Penal Code Section 548-551 PC
California's Auto Insurance Fraud Laws

California Penal Code sections 548, 549, 550 and 551 PC punish a variety of acts that we collectively refer to as car insurance fraud.  Simply put, the legal definition of auto insurance fraud is any act committed with the intent to obtain money fraudulently from a car insurance carrier.

Researchers report that about 40% of all auto theft claims are fraudulent.1 They suspect that fraudulent medical claims make up about 40% of all auto-related medical claims.2 They also report that over 65% of auto insurance claims filed in Los Angeles County are allegedly fraudulent3...which comprises almost half of all of California's fraudulent car insurance claims put together.4

It's because of statistics like these that the California Department of Insurance (DOI) has an automobile insurance fraud division...and why many local district attorneys' offices have special units that work closely with the DOI.

But with these types of specialized units frequently come shoddy investigations, rushed judgments and overzealous prosecutions.  The people who work in these divisions need to justify their positions.  As a result, they sometimes focus more on generating arrest and conviction statistics than on doing justice and getting it right.

That's where we come in.  As former prosecutors and law enforcement officers, we have the inside experience necessary to investigate and defend against bogus California auto insurance fraud charges.

In order to help you better understand how these cases are prosecuted and...more importantly, defended...our California fraud defense lawyers5 will discuss the following:

(Click on a title to proceed directly to that section)

1. How Does the Prosecutor Prove that I am Guilty of Auto Insurance Fraud?
2. How Do I Fight an Auto Insurance Fraud Charge?
3. Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing for Auto Insurance Fraud
4. Examples of Auto Insurance Fraud
5. Putting it all Together -- An Overview of the Reporting and Investigation Process

If, after reading this article, you would like more information, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

You may also find helpful information in our related articles on California Fraud, Insurance Fraud, Penal Code 451 PC Arson, Penal Code 245 Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Penal Code 192 Manslaughter, California Legal Defenses, and California Probation Law.

1. How Does the Prosecutor Prove that I am Guilty
of California Auto Insurance Fraud?

California auto insurance fraud is a sort of generic term that includes a wide variety of criminal conduct.  It is prohibited under sections 548, 549, 550 and 551 PC of the California Penal Code and under section 810 of the Business and Professions Code.

Because the laws relating to auto insurance fraud are technical and complex... especially since the California Legislature has come up with so many different types of offenses that relate to this subject...it is critical to contact a California criminal defense attorney experienced in this area of the law.

California's legal definition of auto insurance fraud

The specific act with which you are charged determines which facts the prosecutor must prove.  There are at least two general facts (otherwise known as "elements of the crime") that the prosecutor must prove before he/she can convict you of any California auto insurance fraud charge6:

  1. that you knowingly submitted a fraudulent claim to an auto insurance carrier, and
  2. that you did so with the intent to defraud the insurance company.

With respect to California insurance fraud, "intent to defraud" means that you either make false representations or conceal the truth in order to gain a financial benefit.7

Specific auto insurance fraud violations

There are at least a couple of dozen ways to commit California auto insurance fraud.  Below is a brief description of the statutes that directly relate to this offense:

  • Penal Code 548 PC prohibits intentionally damaging, abandoning, or disposing of an insured car in order to submit an insurance claim.8
  • Penal Code 549 PC prohibits referring someone to an auto body shop or doctor knowing (or with reckless disregard for whether) the person/company you send the referral to intends to submit a fraudulent auto insurance claim9.
  • Penal Code 550 PC prohibits a wide variety of conduct, including (but not limited to)10:
    1. knowingly presenting a fraudulent insurance claim for loss or injury,
    2. knowingly making or signing a document intending to present it (or allowing it to be presented) to support a false or fraudulent insurance claim,
    3. knowingly "staging" an accident in order to submit an auto insurance claim, and
    4. claiming to live in a city or state other than the one in which you live in order to obtain a cheaper auto insurance policy.
  • Penal Code 551 PC punishes auto repair dealers and their employees who offer insurance agents or adjusters commission or profit sharing arrangements (otherwise known as "kickbacks") to refer customers to the shop.11 This crime overlaps with California commercial bribery laws.
  • California's Business and Professions Code 810 punishes health care professionals for knowingly engaging in any of the above acts.12 This section overlaps with California health care insurance fraud laws.

