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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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| Police Blotter | 12 hours ago

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.

Kidnapping Attempt in SCV

| Canyon Country Magazine | October 10, 2018

A near-tragedy occurred last month when a man attempted to kidnap a toddler from her mother’s arms outside a local shopping center. According to the girl’s mother, she and her 2-year-old daughter were walking along a storefront when a man attempted to grab the little girl. The quick-thinking mother noticed the man reaching for her daughter and was able to grab her before the suspect could, after which he ran off.

The mother of the little girl immediately called police, who were able to arrest the man about a mile from where the incident occurred as he was getting into his motor home. The suspect was in his 60s and is currently being held at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Having a child kidnapped is a terrifying prospect for any parent, and it’s a frighteningly common crime nationally. Even in the SCV, reports of kidnappings and alleged kidnappings aren’t outside the norm. And in August a 12-year-old boy was able to escape from an attempted kidnapping in the stairwell of a Canyon Country apartment building. Last year in June, another Canyon Country resident – a 15-year-old girl – was nearly kidnapped when a man tried to snatch her from a parking lot at around 10:00 in the morning.

Teenage girls and young children are targeted by would-be kidnappers the most. Kidnappers, like most criminals, don’t want attention, and the best thing you can do is to teach your child how to react in a situation like this starting from an early age. Most children are taught not to talk to strangers, but as they grow older they tend to distrust unknown people less than they did when they were younger. Still, it’s important to remember that they should never get into a stranger’s vehicle, even if they seem helpful and offer to take them home or to work. If your children ever find themselves being grabbed or forced into someone else’s vehicle, make sure they know to yell and scream. Creating a scene will get others to notice and may scare off the kidnapper.

Be sure that all young children know their full name, age, and phone number as soon as they’re able to, and know to contact a police officer or other safe adult if they ever find themselves separated from their parents or guardians.

California Penal Code 503 PC – Embezzlement

| Police Blotter | October 4, 2018

Recently, a Santa Clarita woman was arrested on suspicion of embezzling money from the Girl Scouts of America and a cancer organization. The suspect had been the volunteer treasurer for the Girl Scouts of America for 20 years, and also served as the CFO for the Beverly Hills Cancer Center.

The investigation began just over a year ago when a Girl Scouts group alerted law enforcement to financial irregularities and suspected that the woman was stealing. When police began looking into it, their investigation quickly widened. After the suspect’s arrest on September 25, investigators served a search warrant in her home where they located additional evidence of theft. It’s believed that the suspect embezzled $58,000 over the past five years from the Girl Scouts, and another $30,000 from the time when she was serving as CFO for the Beverly Hills Cancer Center. According to police, the suspect didn’t live an extravagant lifestyle and it’s believed the embezzlement occurred due to financial struggles on the part of the suspect.

Embezzlement is covered under California Penal Code 503 PC and is described as fraudulently appropriating property that belongs to someone else and has been entrusted to you. In TV and movies, embezzlement is usually associated with the theft of very large sums of money and high-powered executives, but in realty, embezzlement frequently involves very small amounts of money or property and suspects have a wide range of jobs and relationships.

Interestingly, it’s possible to be charged with embezzlement even if the suspect doesn’t intend to keep the property they appropriated. For embezzlement to occur, the owner of money or property must entrust it to the suspect because they trust them. Simply being an employee of a given company or a member of an organization doesn’t imply a position of trust, and when someone steals under these conditions, it’s usually charged as theft. You can think of the crime of embezzlement as betraying the trust of someone who entrusted you with money or property because they trust you – not necessarily just because it’s part of your job.

The penalties for violating California Penal Code 503 PC will depend on the value and type of property that was embezzled. If the amount of money or value of the property was worth more than $950 dollars, was an automobile, or was a firearm, the defendant will face the penalties for grand theft (PC 487) – which is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include misdemeanor probation, up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If charged as a felony, the possible penalties include felony probation, 16 months to three years in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If the value of the money or property stolen was exceptionally high, the defendant faces additional and consecutive penalties of as many as four years in jail.

