing a child in the face that you didn’t know was there would more than likely not.
PC 273d applies to many types of abuse or applications of force other than punching, including slapping, kicking, choking, pushing, shaking, and more. However, spanking is not covered under PC 273d provided that it is done for disciplinary purposes and isn’t excessive under the circumstances. It should be noted that the description of when spanking is not considered child abuse is deliberately vague. There are strong opinions both for and against spanking as a punishment, and while it is legally allowed today, things may change tomorrow.

Like many of California’s laws, Penal Code 273d is a “wobbler” that 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 summary probation or up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $6,000.

For felony charges, the penalties include a jail sentence of two, four, or six years and/or a fine of up to $6,000. It is also possible that the defendant is sentenced to formal (felony) probation for part (or all) of their sentence instead of jail.

California Penal Code 284 PC – Marrying the Husband or Wife of Another

| Police Blotter | November 1, 2018

In the State of California, it’s illegal to marry someone if that person is already married to someone else. California Penal Code 284 PC is the mirror-image of California’s bigamy law (PC 281) which makes it illegal to marry someone when you are already married to someone else.

Under California Law, a person can be charged with violating Penal Code 284 if they get married to someone who is still married to someone else, as long as they do so knowingly and willfully. For example, if Bob asks Jan to marry him, and Jan does so knowing full-well that Bob is already married to another woman somewhere else, then Jan is eligible to be charged with a crime. However, if Jan marries Bob without knowing he was already married, she isn’t eligible to be charged.

It may seem a little out there, but California Penal Code 284 does come into play from time to time. People generally don’t marry someone who is already married to someone else with whom they are also cohabitating. It usually occurs when one person wants to marry another, but one of the parties is separated from his or her current legal spouse and/or has tried unsuccessfully to get a divorce or if the spouse of the person who is already married lives in another country. In order to legally marry someone who has already been married, the previous marriage must have been annulled, declared void, or dissolved by a court with the jurisdiction to do so (this includes divorce).

There is a specific set of circumstances that exist under which it’s possible to knowingly marry someone who is already married. First, the married person’s spouse must have been absent for five years in a row. Second, during those five years, the person you want to marry has not known for a fact that their spouse is still alive.

Bigamy, that is, being married to one person and also marrying someone else is a “wobbler” in California that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Surprisingly, the flip-side of this law, marrying someone who is already married, is a felony offense in California. The possible penalties include 16 months to three years in jail and/or felony probation and/or a fine of no less than $5,000 and no more than $10,000.

Halloween 2018 Events and Safety Tips

| Police Blotter | October 25, 2018

Halloween is just around the corner, and there are a ton of events going on this year in the Santa Clarita and Los Angeles areas. From haunted houses to haunted hayrides, L.A. County knows how to do Halloween right. If you’re a horror-lover, party fiend, or someone for whom the past couple years haven’t been scary enough, below are various, tantalizingly terrifying events to attend.

Halloween in SCV
With so many different events going on around Santa Clarita, there were just too many to mention here. So along with the Jack the Ripper Virtual Reality Haunted House, the Haunted Jailhouse, The Lazer Street Dark Ops Lazer Tag event, Fright Fest at Six Flags, the Coffinwood Cemetery Home Haunt, Halloween Fiesta, Trunk or Treat, Monster Mash Senses Block Party, Costume Contests, Fall Festivals, Pumpkin Patches and so much more, we direct you to the Santa Clarita guide link for all the gory details! https://santaclaritaguide.com/HarvestFunSCV.html

Halloween & Mourning Tours Oct. 27-28
If you’re into history and the macabre, the Heritage Square Museum in Montecito Heights has something special just for you. On October 27, you’ll be able to learn all about the death and mourning etiquette during the Victorian Era, including how clothing played a role in mourning, a crash-course in spiritualism, and even a bit of fortune-telling. Afterward, you’ll be able to attend a period-specific funeral in one of the historic homes. If you have kids you’d like to bring, there will be period-specific games, 19th century arts and crafts, and ghost stories!

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride Oct. 18-31
The Annual Haunted Hayride in Griffith Park will be in full-swing once again. For those who aren’t in the know, this is no ordinary romp through the pumpkin patch. Ghosts, demons, and other untold horrors await those who dare to venture forth this Halloween. There will also be a “scary-go-round” for little kids and cowards, and pitch black mazes teeming with both demons and maniacs.

West Hollywood Costume Carnival Oct. 31
No list of Halloween events in Los Angeles would ever be complete without mentioning the largest Halloween street party in the world. If you don’t like crowds, then this event may not be for you since roughly half a million people tend to show up every year. The festivities this year include dancing, drinking, costume contests, a parade, and more!

There’s a whole lot more going on this month in Los Angeles in celebration of Halloween – too much to list. Whatever you choose to do though, drive extra carefully, and never get behind the wheel if you’re going to consume alcohol.

