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Leave Your Dog in the Car? Better Think Twice About the Legal Issues

| Police Blotter | July 19, 2018

The weather patterns being what they are, it looks like it’s going to be another long, hot, dry summer. That said, it’s important to remember that while you and I can get hot, animals can get even hotter. Even with the shedding of their “winter coats,” dogs can still easily overheat, because they can’t sweat – and panting can only go so far.

If you’re out and about this summer and you decide to take your furry friends with you, think twice before leaving them in the car. Even if you’re “just running inside for a second,” it doesn’t take long for the interior of cars to get very hot and uncomfortable. In conditions like that, animals can overheat very quickly.

You’ve probably seen news stories or read articles about animal lovers who bash out car windows when they discover animals inside. It’s happened several times in the past, and will likely continue to happen well into the future. The act of smashing a complete stranger’s windows may seem like overreacting; and to some it is. Some folks may or may not take a tire iron to the back window of your Benz when they see your pet panting in the back seat; but they will also quickly call in law enforcement to the rescue.

You see, leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle is illegal in the State of California, and is covered under 597.7 PC. To be clear, simply leaving an animal in an unattended vehicle is not in and of itself illegal, it depends on whether or not the animal’s welfare is in danger by being left in the car. If it’s cooler outside, with a light breeze, and the windows are open to provide ventilation, then they may be fine for just a few minutes. But when the temperature is higher, the windows are closed, or the animal appears to be uncomfortable or suffering, then there will be a problem, and it could mean a huge legal one for you
.
Convictions of violating 597.7 PC can carry an array of penalties and circumstances under which they can/will be applied. For a first conviction, an individual can be fined $100 per animal, as long as none of the animals left in an unattended vehicle suffered great bodily injury. If the animal does suffer great bodily injury (and it’s still the defendant’s first conviction), then the defendant may face a fine of $500 and a possible six-month stay in county jail. For second convictions, the $500 fine and six-month stay in jail is the penalty he or she will possibly face, regardless of whether or not there was any injury to the animal.

Lastly, leaving an animal unattended in a car can sometimes be seen as an act of neglect, which could bring charges of violating California Penal Code 597 PC, animal neglect. If convicted of this, the defendant can face up to three years in state prison. It’s just not worth the risk, to you or to them.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | July 19, 2018

A 49-year-old unemployed Newhall resident was arrested for terrorizing/causing fear.

A 35-year-old self-employed Canyon Country resident, a retired 64-year-old Valencia resident, and a 19-year-old paintball rep from Stevenson Ranch were arrested for battery against a former spouse.

A 21-year-old warehouse worker from Canyon Country was brought up on charges of carrying a loaded firearm. And a 43-year-old unemployed Valencia resident was arrested for grand theft auto/horse/etc.

A 52-year-old sound mixer from Castaic as arrested for sending harmful matter to seduce a minor.

A 19-year-old landscaper from Montana was arrested for possessing a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm.

DUI’s with prior arrests include:

24-year-old unemployed Stevenson Ranch resident
43-year-old vice president from Santa Clarita
23-year-old assembly worker from Santa Clarita
28-year-old student from Newhall
30-year-old homemaker from Paola, Kansas
23-year-old mechanical engineer from Canyon Country
45-year-old investor from Valencia
30-year-old Pacoima resident who works in human resources
25-year-old self-employed Trinity Circle resident
31-year-old ranch hand from Santa Clarita
24-year-old landscaper from Hollywood
30-year-old taco truck employee from Perris
22-year-old insurance collector from Goleta
27-year-old stunt man from Agua Dulce

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

27-year-old unemployed Castaic resident
25-year-old unemployed Palmdale resident
19-year-old unemployed Pomona resident
27-year-old clerk from Granada Hills
25-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
54-year-old Santa Clarita resident who listed their occupation as “50”
30-year-old self-employed Valencia resident
27-year-old unemployed Burbank resident

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | July 13, 2018

There were two arrests for battery against a former spouse, including a self-employed 31-year-old Canyon Country resident and a 33-year-old supervisor from Santa Clarita.

A 49-year-old security officer from Van Nuys was arrested for embezzling a rented/leased vehicle. And a 21-year-old unemployed Valencia resident was arrested for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Two individuals were arrested for possession of marijuana for sale: a 29-year-old barber from Maplewood, Minnesota and a 29-year-old unemployed Valencia resident.

A 22-year-old Castaic resident was brought up on charges of carrying a concealed dirk or dagger on his or her person. And a 27-year-old Valencia resident was charged with robbery.

A 22-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was arrested for damaging property. A 31-year-old program manager from Woodland Hills and a 58-year-old plumber from Canyon Country were both arrested for DUI of alcohol causing injury.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

52-year-old manager from Valencia
35-year-old cook from Santa Clarita
29-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
28-year-old vet tech from Canyon Country
28-year-old administrator from Lake View Terrace
24-year-old graphic designer from Lake Hughes
23-year-old unemployed Van Nuys resident
29-year-old construction worker from Newhall
39-year-old welder from Newhall

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

26-year-old self-employed Stevenson Ranch resident
24-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident
38-year-old stocker from Castaic
31-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident
34-year-old unemployed San Bernardino resident
36-year-old transient from Canyon Country
42-year-old truck driver from California City
40-year-old book keeper from Canyon Country
22-year-old construction worker from Sherman Oaks
59-year-old mechanic from Canyon Country
40-year-old unemployed Lancaster resident
35-year-old unemployed Saugus resident

Expungement of Criminal Charges in California

| Police Blotter | July 12, 2018

Spending time in jail is never easy; the difficulties one can encounter while being incarcerated vary pretty widely depending on the crime he or she was convicted of and the type of facility they were sent to. For example, a person who spends time in county jail for missed child support payments will likely have an easier time than someone who’s sent to Pelican Bay. The reasoning behind this is because the person in county jail will typically be surrounded by others who have been convicted of committing misdemeanors and relatively minor felonies. The individual in Pelican Bay, however, will share their surroundings with a variety of much more dangerous, and often violent criminals.