If the value of the money or property embezzled totals less than $950, the crime will likely be charged as a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of misdemeanor probation, up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

California Penal Code 262 PC – Spousal Rape

| Police Blotter | September 27, 2018

It’s a subject in the news quite a bit, but for some, difficult to discuss … Rape – having sexual intercourse with someone without their consent – is illegal no matter who the person is, even if it’s the defendant’s spouse. A lot of people may not realize that spousal rape (also referred to as marital rape) is a crime, but it is, and it’s been on the books since the late 1970s.

Today, spousal rape is illegal in all 50 states, but the punishments can vary pretty widely. In California, rape of a spouse is treated similarly to rape of a stranger (PC 261), and all of the penalties are nearly identical.

Under California Penal Code 262 PC, rape of a spouse must be accomplished using one of the following criteria: force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of bodily injury. Additionally, a person can be charged with spousal rape under PC 262 if they engage in sexual intercourse with their spouse and:

  • The defendant knows that the spouse is unable to resist due to intoxication with drugs, alcohol or medication
  • The spouse is unconscious of what’s going on
  • The defendant persuades the spouse into having intercourse by threatening kidnapping, inflicting extreme pain, serious bodily injury or death AND there is reasonable possibility that the threat will be carried out
  • The defendant coerces the spouse into having intercourse by making them believe that the defendant is a public official who can arrest, incarcerate or deport the spouse

According to California Law, for sexual intercourse to occur, there must be some form of penetration, no matter how brief or how slight. The state defines “consent” as being able to act freely and voluntarily, and knows the nature of the act they are agreeing to.
Interestingly, requests for contraception or birth control before performing intercourse does not show that the victim consented to have sex in the eyes of the law. For example, suppose a spouse is threatened into having intercourse by an abusive partner and the victim requests that his or her spouse use protection during the intercourse. The victim in this situation isn’t considered to be giving consent, as far as the law is concerned, simply because the individual requested that a condom be used.

As previously mentioned, the penalties for spousal rape are similar to those for rape of a stranger. The crime is a felony and the penalties include: three, six, or eight years in California state prison, increased by three to five years if the victim suffered great bodily injury, up to $10,000 in fines, and possible mandatory registration as a sex offender. If the defendant has been convicted of multiple sex crimes, and the spousal rape was accomplished using force, fear, or threats of death or great bodily injury, it’s possible to receive a sentence of life in prison.

How a Bail Bondsman Serves the Community and Assists Law Enforcement Officers

| Police Blotter | September 20, 2018

Bail Bondsmen and women provide a valuable service to both the community and to law enforcement by monitoring defendants and ensuring that they attend their court mandated appointments without putting further stress on law enforcement officers and individual tax payers.

Additionally, the bail process itself serves as a powerful motivation for a defendant to return to court. No one wants to lose tens of thousands of dollars, nor would a defendant want to be the reason that their friends and/or family lost money by his or her not returning to court. Bail provides defendants a financial incentive, along with the family or friends that cosign on the bail bond.

When someone is arrested and taken into custody, generally, the first stop they will make is the local police or sheriff station in the area where they were arrested. They will go through the booking and processing procedure, which includes having their fingerprints recorded, photograph taken, and a comprehensive national background check is conducted to check for any outstanding warrants. Once all of these processes are complete, bail will be set for those who are eligible, depending on the nature and severity of the crime they have been charged with. A bail bondsman can help to administrate all of the details post-arrest, giving the defendant important information and guidance they’ll need to get through the court process in a smooth, trouble free way.

A bail bondsman doesn’t have to go through the court system to bail someone out of jail; they can bail someone out of just about every police station, sheriff station, jail or any time of day or night, including weekends and holidays. They can also bail out people directly from court.

When people work with a bail bondsman, they choose to not have to pay the full amount of bail set by the judge. For example, if an individual wants to bail someone out who has been charged with a $20,000 Felony, they would only pay 10 percent or less, instead of the full twenty-thousand dollars. This makes it easier for families to help their friends or loved one deal with their charges from the outside, not from the inside of a jail cell. Additionally, working with a bail bondsman allows people to choose to finance the bail bond at low monthly payments, instead of paying it all in one lump-sum. No taxes, interest, fees, or other charges are levied when a bail bond is financed.