Like every holiday, law enforcement will be out on the streets looking for anyone showing signs of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Also, if you’re going to be out and about in residential areas, be alert – there will be scores of children out on the streets both before and after dark. Kids are unpredictable and like to dart out into traffic without warning, so whenever you’re driving around children, take it extra slow. Have a fun, safe and happy Halloween!

California Penal Code 4800 PC – Executive Clemency

| Police Blotter | October 18, 2018

It’s possible for an inmate who is serving time in a California prison or jail to petition the governor to have their sentence commuted. When a sentence is commuted, it doesn’t mean that the person is no longer guilty of the crime, nor does it alter their criminal record. It just reduces or eliminates a prisoner’s sentence, or it can make a prisoner immediately eligible for parole. Whether or not that prisoner is released on parole will still be up to the California’s Board of Parole hearings.

Anyone who is convicted of a crime in California is eligible for commutation, with the exception of impeached government officials. However, a governor doesn’t have the power to commute the sentence of just anyone. If the prisoner was convicted of a federal crime, a military offense or a violation of the law in another state or country, the governor cannot commute their sentence. Additionally, if a prisoner was convicted of two or more felonies, the governor cannot commute their sentence without a majority consent on the California Supreme Court. On their own, the governor has the power to grant the commutation of sentence for any number of misdemeanors, but only one felony.

To apply for commutation of a sentence, a prisoner must notify the District Attorney’s office in the county where the crime was committed, and complete and mail a notarized application to the governor. Upon receiving the application, the governor is not required to consider an application for clemency – let alone grant it. When the governor decides to do so, the application is typically referred to the Board of Parole Hearings who will then conduct an investigation and recommend to the governor whether or not the prisoner’s request should be granted.

Having a sentence commuted is not the same as receiving a pardon. Pardons are issued on rare occasions when someone has been rehabilitated of a crime, and it can remove some of the restrictions set upon someone who has been convicted of a crime. Some of the benefits of receiving a governor’s pardon can include: the right to serve on a jury, relief from the duty to register as a sex offender, restoration of gun rights (though not always), the right to be employed as a county probation officer or state parole officer, and the right to apply for state professional licensing without being automatically denied.

A governor’s pardon does not seal a person’s criminal record, nor does it expunge the crime from said record. It’s still possible for an employer to learn about the conviction (though a pardon can often improve one’s chances of being hired). Also, if the defendant was convicted of a crime using a dangerous weapon (gun, knife, metal knuckles, concealed explosive), their gun rights will not be restored upon receiving a pardon.

It should be noted that a pardon is not required for someone convicted of a felony to restore their ability to vote. The right to vote in California is automatically restored once the person convicted of a felony has been released from prison and successfully completes their parole.

Most people convicted of a crime can petition for a governor’s pardon after a certain period of rehabilitation (usually 7 to 10 years). The time begins when the defendant is released from custody and completes their probationary period or parole, and the defendant cannot commit any crimes over the duration of the rehabilitation period.

California Penal Code 1001.36 PC – Mental Health Diversion

| Police Blotter | October 11, 2018

In recent years, both police and the courts have been paying more attention to the mental health status of suspects with whom they come into contact. Under California Penal Code 1001.36 PC, recently enacted in June of 2018, a qualifying defendant can undergo mental health treatment after they’ve been charged with a crime and, upon successful completion of the treatment program, have their charges dismissed.

Known as California’s Mental Health Diversion Program, PC 1001.36 is part of a broader pretrial diversion system designed to allow defendants in certain situations seek treatment before their trial continues. Treatment can be requested at any point in the defendant’s criminal case before they are sentenced.

A person’s mental health status isn’t the only qualifier that can render them eligible for one of California’s diversion programs. Penal Code 1000 PC describes California’s Pretrial Drug Diversion Program that defendants who are being charged with some non-violent drug crimes involving simple possession to undergo drug treatment.
If they successfully complete their treatment, the charges will be dismissed. There’s even a “bad check” diversion program, where a defendant who is convicted of writing bad checks can request an alternative sentencing program that will allow them to pay restitution toward the victim and, at their own expense, attend an intervention program.

Not every defendant will qualify for one of California’s Diversion Programs. Under Penal Code 1001.36 PC, both misdemeanor and felony defendants can qualify for a mental health intervention if:

  • The defendant suffers from a mental condition other than pedophilia, borderline personality disorder, or antisocial personality disorder
  • The defendant’s mental disorder played a significant role in the commission of the crime
  • A qualified mental health expert believes the defendant would respond to treatment
  • The defendant consents to diversion and waves their right to a speedy trial
  • The defendant agrees to comply with the treatment as a condition of diversion
  • The court is satisfied that the defendant will not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to the community

When a defendant undergoes mental health treatment as part of the diversion program, the treatment can last up to two years and can consist of in-patient and/or out-patient therapy. If the defendant successfully completes the treatment, the court will dismiss the charges against them at the end of the treatment period. If the defendant does not successfully complete treatment, they aren’t sent to jail. Instead, the criminal proceedings in the defendant’s case are resumed and will continue to move toward trial.

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