For examples of some acts that trigger these violations, please scroll down to Section 4.  Examples of Auto Insurance Fraud.

2. How Do I Fight a California Auto Insurance
Fraud Charge?

There are a variety of legal defenses that a good California criminal defense attorney could present on your behalf.  The following are some examples.

No intent to defraud

If the prosecutor can't prove that you had the "specific intent to defraud" the insurance company, you shouldn't be convicted of auto insurance fraud.  As Ventura criminal defense lawyer Darrell York explains13, "If you didn't intend to defraud, you aren't guilty of this offense. Period."

Example:  Tom is rear-ended in rush hour traffic on a busy Oakland freeway.  He reports the damage to the other driver's insurance company.  When the insurance adjuster comes to assess the damage, Tom points to a dent that was on the rear passenger side of his car which he believes was caused by this accident.

The adjuster doesn't believe that the damage to the rear passenger side is consistent with the other damage and accuses Tom of trying to have the company pay for prior damage that is unrelated to the accident.

Tom hadn't actually seen the rear passenger side damage prior to the accident (it turns out he was the victim of a hit and run that he didn't know about).  He honestly believed that the damage must have been caused by the accident in question.  Therefore Tom doesn't have any "specific intent to defraud".

Insufficient evidence

Absent very compelling evidence, "intent to defraud" can be difficult to prove.  In fact, most auto insurance fraud cases revolve around circumstantial evidence.  "Circumstantial evidence" is any evidence that doesn't directly point to guilt, but can be inferred from the surrounding circumstances.

Example: You claim that your car has been stolen.  The police find your car sitting in a remote area, unlocked with the keys in the ignition and a big sign on the windshield in your handwriting that says "free for the taking".  Here, circumstantial evidence proves your guilty intent.

In most cases, car insurance fraud evidence isn't so clear.  Suppose you leave your car in a bad neighborhood, and later report it stolen. Next day police find transient crackheads with your car. They have the keys and there's no sign of forced entry. Investigators may suspect that you parked you car in the bad location, key inside, unlocked, as "theft bait" hoping it would be stolen.

Plea bargaining

Plea bargaining is a useful tool when the prosecutor suspects that you are guilty of auto insurance fraud, but isn't confident that he/she will be able to convince the judge or jury of the same.  Plea bargaining allows you the opportunity to plead guilty to a reduced charge and/or a reduced sentence in exchange for a dismissal of the more serious fraud charge.  Most auto insurance fraud cases do not go to trial and are resolved during plea bargaining.

The prosecutor may be willing to accept a guilty plea to Penal Code 602 PC, California's trespass law or Penal Code 415 PC, California's disturbing the peace law.14 Although neither trespass nor "disturbing the peace" directly relate to auto insurance fraud, they are commonly used in plea negotiations.

Not only do these offenses carry less severe penalties than fraud charges, but they also subject you to less of a stigma on your criminal record.

3. Penalties, Punishment, and Sentencing for
Auto Insurance Fraud

The penalties for violating California's auto insurance fraud laws are serious.  A conviction subjects you to a jail or prison sentence, substantial penalties, and (where applicable) the potential loss of your professional license.

Most of California's auto insurance laws are "wobblers" which means that the prosecutor may charge the case as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on

  1. the exact offense of which you are charged,
  2. the circumstances of the case, and
  3. your criminal history (with particular emphasis placed on any prior fraud convictions).

These are also the factors that will influence your exact sentence if you are ultimately convicted.    It is also important to understand that you can be convicted of this offense...and therefore subject to the following penalties...not just for direct involvement in a crime, but for aiding/abetting and/or conspiring to commit any of the acts that are prohibited under California's auto insurance fraud laws.

Penalties for misdemeanor auto insurance fraud

If convicted as a misdemeanor, you face any or all of the following penalties15:

  • Informal (otherwise known as "summary") probation,
  • up to six months or one year in a county jail, and
  • (depending on the exact offense of which you are convicted), a maximum fine of (a) $1,000, (b) $10,000, or (c) $50,000 or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater.