The way the bail process currently stands, if a defendant does not fulfill all of their court-related obligations, it is the bail bondsman – not the police, or already over-worked staff of law enforcement in charge of locating a defendant and bringing them back to jail. The bail process via a bondsman has never cost the tax payer any money, and is a sound part of criminal justice system that has worked well for many, many years.

Penal Code 118 PC – Perjury

| Police Blotter | September 13, 2018

Perjury is a serious crime. It’s covered under California Penal Code 118 PC and is described as deliberately giving false information while under oath. Perjury usually comes up in the news when someone lies while giving testimony during court proceedings; however, there are several situations in which an individual is subject to California’s perjury law, including: when being deposed, in a signed affidavit, in a signed declaration or certificate, and on a DL 44 drivers license application at the DMV.

When a person is accused of committing perjury, there are four separate facts that a prosecutor must be able to prove.

The Statement was Willful or Deliberate

When a person makes a verbal or written statement that is then conveyed to another person that is intended to be taken as true, then the statement is considered to be willful and deliberate. Conveyance of the verbal or written statement from one person to another is required for this element of the crime to be true. It isn’t considered perjury if someone says or writes something to themselves that contains a false statement.

You Must Know that the Statement is False

Stating something that is false doesn’t necessarily constitute lying if the person making the statement believes it to be true. People mistake facts all the time, and making an honest mistake when you’re under oath isn’t a crime. For example, if a person gives testimony in court that they saw a defendant wearing all black clothing during the commission of a crime, when the defendant was actually wearing dark blue clothing, the person on the stand likely won’t be charged with perjury because they were unaware that the person’s clothing was different from what they thought.

You Must be Under Oath at the Time the Statement is Made

If you’re not under oath, or signing paperwork that falls under PC 118 (such as a DL 44 application at the DMV), then you can’t be charged with perjury. The law explicitly states that an individual must deliberately give false information while under oath. No oath, no perjury.
The Statement was Related to Material Fact

Not every false statement made under oath necessarily qualifies one to be charged with perjury. To be eligible for charges, one must make a false statement under oath pertaining to a “material fact.” A “material fact” is a fact that has great importance or consequence. For a statement of fact to be considered material, it must satisfy one of two criteria.
The statement must be used to affect the outcome of the proceeding or
The statement has the probability of affecting the outcome of the proceeding
It’s important to note that the statement doesn’t have to actually affect the proceeding, it just has to be made with the intention of affecting it or has to have the probably of affecting it.

Perjury is a felony in California, and carries the possible penalties of felony probation with up to one year in county jail or two, three, or four years in county jail. Judges have a great deal of leeway when it comes to sentencing someone for perjury, and will take into account the defendant’s prior criminal history as well as what effect, if any, the perjury had.

Back to School Safety Tips

| Canyon Country Magazine | September 8, 2018

It’s the time of year when kids go back to school, and during our morning commute the Canyon Country streets will be bustling with kids of all ages. There’s also likely to be extra congestion as buses pick up and drop off passengers. Drivers need to slow down and pay attention this time of year, as there will be children on the streets.

According to the National Safety Council, there are a few things you should keep in mind during the times of day when children will be traveling to and from school.
Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at an intersection. It could force pedestrians to step into areas where traffic is moving to get around your car.
Yield to pedestrians when you’re driving in a school zone – especially if there are flashers blinking.
Watch for children in school zones, near parks, and in residential areas, because younger kids are prone to darting out from between cars.
Never pass a vehicle that’s stopped for pedestrians (especially a bus) because there may be people crossing in front of it.

If you’ve lived in or near a school zone for a while, you’re probably used to all of this by now. But for a lot of people, it can be jarring to suddenly have to change how you drive because children are flooding the streets on the way to school. Luckily, it’s really only the early morning and mid-afternoons that most children are going to be out.

Last, but not least, hectic mornings and afternoons are times when child predators are more likely to strike. If you see something that seems strange, don’t hesitate to call the police. Kidnappings don’t happen often, but they do happen, and the sooner the police can be informed, the better.