Unfortunately for many, the difficulties associated with having spent time in custody aren’t necessarily over once a person is released – particularly when searching for employment. When applying for a job, pretty much every employer is going to want to know if the applicant has a prior criminal record, and those who do report extreme difficulty in obtaining employment post-incarceration. Luckily, for those who were sent to county jail instead of state prison, there is hope in the form of California Penal Code 1203.4 PC: California’s Expungement Law.

Expungement is something that an individual can apply for that will have the court seal their criminal records, thereby making it impossible for employers to use that prior criminal conviction against the applicant, as well as making it illegal for them to even bring it up.

To be eligible for expungement, a person must meet three basic criteria:

  • The defendant must have completed their probation successfully (including the payment of any fines and/or court fees, restitution, counseling and/or community service)
  • They must not be currently charged with another criminal offense, on probation for another criminal offense, or currently serving time for another criminal offense, and
  • The defendant cannot have been sentenced to serve time in state prison for the offense or for a parole violation regarding their offense.

Certain offenses are ineligible for expungement. Those offenses are: 286 PC: sodomy with a child, PC 288: lewd acts with a child, PC 288a (c): oral copulation with a child and PC 264.5(d): statutory rape.

An attorney can assist with the expungement process. It includes filling out the necessary paper work, waiting for the court to process it, and then attending an expungement hearing. If an expungement is granted, it can benefit the defendant in a variety of ways, including in the search for employment, obtaining a state professional license, and even help avoid certain consequences involved with immigration. If you think that you or someone you know may be eligible for expungement, be sure to speak with an attorney first. As bail bondsman, we are happy to offer information about laws that exist, but only an attorney is qualified to provide you with advice and counsel.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | July 6, 2018

A 21-year-old dispatcher from North Hollywood was arrested for reckless driving. And a 31-year-old transient from El Monte was arrested for intentionally interfering with public transportation.

A 28-year-old security guard from Las Vegas was arrested for trafficking a victim under 18 years of age. A 37-year-old unemployed woman from Cerritos was brought up on charges of cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury or death.

Two individuals from San Pedro were charged with robbery – a 35-year-old construction worker and a 22-year-old loader.

Three individuals were charged with the possession of burglary tools, including a 20-year-old laborer from Menifee, a 23-year-old Hawthorne resident, and a 34-year old Los Angeles resident.

Two 19-year-old Los Angeles residents, a general laborer and a mechanic, were arrested for participating in an illegal speed contest.

DUI’s with prior arrests include:

57-year-old maintenance worker from Palmdale
35-year-old tractor driver from Hanford
57-year-old nurse from Huntington Beach
57-year-old engineer from Saugus
37-year-old engineer from Azusa
29-year-old from Hawaiian Gardens
28-year-old sales associate from Littlerock
41-year-old cook from Los Angeles
23-year-old maintenance worker from Los Angeles
38-year-old cook from Inglewood
32-year-old San Bernardino resident
28-year-old cashier from Los Angeles

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

28-year-old cashier from Palmdale
35-year-old unemployed Maywood resident
29-year-old self-employed Anaheim resident
18-year-old Lancaster resident
24-year-old unemployed Covina resident
33-year-old self-employed Los Angeles resident
32-year-old laborer from Compton
22-year-old unemployed South Gate resident
51-year-old laborer from Whittier

California Stalking Law – PC 646.9

| Police Blotter | July 5, 2018

Police responded to popular YouTube star Logan Paul’s residence in Los Angeles recently after two alleged stalkers hopped a fence and vandalized one of his cars. One suspect, a male, was arrested while the other, an underage female, was released into her parents’ custody.

Stalking is covered under California Penal Code 646.9 and is described as (willfully and maliciously) repeatedly following, harassing, or threatening someone to the point that they fear for the safety of themselves and/or their family. Some examples include:
Frequently sending emails to an ex-lover that include threats (either specific or non-specific in nature)
Following someone home from school or work while occasionally making menacing statements to them at work or school
Making frequent unwanted advances toward someone and threatening them if they don’t respond favorably
California has some of the toughest stalking laws in the nation, and they are usually associated with the large number of celebrities who live out here. California’s stalking laws were passed in 1990 in response to the cases involving two actresses: Theresa Saldana and Rebecca Schaeffer, who were both stalked and attacked by deranged fans. Saldana was stalked and repeatedly stabbed, though she survived. Schaeffer, unfortunately, wasn’t as lucky and did not survive the attack.

Interestingly, celebrity stalking cases comprise a very small amount of California’s stalking cases. Most of the time, stalking cases come from someone who the victim already knows, and the stalking occurs via the internet (cyberstalking), through the workplace, or in connection to a domestic violence case. Additionally, 80 percent of stalking victims are female.