Penalties for felony California auto insurance fraud

If convicted as a felony, you face any or all of the following penalties16:

  • Formal probation,
  • 16 months to five years in the California state prison (and a possible additional and consecutive two year sentence for every prior conviction for submitting fraudulent auto insurance claims),
  • either (a) a maximum $10,000 fine, or (b) a maximum $50,000 fine or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater, and
  • where applicable, the suspension or revocation of your health care license or certificate.

Even if you are charged as felony, the court may be willing to reduce the wobbler from a felony to a misdemeanor.  The court may also grant an early termination of probation if you comply with all the terms and conditions of probation for the first year or two.17

Additionally, if you are granted probation in a misdemeanor or felony case, you may expunge your California criminal record once you successfully complete the probationary period.18 However, the judge can deny you an expungement if you suffer a probation violation, or fail to adhere to all the terms and conditions of probation.19

4. Examples of California Auto Insurance Fraud

There are almost countless ways for an individual or group to violate California's auto insurance fraud laws.  That said, some scenarios are more common than others.  Below is a brief description of some of the most popular.

Individual acts of auto insurance fraud

  • Asking your body shop to inflate the estimate for the insurance claim so that it can include repairing any old and unrelated damage.
  • Claiming that you live in a different city or state in order to obtain a lower premium (for example, living in Los Angeles subjects you to a higher premium than if you lived in a more rural town).
  • Owner "give ups" -- Hiding your car in order to report it stolen (for example, submerging it in a lake, abandoning it in a "rough" neighborhood, or intentionally setting fire to it).

Owner "give ups" are becoming more common as the economy declines.  Many people are "upside down" in their car loans --that is, they owe more than the car is worth.  In an effort escape from that debt, they intentionally dispose of their cars so that they can claim it as stolen and collect insurance proceeds.

But beware - intentionally burning your car not only subjects you to prosecution for auto insurance fraud, but may also subject you to additional penalties under Penal Code 451, California's arson law.20 And if anyone is even accidentally killed as a result of the fire, you also face murder charges under California's felony murder rule.21

Group or "organized" acts of auto insurance fraud

When there are two or more defendants accused of being involved in the same auto insurance fraud scam, the prosecution labels it "organized" crime.  Depending on (1) the level of sophistication within the "organized crime ring", and (2) the amount of fraud they're allegedly involved in, the district attorney may refer the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office for federal prosecution.

When this happens, the government may pursue the case under anti-racketeering laws, more commonly referred to as RICO laws.22 Both the civil and criminal penalties imposed in connection with federal RICO convictions are even more severe than California state penalties.

Staged collision rings

Staged collision rings can involve a range of participants, including

  • a person who deliberately causes an accident by cutting in front of the insured right before slamming on his brakes, forcing the insured to rear-end him,
  • accomplices in adjacent cars that "box in" the insured in so that she is forced to rear-end the alleged "victim",
  • the tow truck company who arrives immediately to take the insured's car away before the police arrive and have a chance to investigate,
  • the doctor or chiropractor who files a fraudulent medical report,
  • the attorney who pressures the insurance company to settle the case.

These staged accidents are often quite involved, making it appear as though the accident is the insured's fault, when in reality it was orchestrated by a very sophisticated collision ring.

Auto insurance fraud cases that involve staged accidents may additionally subject the defendant to charges under Penal Code 245 PC, California's "assault with a deadly weapon" law, or possibly even to Penal Code 191.5 "vehicular manslaughter" charges if someone is killed as a result of the accident.23

Paper accidents

Paper accidents are accidents that don't actually take place but are reported to the insurance company as if they did.  Because insurance companies generally don't send adjusters to investigate claims where the damage is reportedly below $1,000, paper accidents usually report damage below this threshold.

Organized auto insurance fraud rings solicit auto body repair shops, doctors, lawyers, and sometimes even insurance agents to corroborate the claims.

Medical mills

"Medical mills" refer to doctors and chiropractors routinely passing along fraudulent medical claims to insurance companies.  The doctors and chiropractors involved in these organized auto insurance fraud rings typically

  1. embellish a patient's injuries to get themselves and the patient more money from the insurance company,
  2. bill for patient services that they never performed, and/or
  3. bill services and treatment for "phantom" patients in an effort to get money directly from the insurance company.