Alcohol a Factor in July 4 Collision

| Police Blotter | September 6, 2018

On July 4 of this year, a young Santa Clarita man who served in the Marines was killed when he lost control of his vehicle, flipped it, and slid into a utility pole. It’s recently been released that he had a BAC of .22 when the accident took place, and that alcohol very likely played a factor in the collision.

According to reports, the man was driving down the street at a high rate of speed near the intersection of Bouquet Cyn. Rd. and Wellston Dr. when he attempted to make a lane change. He ended up hitting a vehicle traveling in front of him, causing him to lose control as the vehicle flipped onto its side and slide into a SoCal Edison pole. The vehicle he collided with was an SUV carrying three people, two of which were transported to the hospital after the collision. Investigators took blood samples to test for the presence of alcohol or drugs, the results of which were made public this week.

A blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater is the legal limit used by law enforcement to determine whether or not a person is intoxicated. At or around this level, a definite muscle coordination impairment is experienced, as well as impaired driving skills. With a BAC of .18 to .25, people generally experience disorientation, confusion, dizziness, and exhibit exaggerated emotional states. Their vision is effected by way of color perception, form, motion and dimensions. They also suffer a significant lack of muscle coordination, can begin slurring their speech and even feel apathetic and lethargic.

This tragic incident, and others like it that occur every day, prove positive the need to take care of ourselves, our friends, and our loved ones when it comes to drinking and driving. If you’re hosting a party where people will be consuming alcohol, take special care to watch out for them and make sure nobody gets behind the wheel drunk. Make sure those who drink give you their keys, or at least have someone with them who can drive sober. Call them a taxi or insist that they get an Uber or Lyft to get them where they’re going. If all else fails, and you can’t get them to call an alternative ride or stay at your place, call the cops. It may sound like a rotten thing to do to a friend or a family member, but it may just save their lives.

It’s also important to take the speed at which you or others drink into account. It’s entirely possible to get behind the wheel feeling in control, only to have the alcohol one consumes get absorbed into their bloodstream during the drive home, resulting in an unexpected impairment.

The three people in the SUV are lucky that the collision didn’t cost them more than a trip to the hospital, as alcohol-related collisions often take the lives of others on the roads as well as the impaired driver.

Historically, holidays that are closely associated with drinking have been extremely dangerous times to be on the roads. Just this past Labor Day Weekend, between Friday August 31st and Sunday September 2nd, ten motorists and two pedestrians were killed on California roads and the CHP had arrested over 700 people for DUI.

Labor Day 2018 Celebration Safety Tips

| Police Blotter | August 31, 2018

Labor Day is synonymous with the consumption of alcohol, making Labor Day weekend one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road. National statistics show that an alcohol-related fatal traffic collision occurs once every 51 minutes. Over the course of the three-day Labor Day weekend, that number nearly doubles, increases to one every 34 minutes. Whatever you choose to do, whether it be hosting a party yourself, staying home, or heading out of town, there are steps you can take to help keep your friends and family safe this holiday weekend.

Travelers and Party-Goers
Ideally, staying off the roads is the most effective (and obvious) way of avoiding dangerous traffic conditions. However, staying home isn’t always an option. If you plan to head out this weekend, here are a few safety tips to consider:
Recognize the signs of impaired driving on the roadways, stay away from these drivers, and don’t hesitate to report them. If you see someone swerving, drifting to one side or another, tailgating, unsafe lane changes and turns, etc. can all be signs of an impaired driver at the wheel. These people are extremely dangerous and need to be taken off the road as soon as possible. Calling the police is the right thing to do.
Don’t be one of them. If you’re going to consume alcohol, either make plans to stay where you’re going, set a designated driver, or use a ride sharing app like Uber or Lyft. Also, never, ever get into the car with a driver who has been drinking.
Don’t drive too closely to other cars. If you’re on the road during peak travel times, this may be unavoidable. Still, try to practice defensive driving and leave yourself some room to react.

