Non-Violent Crime Law

It is against the law to set fire to or somehow cause the burning of a structure, forest land or other property. Arson may be punished by up to six years in prison and a fine. If a person suffers great bodily injury from an arson, it is a felony punishable by up to nine years.

The entering of privately owned property, such as a house, vehicle, or shop with the intent to commit theft or another felony is burglary and can carry up to a six year prison term. The act of entering privately owned property, without committing another felony, is commonly charged as a burglary.

A person makes a criminal threat by threatening a violent crime which would result in death or great bodily injury. A terrorist threat is the threat of a violent crime with the purpose of terrorizing another or of causing public panic or inconvenience. Punishments vary depending on the severity of the threats.

Under California law, stalking occurs when a person willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another person. The crime of stalking may also involve threats which place a person in fear of his/her safety. A restraining order is commonly sought when a person is accused of stalking. A related crime is cyber-stalking, where a person is stalked online.

Depending on the details of a particular case, a person convicted of stalking may receive a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Trespass is generally considered the unwanted intrusion onto someone else’s property. Under California criminal law, it is illegal to enter someone’s land, building, or home without permission.

Furthermore, it is illegal to enter any land with intent to injure property, property rights, or with the intent to interfere, obstruct, or injure any lawful business. Even if no harm is actually done to the property by the trespasser, he or she has still broken the law.

Trespassing is a misdemeanor. Though it may not seem like a serious crime, a trespassing conviction will appear on a person’s criminal record.

Contact our office today, and we will begin negotiating with prosecutors to try to get your trespassing charge dismissed or reduced to an infraction that will not appear on your criminal record.

Under California law, it is against the law to damage, destroy, or otherwise deface any property. This includes damage done by writing with spray paint, felt tip markers, knives, or other instruments that make marks or impressions. If vandalism is directed at race or religion, it may be classified as a hate crime. Vandalism can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the monetary value of the damage.

Slashing a tire, breaking a window, ripping a bus seat, removing a car’s emblem, toppling a headstone, and carving your initial into a desk can all be considered vandalism; however, vandalism is not limited to property damage and can also include the following crimes:

• Possession of aerosol paint under the age of 18
• Possession of vandalism tools
• Vandalism to a place of worship (i.e., church or synagogue)
• Vandalism to government property (buildings or vehicles)
• Vandalism using noxious or caustic chemicals