It bears repeating that if a health care professional is convicted of being involved with a medical mill, he/she will likely lose his/her professional license in addition to the criminal penalties.

5. Putting it all Together -- An Overview of the
California Auto Insurance Fraud
Reporting and Investigation Process

Now that you hopefully have a better understanding of what constitutes California auto insurance fraud, let's take a closer look at exactly how a claim that is submitted to an insurance company turns into a criminal case.

Insurance companies know that fraud is common.  In fact, they pass on their losses from fraudulent claims to their customers through higher premiums.  Because they know that this type of fraud is routine, they expect it.

Once the company suspects fraud, they submit the claim to their special investigation unit (SIU).  The SIU does some preliminary investigation...and if it believes the claim is fraudulent...it contacts the California Department of Insurance.  If that agency is too overwhelmed with cases, the SIU will present the case directly to the local district attorney's office.

This is how the district attorney's office gets its auto insurance fraud cases...either from the California Department of Insurance or directly from the SIU of the insurance company.  If the D.A.'s office decides to proceed, it can

  1. file criminal charges,
  2. refer the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office for federal prosecution, or
  3. refer the case to the City Attorney's Office for misdemeanor prosecution.
Contact us for help...
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As you can see, California auto insurance fraud allegations are very serious.  But finding evidence to substantiate the charges can be a difficult hurdle for the prosecution to jump.  And, rest assured, we're here to make that task even more difficult.

If you or loved one is charged with Penal Code Section 548-551 PC auto insurance fraud and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.

Additionally, our Nevada criminal defense attorneys represent clients accused of violating Nevada's fraud laws.  For more information, we invite you to contact our local attorneys at one of our Nevada law offices, located in Reno and Las Vegas.24

For information on Nevada auto insurance fraud law, go to our page on Nevada auto insurance fraud law.

Legal References:

1Insurance Research Council

2The RAND Institute

3Smart Motorist.com

4Los Angeles District Attorney Auto Fraud Division

5Our California fraud defense lawyers have criminal law offices in Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Palm Springs, Pomona, Torrance, Van Nuys, West Covina, Whittier, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, San Diego, Orange County, San Jose, and the San Francisco Bay area.

6CALJIC 15.40 -- Fraudulent auto insurance claims.  (Regarding Penal Code 550 (a) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) PC..."In order to prove this crime, each of the following elements must be proved: [1] A person intentionally [injured] [destroyed] [secreted] [abandoned] [disposed of] certain property; [2] The property was insured against loss or damage by [theft] [embezzlement] [any casualty]; and [3] The person [injured] [destroyed] [secreted] [abandoned] [disposed of] the property with the specific intent to defraud or prejudice the [company] [ ] which insured the property.")

See also CALJIC 15.42 -- Destruction of insured property.  (Regarding Penal Code 548 PC..."In order to prove this crime [that is, California auto insurance fraud], each of the following elements must be proved: [1] A person intentionally [injured] [destroyed] [secreted] [abandoned] [disposed of] certain property; [2] The property was insured against loss or damage by [theft] [embezzlement] [any casualty]; and [3] The person [injured] [destroyed] [secreted] [abandoned] [disposed of] the property with the specific intent to defraud or prejudice the [company] [ ] which insured the property.")

See also CALJIC 15.41.3 -- Fraudulent health care insurance claims. (Regarding Penal Code 550 (a) (6) (7) (8) (9) PC..."In order to prove this crime [California auto insurance fraud], each of the following elements must be proved: [1] A person [either] [directly and actively] [or] [aided and abetted,] [solicited,] [conspired with any other person to]: [Knowingly [make] [made] or cause[d] to be made any false or fraudulent claim for payment of a health care benefit;] [Knowingly submit[ted] a claim for a health care benefit which was not used by, or on behalf of, the claimant;] [Knowingly presented multiple claims for payment of the same health care benefit;] [Knowingly present[ed] for payment any undercharges for health care benefits on behalf of a specific claimant unless any known overcharges for health care benefits for that claimant were presented for reconciliation at that same time;] and [2] That person acted with the specific intent to defraud. In addition, the amount at issue [for any count] must be proved.")