Hosts
Hosting your own gathering is a great way to stay off the roads yourself, but it’s important to be protective of the people you invite. Here are a few things to consider if you plan to have people over:

Have everyone who plans to consume alcohol give their keys to you and keep them in a large bowl or jar. This way, they have to go through you before they get behind the wheel.

Provide non-alcoholic drinks for designated drivers and others who may choose to remain sober.

If someone tries to leave who has been drinking, help them get a taxi or acquire another form of transportation. If all else fails, insist they stay over.

Prepare space ahead of time for family or friends to stay. A lot of people may refuse simply because they don’t want to impose. Knowing you planned having people stay from the get-go may help alleviate their apprehension.

Getting a DUI won’t just ruin your holiday weekend, it will affect your life for months to come. A first-time DUI can result in jail time, several thousand dollars in fees and the loss/suspension of driving privileges – at best. At worst, it can cost you your life, or cost the lives of others on the roadway and result in manslaughter or even murder charges. Using common sense and looking out for others can help ensure all of you enjoy a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend.

Did Your Constitutional Right to Bail Just Get Voted Away?

| Police Blotter | August 23, 2018

Just this week, SB10 – California’s Bail Reform Law, has passed the State Assembly and now goes back to the Senate to decide whether or not they want to send it to the Governor’s desk. The bill passed by the bare minimum that senate rules allow, and the very same day voting took place, several previous backers of the bill pulled their support. Among those is the American Civil Liberties Union, saying that recent changes to the bill gave too much power to judges to decide who does and does not deserve to be freed while they await their court date.

These decisions, the ACLU claims, open doors wide open for several forms of discrimination, including racial, sex, gender, etc. – all of which currently permeate our criminal justice system at every level. Judges already have the power to reduce or even eliminate bail requirements for defendants who can’t afford to pay bail for their release. Those who aren’t deemed a threat to the community are either released or given a smaller bail amount.

A number of additional groups opposed to the bill’s passage, including the California Public Defender’s Association, that foresee more people being detained post-arrest after bail is eliminated. The bill only allows for the release of non-violent misdemeanor offenders, while most felony defendants and violent misdemeanor defendants will remain in jail without the possibility of ever getting out before their trial. Also, by removing the bail system entirely, the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution is called into question. In the Amendment, it states that:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

The wording of the 8th Amendment begs the questions: In mandating that excessive bail shall not be required, does it not also imply that bail is a right that citizens if the U.S. should have? Under current U.S. law, a person is “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law,” meaning that without the possibility of bail, innocent people will be held in jail until their case goes to trial (which can take several months, or even years) or until they’re forced to plead guilty to the crime (which they may not have committed) in an attempt to get out of jail. Wouldn’t jailing innocent people be considered “cruel and unusual punishment?”

If SB10 is signed into law, it’s going to change things significantly for our state, and it’s going to cost us a lot more. For example:

Will cost Calif. counties collectively $3.8 billion per year (Washington D.C. system costs $65 million with a population of only 670,000 people).
Counties will be forced to apply to the Commission on State Mandates for Cost Reimbursement. This process alone will take years to sort out and will put immense pressure on every county to first implement and outlay resources with a speculative chance at savings, only then to determine the net costs.
Will require every county to develop and staff a pretrial services department. The defendant cannot be charged any costs for services or ordered to reimburse the county, regardless of a defendant’s ability to pay.
Will crowd out funding for other county programs and agencies like the district attorney’s office, the public defender’s office, the sheriff’s office and mental health services.
More than triple the time that each person spends in jail pretrial because it completely eliminates a person’s right to post bail. Instead, every arrestee will languish in jail until that person’s case is reviewed by a judge.
Will significantly increase the number of fugitives within the state and warrants for their arrest. (Presently there are approx. 1.7 million warrants in the system, at a cost of $1775 per FTA (Research Report, Dallas County Texas 2014 Study calculates to over $3 billion.)
Persons accused of committing a violent crime, including some misdemeanors, will not be reviewed for release.
Will cause the incarceration of more pretrial defendants because it eliminates the bail schedule.
Cause the court to release high-risk defendants without bail – bail provides defendants a financial incentive to appear in court, along with friends and family that cosign on the bail bond.
Will take away the rights of the 300,000+ (Ca Bail Ins. Companies – PPIC May 2017 Pretrial Report) defendants who choose to bail out in CA each year (at no cost to the taxpayers)

Essentially, eliminating bail under SB10 will cause people to sit in jail even longer until a judge can personally review their case, take vital funds from an already budget-stretched police department, and it will put potentially violent offenders back on the street. Call your State Senator today to tell them you want them not to send SB10 to the governor. The police don’t like it, the ACLU doesn’t like it, the California Association of Judges doesn’t like it, and neither will you.

