California Penal Code
The California penal code enumerates criminal violations, is used to charge individuals with criminal offenses, and provides for the penalties for criminal convictions. However, not all illegal activity falls under the penal code. The Health and Safety Code provides the basis for drug crimes, and the California Vehicle Code covers other violations, such as drunk driving, or hit and run.
Criminal Code Sections
The California Penal Code is divided into six parts. Part 2 covers criminal justice procedures. Part 3 details the state’s prison system and the death penalty. Part 4 covers police officer training and investigation procedures. Part 5 provides for peace officer memorials, and part 6 deals with guns and other dangerous weapons.
Most of the details about specific crimes are covered under part 1. This includes the definitions and explanation for legal terms used throughout the criminal code. Specific violations are divided among the various sections, including the following:
Crimes Against Public Justice
Crimes against the public justice include bribery, corruption, forgery of public records, intimidating witnesses, money laundering, or fraud and embezzlement. State prosecutors take crimes against the public justice very seriously. For example, and attempt to offer a bribe to a juror can be punishable by up to 4 years in prison. See Penal Code §§ 92-100.
Crimes Against the Person
Crimes against the person covers many of the crimes of violence, or crimes that injure another person. It includes homicide, kidnapping, robbery, attempted murder, human trafficking, or assault and battery. Convictions for some crimes against the person, including for murder, can carry a life sentence.
Crimes against the person involving sexual assault, and crimes against public decency and good morals are covered under a separate section. These include rape, child abuse, sexual abuse, child abduction, incest, obscene or harmful matter, gambling, and crimes against the elderly, or persons with disabilities.
Crimes Against Property
‘Crimes against property’ is another broad category of criminal offenses that deal with damage or theft of property, rather than physical injury. This includes arson, burglary, forgery, embezzlement, extortion, insurance fraud, and trespassing. Even if no one is physically injured in a crime against property, the penalties often involve serious fines and long prison sentences. For example, breaking and entering into an inhabited house to steal something is considered burglary in the first degree, a felony that is punishable by up to 6 years in prison.
Other Miscellaneous Crimes
The penal code covers many other criminal violations, including some things that most people don’t even consider to be a crime. This includes eating on a bus, skateboarding in a metro station, or even blocking someone on a sidewalk are codified under the penal code, and can lead to fines or even time in prison.
Defenses to Penal Code Violations
If you have been charged with a penal code violation in California, you should consider contacting a criminal defense attorney with the skill and experience to handle your case. Your California criminal defense lawyer will fight the charges against you, and make sure your rights are protected. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will stand by your side so you don’t have to face the judge and prosecutor alone.