See also CALJIC 16.075 - Fraudulent health care insurance claims (misdemeanor).  (Regarding Penal Code 550 (a) (6) (7) (8) (9) PC...(" In order to prove this crime [California auto insurance fraud], each of the following elements must be proved:[1] A person [either] [directly and actively,] [[aided and abetted,] [solicited,] [or] [conspired] with any person to]: [Knowingly [make] [made] [or caused to be made] any false or fraudulent claim for payment of a health care benefit;] [Knowingly [submitted] [submit] a claim for a health care benefit which was not used by, or on behalf of, the claimant;] [Knowingly [presented] [present] multiple claims for payment of the same health care benefit;] [Knowingly [presented] [present] for payment any undercharges for health care benefits on behalf of a specific claimant unless any known overcharges for health care benefits for that claimant were presented for reconciliation at that same time;] and [2] The person acted with the specific intent to defraud.")

7CALJIC 15.26 -- Intent to defraud.  ("An intent to defraud is an intent to deceive another person for the purpose of gaining some material advantage over that person or to induce that person to part with property or to alter that person's position to [his] [her] [its] injury or risk, and to accomplish that purpose by some false statement, false representation of fact, wrongful concealment or suppression of truth, or by any other artifice or act designed to deceive.")

8California Penal Code 548 PC - California auto insurance fraud -- Defrauding or prejudicing insurer.  ("(a) Every person who willfully injures, destroys, secretes, abandons, or disposes of any property which at the time is insured against loss or damage by theft, or embezzlement, or any casualty with intent to defraud or prejudice the insurer, whether the property is the property or in the possession of such person or any other person, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years and by a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).") For purposes of this section, "casualty" does not include fire. (b) Any person who violates subdivision (a) and who has a prior conviction of the offense set forth in that subdivision, in [California Penal Code] Section 550 of this code, or in former Section 556 or former Section 1871.1 of the Insurance Code, shall receive a two-year enhancement for each prior conviction in addition to the sentence provided under subdivision (a). The existence of any fact which would subject a person to a penalty enhancement shall be alleged in the information or indictment and either admitted by the defendant in open court, or found to be true by the jury trying the issue of guilt or by the court where guilt is established by plea of guilty or nolo contendere or by trial by the court sitting without a jury.")

9California Penal Code 549 PC - California auto insurance fraud -- False or fraudulent claims against insurers.  ("Any firm, corporation, partnership, or association, or any person acting in his or her individual capacity, or in his or her capacity as a public or private employee, who solicits, accepts, or refers any business to or from any individual or entity with the knowledge that, or with reckless disregard for whether, the individual or entity for or from whom the solicitation or referral is made, or the individual or entity who is solicited or referred, intends to violate [California Penal Code] Section 550 of this code or Section 1871.4 of the Insurance Code is guilty of a crime, punishable upon a first conviction by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, two years, or three years, or by a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both that imprisonment and fine. A second or subsequent conviction is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison or by imprisonment in the state prison and a fine of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). Restitution shall be ordered, including restitution for any medical evaluation or treatment services obtained or provided. The court shall determine the amount of restitution and the person or persons to whom the restitution shall be paid.")