Stalking can occur in a variety of ways, including following someone or “accidentally” running into them repeatedly, sending emails, voice mails or text messages, calling them on the phone, driving by their home or office, sending unwanted gifts, and gathering an inordinate amount of information about someone. If the victim of a stalking is a current or ex-lover, a roommate, a parent of one of your children, or someone you were dating, the crime will be known as “intimate partner stalking” and be addressed under California’s domestic violence laws.

Stalking is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the defendant’s prior criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the specific case. However, the crime will always be charged as a felony if the victim had a restraining order active against the defendant, and/or the defendant has a prior stalking conviction.

When charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include the typical misdemeanor penalties of informal probation, up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. It can also include a restraining order against the defendant and/or treatment in a mental facility. Felony penalties include formal probation, 16 months to five years in California state prison, a maximum $1,000 fine, a restraining order, possible treatment at a mental health facility, and possible registration as a sex offender.

Local Crime

| Police Blotter | June 29, 2018

This week, two individuals were picked up for robbery: a 41-year-old unemployed Saugus resident, and a 27-year-old transient from Santa Clarita. And a 24-year-old unemployed Canyon Country resident was charged with first degree robbery.

A 21-year-old Canyon Country resident was arrested for assault likely to produce great bodily injury. And a 22-year-old from Los Angeles was booked for falsely reporting a bomb to any person.

A 26-year-old woman from Valencia was arrested for battery against a former spouse. And a 35-year-old Oxnard resident was arrested for shoplifting after a specified prior conviction.

A 55-year-old man from Bakersfield was brought up on charges of carrying a loaded handgun, without being the owner.

Three individuals were arrested for acquiring access cards in four or more names in less than a 12 month period: a 39-year-old handyman from North Hollywood, a 28-year-old Arleta resident, and a 31-year-old transient from Santa Clarita.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

34-year-old construction worker from Newhall 
30-year-old assistant manager from Newhall
20-year-old valet from Winnetka
30-year-old regional supervisor from Bell
34-year-old salesman from Castaic
20-year-old fire direction control specialist from Pleasantville, NJ

19-year-old man from Mulvane, Kan.
25-year-old construction worker from Canyon Country
47-year-old electrician from Pacoima
38-year-old dock worker from Sylmar
37-year-old roofer from Newhall
32-year-old technician from Newhall
26-year-old security guard from Arleta
35-year-old custodian from Palmdale

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

26-year-old Saugus resident
29-year-old Canyon Country resident
32-year-old Lake Elsinore resident
41-year-old Lancaster resident
35-year-old store clerk from Saugus
27-year-old Agua Dulce resident
34-year-old lineman from Valencia
24-year-old produce clerk from Canyon Country
32-year-old Los Angeles resident
23-year-old Hacienda Heights resident

Local Crime

| Police Blotter | June 22, 2018

Bad Girls and Boys

| Police Blotter | June 15, 2018

Three individuals were arrested for battery against a former spouse: a 31-year-old construction worker from Rosemead, a 20-year-old cashier from Castaic, and a 19-year-old Santa Clarita resident.

A 44-year-old Valencia resident who works in marketing was brought up on charges of cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury/death.

A 24-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita resident was charged with taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent. And a 21-year-old Bakersfield resident was arrested for entering/remaining on posted property.

A 24-year-old unemployed Pacoima resident and a 42-year-old tattoo artist from Newhall were arrested for illegal possession of ammunition.

A 23-year-old unemployed Valencia resident was charged with retaking land after legal removal.

DUIs with prior arrests include:

26-year-old mechanic from Canyon Country
62-year-old caregiver from Canyon Country
30-year-old assistant manager from Valencia
51-year-old construction worker from Valencia
54-year-old chief operations officer from Stevenson Ranch
26-year-old medical biller from Sun Valley
25-year-old bartender from Valencia
22-year-old dog groomer from Canyon Country

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

50-year-old self-employed Castaic resident
35-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
24-year-old self-employed Canyon Country
resident
31-year-old maintenance worker from Richmond
54-year-old unemployed Saugus resident
24-year-old driver from Valencia

Firework Safety in Santa Clarita This—And Every Season

| Police Blotter | June 14, 2018

While some folks are still dealing with the effects of this weeks “South Fire” which forced evacuations in Santa Clarita, it goes without saying that fireworks are strictly controlled and prohibited in California under Health and Safety Code 12500 – 12728 HS.

Under these laws, fireworks are divided into two separate categories: “safe and sane fireworks” and “dangerous fireworks.” Those that fall under the “dangerous fireworks” category, such as large rockets, explosives, and sparklers longer than 10 inches, or greater in diameter than 1/4 inch are always illegal in California. The “safe and sane fireworks” category includes fountains, spinners, and snap ‘n’ pops.

Like many of California’s laws, HS 12500 – 12728 are flexible, allowing counties to make changes to the laws which provide further restrictions. That being the case, in Los Angeles County, ALL fireworks are considered illegal – even those that fall under the “safe and sane” category. The restriction may seem heavy-handed, though in this case it’s probably the safest thing to do. L.A. County is prone to wildfires, and last year’s wildfire season was the worst ever recorded. There were 43 people who lost their lives, over 9,000 homes were burned and over one million acres were devastated by raging wildfires that taxed the limits of our firefighters’ abilities to contain them.