Health and Safety Code 11365 HS – Being Present for Illegal Drug Use

| Police Blotter | August 16, 2018

Under Health and Safety Code 11365 HS, it’s illegal to be present in a place where the use of controlled substances is occurring if you do something to aid or abet the people using those substances in some way. Simply being at a party where some people are using illegal drugs isn’t enough to be charged with a crime. A person has to also do something, however minute, that influences the use of the illegal drugs. Some examples could include helping someone tie-off before shooting up, encouraging someone to use their drugs, or acting as a look-out.

In order for someone to be charged with violating Health and Safety Code 11365 HS, a few things have to have occurred:

  • An individual must willfully and intentionally visit a location or be present at a place where people are using one or more substances on a list of controlled substances. Should the individual have been brought there against their will, or ended up there by mistake, they likely won’t face charges.
  • The individual must know that another person or people intended to use one or more controlled substances. If you don’t know illegal drug use is going on, you can hardly aid or abet it.
  • The individual must intend to aid or abet the use of those substances in some way.
  • The individual did do something that aided or abetted the use of controlled substances.
  • The individual knew that their words or actions aided or abetted others in the use of controlled substances.

Under 11365 HS, “aiding and abetting” is described as knowing that another person intends to use a controlled substance, specifically intending to aid, encourage or facilitate their use in some way, and actually aiding, encouraging, or facilitating the use in some way.

The list of controlled substances covered under Health and Safety Code 11365 HS includes: cocaine, cocaine base, heroine, methamphetamine, mescaline, GHB, and peyote. Notably, marijuana is not on the list.

Violation of 11365 HS are misdemeanors, and include the possible penalties of misdemeanor probation (with the possibility enrollment in a drug treatment program), up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If an individual has no prior narcotic-related offenses and their charges do not involve either violence or the threat of violence, it’s possible that they will be eligible for California’s deferred entry of judgment drug diversion program. As part of this program, a defendant’s charges are suspended while they enroll in and complete a drug rehabilitation program. Upon successful completion of the drug rehabilitation program, the charges are dismissed.

Selling Imitation Controlled Substances – California Health & Safety Code 109575 HS and 11355 HS

| Police Blotter | August 9, 2018

Not long ago, a man was driving near Gorman when he was stopped by law enforcement officers. During the stop, the officers performed a search of the vehicle and discovered 2,600 packets of a suspicious white powder – which they assumed was cocaine – and arrested the man on suspicion of transporting narcotics. Fortunately for the suspect, subsequent testing revealed that the substance in the packets was not cocaine, nor any other controlled substance. The suspect, who had been released on bond after his arrest, was not charged with any crime.

Whatever the white powder was, the fact that it wasn’t a controlled substance resulted in no charges being filed – but that doesn’t hold true in every case; much depends on what the person in the situation intends to do with the substance. For example, if a person is in possession of a substance that isn’t controlled, but they intend to pass it off as the real thing, they could be charged with a crime.

California Health and Safety Code 109575 HS makes it illegal to knowingly transport, manufacture, distribute or possess an imitation controlled substance. California Health and Safety Code 11355 makes it illegal to arrange to sell and/or transport a controlled substance and deliver a fake product instead. The laws are designed to punish an individual’s intent to traffic in illegal drugs as well as any possible harm that may come to a victim after ingesting them.