10California Penal Code 550 PC - California auto insurance fraud -- False or fraudulent claims or statements.  ("(a) It is unlawful to do any of the following, or to aid, abet, solicit, or conspire with any person to do any of the following: (1) Knowingly present or cause to be presented any false or fraudulent claim for the payment of a loss or injury, including payment of a loss or injury under a contract of insurance. (2) Knowingly present multiple claims for the same loss or injury, including presentation of multiple claims to more than one insurer, with an intent to defraud. (3) Knowingly cause or participate in a vehicular collision, or any other vehicular accident, for the purpose of presenting any false or fraudulent claim. (4) Knowingly present a false or fraudulent claim for the payments of a loss for theft, destruction, damage, or conversion of a motor vehicle, a motor vehicle part, or contents of a motor vehicle. (5) Knowingly prepare, make, or subscribe any writing, with the intent to present or use it, or to allow it to be presented, in support of any false or fraudulent claim. (6) Knowingly make or cause to be made any false or fraudulent claim for payment of a health care benefit. (7) Knowingly submit a claim for a health care benefit that was not used by, or on behalf of, the claimant. (8) Knowingly present multiple claims for payment of the same health care benefit with an intent to defraud. (9) Knowingly present for payment any undercharges for health care benefits on behalf of a specific claimant unless any known overcharges for health care benefits for that claimant are presented for reconciliation at that same time. (10) For purposes of paragraphs (6) to (9), inclusive, a claim or a claim for payment of a health care benefit also means a claim or claim for payment submitted by or on the behalf of a provider of any workers' compensation health benefits under the Labor Code. (b) It is unlawful to do, or to knowingly assist or conspire with any person to do, any of the following: (1) Present or cause to be presented any written or oral statement as part of, or in support of or opposition to, a claim for payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy, knowing that the statement contains any false or misleading information concerning any material fact. (2) Prepare or make any written or oral statement that is intended to be presented to any insurer or any insurance claimant in connection with, or in support of or opposition to, any claim or payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy, knowing that the statement contains any false or misleading information concerning any material fact. (3) Conceal, or knowingly fail to disclose the occurrence of, an event that affects any person's initial or continued right or entitlement to any insurance benefit or payment, or the amount of any benefit or payment to which the person is entitled. (4) Prepare or make any written or oral statement, intended to be presented to any insurer or producer for the purpose of obtaining a motor vehicle insurance policy, that the person to be the insured resides or is domiciled in this state when, in fact, that person resides or is domiciled in a state other than this state.")

11California Penal Code 551 PC - California auto insurance fraud -- Automotive repair dealers, fraudulent acts.  ("(a) It is unlawful for any automotive repair dealer, contractor, or employees or agents thereof to offer to any insurance agent, broker, or adjuster any fee, commission, profit sharing, or other form of direct or indirect consideration for referring an insured to an automotive repair dealer or its employees or agents for vehicle repairs covered under a policyholder's automobile physical damage or automobile collision coverage, or to a contractor or its employees or agents for repairs to or replacement of a structure covered by a residential or commercial insurance policy. (b) Except in cases in which the amount of the repair or replacement claim has been determined by the insurer and the repair or replacement services are performed in accordance with that determination or in accordance with provided estimates that are accepted by the insurer, it is unlawful for any automotive repair dealer, contractor, or employees or agents thereof to knowingly offer or give any discount intended to offset a deductible required by a policy of insurance covering repairs to or replacement of a motor vehicle or residential or commercial structure. This subdivision does not prohibit an advertisement for repair or replacement services at a discount as long as the amount of the repair or replacement claim has been determined by the insurer and the repair or replacement services are performed in accordance with that determination or in accordance with provided estimates that are accepted by the insurer.")

12California Business and Professions Code 810 - California auto insurance fraud -- False or fraudulent claims; disciplinary action.  ("(a) It shall constitute unprofessional conduct and grounds for disciplinary action, including suspension or revocation of a license or certificate, for a health care professional to do any of the following in connection with his or her professional activities: (1) Knowingly present or cause to be presented any false or fraudulent claim for the payment of a loss under a contract of insurance. (2) Knowingly prepare, make, or subscribe any writing, with intent to present or use the same, or to allow it to be presented or used in support of any false or fraudulent claim. (b) It shall constitute cause for revocation or suspension of a license or certificate for a health care professional to engage in any conduct prohibited under Section 1871.4 of the Insurance Code or Section 549 or 550 of the [California] Penal Code...")

13Ventura criminal defense lawyer Darrell York uses his former experience as a Glendale Police Officer to represents clients accused of child endangerment at the Ventura Hall of Justice, the Van Nuys courthouse, the Pasadena courthouse, the Burbank courthouse, the Glendale courthouse, the Lancaster courthouse, the San Fernando courthouse, and the Criminal Courts Building.

14Penal Code 602, California's "trespass" law prohibits entering or remaining on another's property without the right to do so.

See also Penal Code 415, California's disturbing the peace law, which makes it illegal to fight another person in public, use fighting words in public, or make unreasonable noise so as to disturb your neighbors.

15See California Penal Code 548 PC - California auto insurance fraud -- Defrauding or prejudicing insurer, endnote 8, above.