All it takes to start a fire that can quickly get out of control is a single spark, and under the right conditions, embers have been known to travel as far as a few miles before finding and igniting a piece of brush. Due to last year’s rainfall, there’s a great deal more dry vegetation in and around the county this year, making this season’s potential for wildfires even worse than previous years.

If you choose to light fireworks this year in celebration of the 4th of July, make sure to buy them from legal vendors and remain in counties ONLY where they’re legal. Additionally, be sure to light them in areas free of vegetation and dry brush. Whether legal in your county or not, the threat of wildfires in Southern California is very real, and taking a few simple precautions can help keep you, your friends, and your neighbors safe.

Remember: All fireworks are illegal in Los Angeles County. If you spot anyone lighting them off in the weeks leading up to the 4th of July celebration, call the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | June 8, 2018

An 18-year-old unemployed man from Fresno was arrested for carrying a loaded firearm in a public place. A 26-year-old man from Canyon Country was charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant.

A 43-year-old Newhall man was arrested for trespassing and a 54-year-old transient was charged with refusing to leave property upon request of a parole officer.

A 34-year-old Canyon Country woman was charged with possession of a completed check with intent to commit forgery and a 25-year-old driver from Canyon Country was arrested for driving with a suspended license.

Two Placentia residents, a 42-year-old and a 41-year old, were brought up on charges of conspiracy to defraud/cheat.

Three people were charged with transporting/selling a controlled substance: a 25-year-old stocker from Modesto, a 32-year-old unemployed Ceres resident, and a 29-year-old field worker from Modesto.

DUIs with prior arrests included:

18-year-old social media marketer from Valencia
50-year-old attorney from Valencia
23-year-old clerk from Valencia
22-year-old drive thru worker from Palmdale
55-year-old chef from Lancaster
40-year-old marijuana dispensary worker from Palmdale
65-year-old unemployed Greenfield resident
46-year-old service tech from Simi Valley
27-year-old carpenter from Saugus
28-year-old iron worker from Val Verde

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:

51-year-old cabinetry worker from Canyon Country
39-year-old construction worker from Newhall
30-year-old painter from Newhall
28-year-old unemployed Newhall resident
30-year-old unemployed Bakersfield resident
30-year-old unemployed Winnetka resident
25-year-old security officer from Chatsworth

California Penal Code 417 PC – Brandishing a Firearm

| Police Blotter | June 7, 2018

Firearms and who should be prohibited from owning them has been a hotly-debated issue in the U.S. for decades. According to the Second Amendment, “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” While the ability to “keep and bear arms” isn’t going anywhere, just how those arms are kept and borne is subject to regulation by the state.

One of those regulations is California Penal Code 417 PC – brandishing a deadly weapon or firearm. PC 417 makes it illegal to “draw, exhibit, or using a deadly weapon or firearm in a manner that is rude, angry or threatening.” For example, suppose two people get into an argument and one of them pulls out a gun so that the other can see it. It’s possible that the person who brandished the weapon could be charged with violating 417 PC, because the implication was that they’re willing to use the weapon to resolve the argument.

A deadly weapon is any object, instrument or weapon that is inherently dangerous or that is used in such a way that it could cause great bodily injury or death. This is a very broad definition that encompasses a very wide variety of objects including tools, pipes, cutlery, and even broken glass. The definition of a firearm under 417 PC is “any device designed to be used as a weapon, from which is expelled through the barrel, a projectile through the force of any explosion or other form of combustion.” This includes traditional guns as well as homemade items like zip guns. It does not include pellet or BB guns because they do not fire through force generated by combustion or explosions, they’re instead fired through the use of compressed gasses.

Brandishing a firearm under 417 PC is not illegal if the weapon was brandished in self-defense or the defense of others. Generally speaking, self-defense and the defense of others includes situations in which:

You reasonably believe that you or someone else is in imminent danger of suffering harm, AND
You fight back with no more force than is reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.

Basically, just because one has a firearm, that doesn’t mean they should use it in any situation in which they need to defend themselves or others. It should only ever be brandished/used in a situation where that type of force is reasonably necessary to protect oneself or others.

417 PC can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the specific incident. Misdemeanor penalties include a minimum of three months to a maximum one year in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine. When facing felony-level charges, the possible penalties include 16 months to three years in California state prison.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | June 1, 2018

A 21-year-old clerical worker from Valencia was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, not a firearm, with great bodily injury. A 30-year-old Taco Bell employee from Canyon Country was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, firearm. A 34-year-old mechanic from Agua Dulce was cited for carrying a concealed weapon in his vehicle. And a 34-year-old salesman from Canyon Country was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon/addict. A 29-year-old electrician from Newhall was arrested for illegal possession of ammunition.

A 36-year-old key grip from Palmdale was arrested for battery against a former spouse. A 34-year-old ranch hand in Canyon Country was arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant.
A 26-year-old clerk from Newhall was arrested for possession of obscene matter depicting a minor.

A 26-year-old audio/video engineer from Canyon Country was arrested for getting credit/another person’s ID. A 27-year-old Castaic man was picked up for showing a false ID to a peace officer.

An unemployed 21-year-old Canyon Country man was charged with theft of personal property. A 62-year-old Valencia woman was arrested for grand theft of money/property valued at more than $400. A 39-year-old handyman from Bakersfield was arrested for making/possessing/uttering fictitious instruments.

A 25-year-old construction worker from Burbank was charged with taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent. A 19-year-old unemployed Holland, Mich. man was charged with driving without a license.

