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Peeping Tom Laws in California

Peeping Tom Laws in California

F or those unaware, a peeping tom is typically a man who spies on a woman while she’s changing. What was once a fairly common scene in movies has since died off as people admitted just how creepy the act of peeping is.

The act is so despised that there are laws against peeping and spying on people. Everyone has a right to privacy, especially when a person is in the safety of their own home, or other private areas. That is why the state of California has laws against the act. If a person thinks they want to spy on someone in a private setting, they should think again. This is not a law that a person should be breaking.

California Penal Code 647

Since spying and peeping on someone is such a big deal, because it is an invasion of privacy, many states and even the federal government have enacted laws against the act. In the state of California, spying and peeping is illegal under California Penal Code (PC) 647 i& j.

PC 647 i focuses on the act of peeping while loitering. Under this law, peeping while loitering is considered delaying or lingering on someone else’s private property without reason for being there while peeking into the door or window of an inhabited building. An inhabited building is any structure that a person lives in. If a person does this, then they are guilty of breaking this law.

PC 647 j focuses on invasion of privacy. This part of the law covers a few different acts, such as:

  • Using a telescope or other device to spy on someone.
  • Secretly photographing or recording a person’s body under their clothes for the purpose of sexual gratification.
  • Secretly recording someone in a private room in order to see them in their underwear.

Committing any of these acts is a crime under this law, and can get a person into serious legal trouble.

Penalties of Peeping in California

Breaking PC 647 is seen as form of disorderly conduct, which makes it a misdemeanor offense. This means that a person will face the following consequences for a first time offense:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000.

These are the typical penalties for this crime, provided the victim is an adult. However, if the victim of the spying is a minor, anyone under the age of 18, then the consequences are more severe. For subsequent peeping offenses, or for peeping on a minor, the consequences are:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $2,000.

However, despite the nature of the crime, a conviction under PC 647 does not require a person to register as a sex offender.

No One Wants to Be Spied On

No one likes to be spied on especially when they are in their underwear or are naked. Everyone has a right to privacy, especially in their own home, in a restroom, or in a changing room. This is why peeping tom laws have been enacted to try to prevent people from committing the act at all.

Anyone caught breaking these laws will face jail time, and if they continue to break the law after that, the consequences will get worse for the person. Basically, it is never a good idea to spy or peep on someone. Doing so will get a person into trouble.

What do you think about California’s peeping tom laws and their consequences? Are the consequences enough, or should they be harsher? Should peepers be required to register as sex offenders?

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Tagging and Graffiti Laws Here in California

Tagging and Graffiti Laws Here in California

Tagging and graffiti are two things that most people have seen, especially if they live in an urban area. Pretty much every large city in the country is littered with graffiti and other signs of tagging. A lot of times, these random markings can make signs unreadable, and change the look of the city for the worse. That is why most states have laws against graffiti.

California is one such state. California Penal Code (PC) 594 covers all sorts of vandalism, from breaking something to marking it up with paint or markers. While the crimes of graffiti and vandalism may seem minor to some, they are a very big deal to others. This is especially true for anyone stuck having to clean up the mess.

California Penal Code 594

PC 594 here in the state of California outlines every possible crime that could be considered vandalism and the punishments for them all. As far as the law is concerned, vandalism is considered to occur when someone maliciously defaces, damages, or destroys someone else’s property.

Vandalism can be any number of things, from

:

  • Smashing mailboxes.
  • Keying someone’s car.
  • Writing a name in wet cement.
  • Breaking someone’s fine china.

Basically, if someone messes with someone else’s stuff with the express intent of breaking or harming it, then they are guilty of vandalism. In fact, this can even be true if two people own something together, and one of them breaks the item. The other person could charge the first with vandalism in the state of California.

Penalties of Vandalism

As far as the punishments for vandalism go, they are dependent on the amount of damage done, the person’s criminal history, if they have one, and what exactly the person vandalized. For instance, vandalizing a place of worship comes with steeper consequences than simply vandalizing someone’s home.

If the amount of damage done totals less than $400, then the vandalism is a misdemeanor charge. This means that the person faces:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $1,000 unless the person has any prior vandalism charges, in which case the max fine is $5,000.
  • Informal probation.

If the cost of the damage is greater than $400 dollars, the prosecution can charge the crime as either a misdemeanor or as a felony. With misdemeanor vandalism charges in this case, a person faces:

  • Up to one year in county jail.
  • A max fine of $10,000, unless the cost of the damages was higher than $10,000, in which case the max fine would be $50,000.
  • Informal probation

If the cost of damages was over $400 dollars and the crime is being charged as a felony, then the person faces:

  • A jail sentence ranging from 16 months to 3 years.
  • A max fine of $10,000, unless the cost of the damages was higher than $10,000, in which case the max fine would be $50,000.
  • Informal probation.

Consequences of Graffiti in California

Graffiti can be penalized differently in California if the damage done costs less than $250. California PC’s 640.5 and 640.6 only cover the act of graffiti. These offenses come with slightly less harsh consequences, and increase in severity with subsequent offenses.

The first time someone is charged with this crime, they face an infraction level offense:

  • A max fine of $1,000.
  • Community service.

The second time someone is charged with this crime, they face a misdemeanor level offense:

  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • A max fine of $2,000.
  • Community service.

For a third, or any subsequent offense after that, a person will face a misdemeanor level offense:

  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • A max fine of $3,000.
  • Community service.

Don’t Damage Someone Else’s Property

Aside from the state having its own law against graffiti and vandalism as a whole, many cities have their own takes on ordinances regarding graffiti. Some cities have even prohibited minors, anyone under 18, from being in possession of graffiti tools such as cans of spray paint and permanent markers. As such parents may want to be careful with giving their children Sharpies. Some cities take that act very seriously, while others couldn’t care less.

Graffiti and vandalism are not fun to deal with, and they are not fun to look at either. That is why the state of California has laws against both vandalism and graffiti. Any person caught breaking those laws will face the consequences.

What do you think of California’s laws surrounding vandalism and graffiti? Are the consequences too steep, just right, or not harsh enough? Why is that?