In order for something to qualify as an imitation controlled substance, it has to meet one of two possible sets of criteria. The first is that it must be a substance that was specifically manufactured or designed to resemble the physical appearance of a controlled substance which a reasonable person of ordinary knowledge would not be able to distinguish from a controlled substance by its outward appearance. For example, grinding up chalk and attempting to pass it off as cocaine would probably result in a violation of 109575 HS, whereas attempting to pass off a baggy of chopped broccoli as marijuana would probably not.

The second set of criteria stipulates that the substance is not controlled, but by its appearance and your representation it would lead a reasonable person to believe that it had stimulating or depressing effects and that they would get high by ingesting it just like they would by ingesting the controlled substance. Basically, this second definition covers substances that aren’t specifically manufactured or designed by the seller to resemble a controlled substance, but that they still try to pass off as the real thing, and look close enough to the actual product that a reasonable person would assume that taking it would lead to the same effects.

Violations of Health and Safety Code 109575 are misdemeanors with the possible penalties of up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Violations of Health and Safety Code 11355 HS are “wobblers” 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. Penalties for misdemeanor charges include up to one year in county jail, while felony penalties include 16 months to three years in county jail.

It’s Hot, Hot, Hot in Canyon Country!

| Canyon Country Magazine | August 8, 2018

We all know summers in Canyon Country are hot, but we make due. As temperatures hit the triple digits, it’s important to remember that too much heat and too much sun can be hazardous to your health. Plus, with more daylight and the increased focus on getting cool comes an increase in thefts.

This year, summer came roaring in, leaving a lot of us scrambling to find ways to beat the heat. If you ever find yourself in the position where your only thought is to cool down, make sure you’re paying attention to what you’re doing, or you could easily find yourself the victim of a crime.

For example, if you plan to be in your backyard, make sure you don’t leave doors or windows in the front of the house open. Not all home invasions occur while the owners are away. An open garage with nobody around can be pretty enticing to an intrepid young burglar looking for a quick score. The same thing goes for your car. Locking your car doors may seem like the most obvious thing in the world, but when it’s pushing 105 and you’ve got ice cream melting in the back seat, it can be an easy thing to forget. There are folks out there who walk around at night checking car doors to see if they’re locked. Perpetrators will often pass on locked cars, but for those that aren’t …

On the whole, Canyon Country is a safe and inviting place to live, although crimes do occur now and again. By being cognizant of what you’re doing, and not leaving yourself vulnerable, you can greatly reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

California Penal Code 529 PC – False Impersonation

| Police Blotter | August 2, 2018

In the State of California, pretending to be someone else in certain situations can get you into a lot of trouble. According to California Penal Code 529 PC, California’s “false impersonation” law, when you pretend to be someone else in their public or private capacity and do something that could cause that person to become liable to a lawsuit, prosecution, be obligated to pay money, or which might cause you to gain some sort of benefit from impersonating that individual, you’re breaking the law.

For example, suppose an individual is arrested for shoplifting and, upon their arrest, gives the police the name of their cousin instead of his or her own. After being taken to the station for booking and processing, the suspect is released on his or her own recognizance and signs the cousin’s name to the booking paperwork instead of their own. The suspect then blows off their court date and his or her cousin is subsequently arrested at a later date for the failure to appear instead of the actual suspect.

In the example above, the suspect would likely be charged with violating PC 529, because by giving police the name of their cousin instead of their own and signing the cousin’s name to the booking paperwork, the suspect placed the cousin in a situation in which they would be liable for prosecution; the simple act of impersonating someone else isn’t necessarily a crime in-and-of itself.

For another example, suppose a woman impersonates a famous contemporary singer and attends a karaoke night at a local bar. She sings the singer’s songs and “acts” as though she herself is the famous singer. The impersonator in this situation isn’t putting the singer in any legal danger, nor is the singer receiving any benefit from their impersonation and is therefore not breaking the law. However, if the were to perform her impersonation at a restaurant or a boutique in an attempt to use their target’s celebrity status to get free food or outfits, the impersonator would be committing a crime because she is benefiting from the impersonation.

“False impersonation” is a “wobbler” in California, 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 record. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include misdemeanor probation, up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. For felony charges, the possible penalties include felony probation, 16 months to three years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Also, if convicted on felony charges, the defendant will lose his or her eligibility to own firearms.

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