See also California Penal Code 549 PC - California auto insurance fraud -- False or fraudulent claims against insurers, endnote 9, above.

See also California Penal Code 550 - California auto insurance fraud -- False or fraudulent claims or statements.  (Continuing from endnote 10, above..."(c)(1) Every person who violates paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5) of subdivision (a) is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years, and by a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater. (2) Every person who violates paragraph (6), (7), (8), or (9) of subdivision (a) is guilty of a public offense. (A) When the claim or amount at issue exceeds nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), the offense is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years, or by a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both that imprisonment and fine, or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (B) When the claim or amount at issue is nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) or less, the offense is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed six months, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine, unless the aggregate amount of the claims or amount at issue exceeds nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) in any 12-consecutive-month period, in which case the claims or amounts may be charged as in subparagraph (A). (3) Every person who violates paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) of subdivision (b) shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or five years, or by a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both that imprisonment and fine, or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.")

See also California Penal Code 551 PC - California auto insurance fraud -- Automotive repair dealers, fraudulent acts.  (Continuing from endnote 11, above..." (c) A violation of this section is a public offense. Where the amount at issue exceeds nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), the offense is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years, by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine; or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. In all other cases, the offense is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed six months, by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine. (d) Every person who, having been convicted of subdivision (a) or (b), or Section 7027.3 or former Section 9884.75 of the Business and Professions Code and having served a term therefore in any penal institution or having been imprisoned therein as a condition of probation for that offense, is subsequently convicted of subdivision (a) or (b), upon a subsequent conviction of one of those offenses, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years, by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine; or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.")

16See all codes, endnote 15 above.

See also California Business and Professions Code 810 - California auto insurance fraud -- False or fraudulent claims; disciplinary action.  ("(a) It shall constitute unprofessional conduct and grounds for disciplinary action, including suspension or revocation of a license or certificate, for a health care professional to do any of the following in connection with his or her professional activities: (1) Knowingly present or cause to be presented any false or fraudulent claim for the payment of a loss under a contract of insurance. (2) Knowingly prepare, make, or subscribe any writing, with intent to present or use the same, or to allow it to be presented or used in support of any false or fraudulent claim. (b) It shall constitute cause for revocation or suspension of a license or certificate for a health care professional to engage in any conduct prohibited under Section 1871.4 of the Insurance Code or Section 549 or 550 of the [California] Penal Code...")

17The process of reducing a felony to a misdemeanor is set forth in Penal Code 17(b).  The process for granting an early termination of probation is codified in Penal Code 1203.3 PC.

18The process of expunging your criminal record is explained in Penal Code 1203.4 PC.

19See same.

20CALJIC 14.83 -- Burning own personal property with intent to defraud.  ("Every person who willfully and maliciously sets fire to, burns, or causes to be burned, or who aids, counsels, or procures the burning of [his] [her] own personal property [and does so with the specific intent to defraud] [or] [which results in injury to [another person] [another person's [structure] [forest land] [property]]] is guilty of a violation of Penal Code section 451, subdivision (d) [California's arson law], a crime."  This includes intentionally burning a car in violation of California's auto insurance fraud laws.)

21People v. Nichols (1970) 3 Cal.3d 150 (overruled on other grounds). ("Certainly the burning of a motor vehicle, which usually contains gasoline and which is usually found in close proximity to people, is inherently dangerous to human life. We therefore conclude that the willful and malicious burning of a motor vehicle calls into play the [California] second degree felony-murder rule.")

22U.S.Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 96 -- Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations

23California Penal Code 245 PC -- Assault with a deadly weapon.  ("(a)(1) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment...")

See also California Penal Code 192 PC -- Manslaughter.  ("Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. It is of three kinds...(c) Vehicular...(3) Driving a vehicle in connection with a violation of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of [California Penal Code] Section 550, where the vehicular collision or vehicular accident was knowingly caused for financial gain and proximately resulted in the death of any person. This provision shall not be construed to prevent prosecution of a defendant for the crime of murder.")

24Please feel free to contact our Nevada criminal defense attorneys Michael Becker and Mike Castillo for any questions relating to Nevada's criminal laws. Their Nevada law offices are located in Reno and Las Vegas.

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