DUIs with prior arrests included:
25-year-old machinist from Santa Clarita
22-year-old student from Santa Clarita
31-year-old server from Santa Clarita
59-year-old fabricator from Palmdale
20-year-old cook from Maywood
33-year-old unemployed Newhall man
29-year-old vocational nurse from Valencia
47-year-old account executive from Castaic
26-year-old unemployed Saugus man
51-year-old cook from Santa Clarita
52-year-old self-employed Valencia man

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:
31-year-old unemployed Saugus woman
20-year-old unemployed Canyon Country man
23-year-old unemployed Castaic woman
41-year-old lighting tech from Stevenson Ranch
34-year-old pool service tech from Lake Hughes

What Happens After a DUI Arrest?

| Police Blotter | May 31, 2018

If you were out and about after 6 p.m. on Memorial Day weekend, you may have come across one or more DUI stops. These stops are usually put in strategic places with the dual purposes of serving as a deterrent to keep intoxicated drivers off the roads and to hopefully catch those who drive anyway. When someone chooses to drive under the influence, their actions can have tragic results for both them and any innocent motorists or pedestrians unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Driving while impaired is extremely dangerous, and if someone is stopped by police, whether at one of the checkpoints or anywhere else, and is found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the penalties are severe.

The penalties for a first offense can vary significantly, and will depend on the circumstances of each individual case. Generally speaking, when someone is caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or above, they’re likely to face penalties that include:

  • 3 to 5 years of informal probation
  • Up to 6 months in county jail
  • $1,500 to $2,000 in fines and penalty assessments
  • A 3-month court-approved alcohol and/or drug education program
  • Driver’s license suspension of 6 months

When someone is sentenced to probation for a first-time DUI, the following conditions are always included:

The defendant must not drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood
On a second suspected DUI, the defendant shall not refuse a chemical test of blood, breath, or urine
The defendant shall not commit any other crimes

DUI convictions fall into a legal category known as “priorable offenses,” a term which indicates that the penalties for committing the crime get worse if someone commits the crime again within a 10-year period. For example, when a defendant is convicted of driving under the influence the first time, they’ll face penalties similar to those above. For a second offense, they’ll face penalties that include:

  • 3 to 5 years of informal probation
  • A minimum of 96 hours and maximum of 1 year in county jail
  • Between $390 and $1,000 in fines
  • Completion of an 18- to 30-month court-approved DUI school and
  • A 2-year driver’s license suspension that can be converted to a restricted license only after 12 months

The penalties above are for misdemeanor DUI charges. If another party is injured as a result of a defendant driving under the influence, the crime becomes a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a felony, the penalties include:

  • 16 months to 10 years in California state prison
  • A possible “strike” on the defendant’s record under California’s Three Strikes Law
  • $1,015 to $5,000 in fines
  • Mandatory completion of an 18- to 30-month court-approved alcohol or drug program
  • Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) status for 3 years and
  • Possible restitution to all parties

When another person is killed as a result of someone driving under the influence, it’s possible to be charged with vehicular manslaughter or even murder, depending on the circumstances surrounding the individual case.

This day and age, it’s never been easier to refrain from driving under the influence, thanks to the variety of alternatives available like ride-hailing apps. The legal consequences for a DUI can be tough, especially the inability to drive, and can lead to significant difficulties getting to work or school. If a collision occurs and someone is injured or killed, the legal consequences, and the emotional consequences, can be severe.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | May 25, 2018

A Lyft driver who’s a resident of Long Beach, was arrested in Santa Clarita for kidnapping a child under 14 years old for child molestation.

A 21-year-old transient cook was arrested for attempted murder. An 18-year-old Sam’s Club employee from Canyon Country was brought up on charges of terrorizing/causing fear.

A 40-year-old electrician from Valencia and a 23-year-old Adelanto man who works as a farm picker were arrested for battery against a former spouse. A 39-year-old secretary from Valencia was charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant. And an unemployed 38-year-old Canyon Country man was brought up on charges of battery on a non-cohabitating former spouse.

A 22-year-old cashier from Saugus was arrested for perjury under oath. An 18-year-old cashier from Canyon Country was cited for possession of tools with the intent to commit vandalism/graffiti.

An unemployed 39-year-old Glendora woman was arrested for getting credit/other person’s ID. An unemployed 28-year-old Newhall man was arrested for identity theft. An unemployed 31-year-old Santa Clarita man was charged with getting credit/another person’s ID.

A 36-year-old transient who refused to give an occupation was picked up for refusing to leave a property upon the request of the owner.

A 57-year-old Saugus man who works in movie lighting was picked up for driving with a license that’s been suspended/revoked upon request of the owner.

A 20-year-old machine operator from Santa Clarita was arrested for attempted manufacture of PCP.

An unemployed 26-year-old Santa Clarita man and a 34-year-old construction worker from Canyon Country were arrested for possession of a device/instrument/paraphernalia. A 32-year-old manager from La Puente was charged with possession of a narcotic/drug/alcohol.

Charges of possession of a controlled substance included:
24-year-old unemployed Lancaster man
22-year-old construction worker from Castaic
26-year-old veteran from Canyon Country

DUIs with prior arrests included:
24-year-old babysitter from Lomita
44-year-old computer technician from Castaic
61-year-old realtor from Valencia
31-year-old bartender from Los Angeles
19-year-old self-employed Palmdale woman
58-year-old self-employed Santa Clarita man
21-year-old self-employed Saugus man

Strange Series of Events Leads to Recovery of Stolen SUV – PC487(d)(1)

| Police Blotter | May 24, 2018

When a man went out for a leisurely bicycle ride on the streets of Venice Beach one day, he had no idea what would occur as a result. It all started when the man saw his wife’s SUV – which had been reported stolen a week prior – being driven by a woman he didn’t know. When the man called the police to report that he’d located his wife’s missing SUV, the suspect attempted to take off on foot. That’s when YouTube star Mathew Santoro, who happened to be in the area, started filming the suspect’s attempted escape. Santoro Tweeted the video asking users to forward it to the police, which they quickly did, sending LAPD officers in the area to apprehend the suspect.

In the end, the SUV was recovered and the suspect was booked on suspicion of grand theft auto. The YouTube star was later thanked on Twitter via DM by the LAPD for his help in solving the crime and apprehending the suspect.

Grand Theft Auto is covered under California Penal Code 487(d)(1) and is described as the unlawful taking of someone else’s vehicle worth more than $950, without their permission, with the intention of depriving the owner of its use, either permanently or for a period of time during which the owner would be deprived of a significant portion of the vehicle’s value or enjoyment of it.

Interestingly, for someone to be charged with violating PC 487(d)(1) the vehicle has to be moved and kept for a period of time. The distance in which it must be moved can be very short, as can the period of time during which the owner was deprived of the vehicle, but both must occur for this particular crime to be committed.

Grand theft auto commonly occurs via larceny – that is, the taking of a vehicle without the owner’s permission – but it can also occur via deceit or false pretenses. For example, if an individual is able to convince the owner of a vehicle to allow him to take possession of it under the pretense that the period of possession would be temporary, and then doesn’t return the vehicle, it’s possible for him to be charged with grand theft auto via trick.

Grand theft auto is a form of California grand theft (California Penal Code 487 PC), and carries the same penalties. Grand theft is a “wobbler” under California Law, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. However, more often than not, the crime is charged as a felony with the possible penalties including: 16 months to three years in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both jail time and the fine. For vehicles worth $65,000 or more, an additional year in jail is added to the sentence, and if the vehicle is worth $200,000 or more, a second year is added.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | May 19, 2018

There were several individuals arrested for corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant, etc.: an unemployed 61-year-old Stevenson Ranch man, a self-employed 35-year-old Stevenson Ranch man, a 27-year-old construction worker from Valencia, a 40-year-old self-employed Newhall man, a 45-year-old day laborer from Newhall, a 52-year-old unemployed Newhall woman, and a 24-year-old custodian from Newhall. And an unemployed 29-year-old Los Angeles man was arrested for battery against a former spouse. A retired 57-year-old Northridge woman was cited for willful cruelty to a child/child endangerment.

A 23-year-old warehouse worker from Newhall was arrested for manufacturing/giving/lending/possessing metal knuckles.

A 21-year-old construction worker from Newhall was arrested for receiving known stolen property.

An unemployed 44-year-old Castaic woman was arrested for forgery/counterfeiting a public/corporate seal.

A 32-year-old accountant from Saugus was arrested for grand theft of money/property greater than $400.

An unemployed 26-year-old Castaic man was charged with possession of a specific narcotic/controlled substance without a prescription.

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:
35-year-old pest control employee from Castaic
26-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita man
32-year-old security worker from Lancaster
28-year-old construction worker from Glendale
29-year-old unemployed Newhall man
38-year-old maintenance man from Saugus
31-year-old electrician from Valencia

DUIs with prior arrests included:
51-year-old waitress from Palmdale
49-year-old cook from Van Nuys
57-year-old mechanic from N. Hollywood
32-year-old electrician from Henderson, Nev.
26-year-old handyman from Lompoc
40-year-old laborer from Porterville
34-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita man
27-year-old Marina del Rey woman who works in marketing
41-year-old caterer from Canyon Country
32-year-old medical biller from Canyon Country
24-year-old crew member from Santa Clarita
35-year-old stock trader from Arcadia

Animal Cruelty 597 PC

| Police Blotter | May 19, 2018

Recently, an SCV deputy rescued a dog left in a hot vehicle in the parking lot of Walmart in Canyon Country. The temperature outside was 90 degrees, meaning that the temperature inside the car could get as high as 130 degrees. To get the dog out, the deputy had to break one of the windows – something both police and the public are legally allowed to do – because the owner couldn’t be located. Once the owner returned to the vehicle, she was arrested on animal cruelty charges.

Animal cruelty laws in California are covered under California Penal Code 597 PC and make it illegal to kill, physically harm, overwork or neglect an animal. The law’s definition covers a wide variety of behaviors, including things like leaving an animal unattended in a vehicle (597.7 PC), cockfighting, and dog fighting (597.5 PC). The crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the crime and the defendant’s prior criminal history.

It isn’t illegal in and of itself to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle. However, it becomes a crime if doing so endangers the animal’s health or well-being. Certain conditions, such as the weather, ventilation, whether the animal has food or water, or any other circumstances that could reasonably lead to the suffering or death of the animal, are taken into consideration when police are deciding whether or not to charge someone with violating 597.7 PC.

The law is relatively new, having been first enacted in 2006, and the state Legislature based the law on the fact that California weather can make leaving an animal in a vehicle extremely hazardous to the animal’s health. Previously, only the police had the right to break into someone’s vehicle to rescue a suffering animal. However, recently a law was passed allowing members of the public to do so, as well. A member of the public is allowed to break into a vehicle to rescue the animal if it’s clearly suffering, or if the owner of the vehicle is unable to be located for a period of time and authorities have been contacted. It should be noted that if the animal doesn’t appear to be in imminent danger, it’s best to let the police decide whether or not to break someone’s window.

Penalties for leaving an animal unattended in a vehicle vary significantly. If the animal suffered no bodily injury, the penalty is a $100 fine, per animal, for first-time offenders. If the animal does suffer harm, the charge is upgraded from an infraction to a misdemeanor, with the possible penalties of a $500 fine and up to six months in jail. Since leaving an animal unattended in a vehicle is also a sign of neglect, it’s very possible for someone to be charged with the more serious crime of animal abuse, with the potential penalty of up to three years in California state prison.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | May 11, 2018

A Stevenson Ranch couple – a 49-year-old caregiver and a 46-year-old man who refused to give his occupation – were arrested for battery against a former spouse.

A self-employed 30-year-old Castaic man was picked up for assault with a deadly weapon, not a firearm, with great bodily injury. A 34-year-old movie industry employee from Newhall was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

An unemployed 34-year-old Canyon Country man was arrested for terrorizing/causing fear. An 83-year-old retired Castaic man was picked up for cruelty/abuse to a work animal.

A 26-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita woman was arrested for conspiring to defraud/etc. a U.S. agency. A 45-year-old mechanic from Glendale was arrested for giving false evidence of registration.

Three Bakersfield residents were arrested for grand theft of money/property exceeding $400: a 26-year-old unemployed female, a 22-year-old panel installer, and a 20-year-old Arby’s employee.

A 36-year-old construction worker from Canyon Country was arrested for burglary. An unemployed 23-year-old Bakersfield man was cited for possession of burglary tools.

A 34-year-old unemployed Newhall man and an unemployed 30-year-old Newhall man were cited for shoplifting. A 32-year-old Newhall man was charged with petty theft with a specified prior conviction.

A 38-year-old mover from Arcadia was arrested for illegal possession of tear gas by a narcotic addict.

Charges of possession of a controlled substance included:
37-year-old house cleaner from Newhall
34-year-old self-employed Canyon Country man
41-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita woman
50-year-old caregiver from Castaic
42-year-old unemployed Newhall man

An unemployed Bakersfield man was charged with attempting grand theft auto. A 37-year-old North Hills man whose occupation is self-recycling was charged with taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

DUIs with prior arrests include:
27-year-old plumber from Canoga Park
54-year-old engineer from Saugus
24-year-old salesman from Castaic
40-year-old self-employed Saugus man
48-year-old locksmith from Van Nuys
45-year-old warehouse worker from Canoga Park

Pedestrians at Fault in Several Fatal San Fernando Collisions

| Police Blotter | May 10, 2018

The LAPD is urging pedestrians to take care and pay attention when crossing the street. According to data collected by the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division, 7 of the 10 pedestrian fatalities that occurred between January 1 and April 21 in the San Fernando Valley were the fault of pedestrians – not motorists. When crossing the street, pedestrians are supposed to use crosswalks or cross corner-to-corner. None of those killed by motorists followed these rules; they were found to have been crossing the street illegally.

One of the reasons for the increase in at-fault pedestrian fatalities is believed to be, ironically, the same thing that’s been plaguing motorists: not paying attention. It happens all the time, someone walking along a sidewalk, head down and texting away, as other people are forced to step out of the way to avoid being bumped into. As idiotic as it may seem, people continue to exhibit this behavior when stepping into the street. Whether it’s because they’re oblivious to the world around them, or because they think that cars on the road will show them the same courtesy other pedestrians do is anyone’s guess.

Another factor believed to play in to the rise in pedestrians being at-fault in fatal collisions is the mistaken belief that pedestrians always have the right of way. According to California Vehicle Code 21950: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”

Basically, pedestrians do have the right-of-way – in crosswalks (marked or not) at intersections. Taking it even further, California Vehicle Code 21950(b) states that “No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

This section of the law generally gives vehicles the right-of-way in areas where pedestrians don’t have it, or if the vehicle is close enough to the pedestrian that stepping off the curb would be dangerous.

Ultimately, knowledge of where and when a pedestrian has the right-of-way can be useful, and help you be a more conscientious citizen, but knowledge of California Vehicle Codes isn’t necessary; paying attention, crossing at a crosswalk and/or not stepping into traffic can significantly reduce the chances of being hit by a motorist.

The High Cost of Vandalism

| Police Blotter | May 3, 2018

In a brazen act, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station was vandalized last week. The vandalism came in the form of writing spray painted on the front and side of the station that referenced a DEA agent killed in 1985, along with other cryptic phrases that might be nonsense. The crime was committed Thursday, April 26 at about 10:45 p.m. when surveillance cameras spotted the suspect approaching on a foot-powered scooter. The suspect then spray painted his message and quickly rode away.

Upon discovering the writing, deputies reviewed the footage caught on camera and were able to identify the suspect a few hours later. On Sunday, April 29, deputies arrested the suspect, a 26-year-old Castaic man, at his home without incident. He was booked on felony vandalism charges at the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station.

Vandalism is a fairly common crime, and odds are you’ve seen it many times. From writing scratched on bathroom walls to extravagant murals some folks refer to as street art, it’s all ultimately vandalism and therefore illegal. California Penal Code 594 PC covers vandalism and describes it as damaging, destroying, or defacing with graffiti or other written material, someone else’s property. The description of the crime allows for a broad interpretation, and some surprising things can be considered vandalism under the law. For example, if a married couple gets into an argument and one of them smashes a glass or a dish that they own together, it can be considered vandalism. So, too, can the otherwise innocuous act of writing one’s initials in wet cement. The bottom line is that if the property belongs to someone else (even if it also belongs to you) and you damage, destroy or deface it, you can be charged with vandalism.

The penalties for vandalism are pretty steep, given its ubiquity, and bail amounts can be set as high as $50,000. The crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the value of the property that was damaged or destroyed. Generally, if the value was less than $400, the crime will be charged as a misdemeanor with the possible penalties of informal probation (with possible conditions including counseling, community service, drivers license suspension), up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 ($5,000 for repeat-offenders). If the value of the property was $400 or more, the crime can be charged as a felony with the possible penalties of up to one year in county jail with probation or 16 months to three years in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000 (or $50,000 for repeat-offenders) and/or probation under the same conditions as above.

Last, but not least, when it’s municipal or community property that’s vandalized, it will most often be repaired using taxpayer funds.

Bad Boys and Girls

| Police Blotter | April 26, 2018

An unemployed 25-year-old Newhall man and a 37-year-old waiter from Santa Clarita were charged with possession of a device/instrument/paraphernalia. A 20-year-old butcher was arrested for attempting a residential burglary.

A retired 53-year-old transient was charged with trespassing on lands under cultivation. An unemployed 24-year-old Newhall man was arrested for disorderly conduct/loitering on a private property. A 40-year-old construction worker from Santa Clarita was arrested for refusing to leave a property upon request of a police officer.

A 23-year-old unemployed Valencia man was cited for showing a false ID to a peace officer. A 38-year-old tow truck driver from Porter Ranch was arrested for evading a police officer/driving in a reckless manner.

A 28-year-old teacher from Valencia was arrested for vandalism. An unemployed 22-year-old transient was charged with vandalism with loss valued at or greater than $400.

A 30-year-old unemployed Sun Valley man was arrested for a probation violation.

A 22-year-old landscaper from Castaic was arrested for carrying a concealed dirk or dagger. A 33-year-old firefighter from Pine Mountain was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon/addict. And a 24-year-old plumber from Burbank was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, not a firearm, with great bodily injury.

A 20-year-old student from Lancaster was charged with corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant. A 29-year-old electrician from Newhall was arrested for battery against a former spouse. A 44-year-old self-employed Newhall woman was cited for battery.
A 23-year-old Saugus man who works in packaging was arrested for reckless driving.

A 21-year-old layout tech from Castaic was charged with driving with the knowledge that his license was suspended/revoked. And a 38-year-old Valencia woman who refused to give her occupation was arrested for driving with a license that was suspended/revoked for another reason.

DUIs with prior arrests included:
37-year-old unemployed Canyon Country man
22-year-old unemployed Canyon Country man
22-year-old cook from Valencia
30-year-old manager from Valencia

Charges of possession of a controlled substance went to:
27-year-old unemployed Valencia man
29-year-old mechanic from San Fernando
44-year-old unemployed Santa Clarita woman
58-year-old cook from Lancaster
60-year-old construction worker from La Crescenta

Five Charged with 166 Counts in Largest Recycling Fraud Case in California History

| Police Blotter | April 26, 2018

Five people have been charged by the State of California, suspected of defrauding the state’s recycling program of over $80 million. The suspects include the owner and four employees of the Recycling Services Alliance Corporation who, according to State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, spent several years defrauding the state. They allegedly accepted recyclable cans and bottles purchased in other states, then forged the paperwork involved to make it appear as though they were purchased in California.

The scam is said to have been the largest ever perpetrated in the state in regard to recycling, and centered around the 5- and 10-cent deposits that are paid when someone buys beverages stored in recyclable containers. The deposits can be recouped by consumers who take the empty containers to recycling centers. The program is self-funded, and the centers themselves are supposed to only accept eligible containers that were sold in the State of California. The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery says that the program has been suffering from financial problems that has resulted in several private recycling centers having to close. It’s likely that the fraud allegedly perpetrated by the Recycling Services Alliance Corporation has had something to do with that.

In all, the five suspects have been charged with 166 counts, including grand theft, perjury, conspiracy, and recycling fraud.

California Penal Code 487 PC covers grand theft and describes the crime as the unlawful taking of someone else’s property, and that the property is valued at or above $950. Penal Code 487 is a “wobbler,” meaning that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges include the penalties of up to one year in county jail, while felony penalties include formal probation with up to one year in county jail or between 16 months and three years in county jail.

California Penal Code 118 PC covers perjury and describes the crime as deliberately giving false information while under oath. Perjury is always a felony under California law and the penalties include up to four years in California state prison. However, the sentencing is dependent upon the discretion of the judge, and could result in probation and no actual jail time.

Conspiracy is covered under California Penal Code 182 PC and is described as one individual agreeing with at least one other individual to commit a crime and one of those people commits an act in furtherance of that crime. Conspiracy charges are penalized dependent upon the type of conspiracy in which one is involved. Typically, if one is charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, then the penalties associated with the conspiracy charge will be the same as those of the original felony.

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