HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

The Penal Code of California forms the basis for the application of most
criminal law Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It prescribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property, health, safety, and moral welfare of people inclusive of one's self. Most criminal ...
,
criminal procedure Criminal procedure is the adjudication process of the criminal law. While criminal procedure differs dramatically by jurisdiction, the process generally begins with a formal criminal charge with the person on trial either being free on bail or ...
, penal institutions, and the execution of sentences, among other things, in the American state of
California California is a state in the Western United States, located along the Pacific Coast. With nearly 39.2million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the most populous U.S. state and the 3rd largest by area. It is also the mo ...
. It was originally enacted in 1872 as one of the original four
California Codes The California Codes are 29 legal codes enacted by the California State Legislature, which together form the general statutory law of California. The official Codes are maintained by the California Office of Legislative Counsel for the Legislatur ...
, and has been substantially amended and revised since then. The entirety of the Penal Code is available for free a
leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codesTOCSelected.xhtml?tocCode=PEN


History

The Penal Code enacted by the
California State Legislature The California State Legislature is a bicameral state legislature consisting of a lower house, the California State Assembly, with 80 members; and an upper house, the California State Senate, with 40 members. Both houses of the Legislat ...
in February 1872 was derived from a penal code proposed by the New York code commission in 1865 which is frequently called the Field Penal Code after the most prominent of the code commissioners, David Dudley Field II (who did draft the commission's other proposed codes). The actual drafter of the New York penal code was commissioner
William Curtis Noyes William Curtis Noyes (August 19, 1805, in Schodack, Rensselaer County, New York – December 25, 1864, in New York City) was an American jurist. Biography He began the study of law when he was 14 in the office of Samuel B. Ludlow of Al ...
, a former prosecutor. New York belatedly enacted the Field Penal Code in 1881. Prior to the promulgation of the Model Penal Code in 1962, the Field Penal Code was by far the most broadly influential attempt at codification of criminal law, but was severely flawed in that it actually ''continued'' many muddled common law concepts (like
malice aforethought Malice aforethought is the "premeditation" or "predetermination" (with malice) required as an element of some crimes in some jurisdictions and a unique element for first-degree or aggravated murder in a few. Insofar as the term is still in use ...
) when the point of codification was to clean up the common law. About this,
UC Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public land-grant research university in Berkeley, California. Established in 1868 as the University of California, it is the state's first land-grant univ ...
law professor Sanford H. Kadish wrote in 1987: "None of the codes I have considered had a larger measure of influence. None deserved it less." Before the enactment of the Penal Code, California relied on
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omniprese ...
definitions of crimes as well as the accumulated
case law Case law, also used interchangeably with common law, is law that is based on precedents, that is the judicial decisions from previous cases, rather than law based on constitutions, statutes, or regulations. Case law uses the detailed facts of ...
that went back to the British common law of post-colonial times.


Organization

Like most of California’s codes, the Penal Code is divided into parts, with the Penal Code containing six, most of which contain titles, some of which are in turn subdivided into chapters, with individual sections comprising the smallest unit of content. Unlike sections of the
United States Code In the law of the United States, the Code of Laws of the United States of America (variously abbreviated to Code of Laws of the United States, United States Code, U.S. Code, U.S.C., or USC) is the official compilation and codification of the ...
, any particular provision of the Penal Code is usually referenced by its section number alone, especially when a police officer in the state refers to a particular criminal act over their
radio Radio is the technology of signaling and communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300  gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device called a trans ...
. Most of this article deals exclusively with the substantive criminal law set out in Part 1. The first two titles of Part 1, up to Section 33, are preliminary and provide definitions of legal terms rather than definitions of, or punishments for, any specific crimes. The next group of titles, through Section 88, deal with crimes against the state itself, such as
treason Treason is the crime of attacking a state authority to which one owes allegiance. This typically includes acts such as participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplo ...
. Title 7, ending with Section 186, covers the state court system and crimes that can be committed therein, such as
perjury Perjury (also known as foreswearing) is the intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to an official proceeding."Perjury The act or an inst ...
. Title 8 covers the subject of violent crimes, and extends through Section 249. Title 9 (Sections 250 through 368) deals with offenses against public morals and decency. Title 10 (Sections 369 through 402) is devoted to "crimes against public health and safety," while Title 11 (Sections 403–423) is reserved for "crimes against the public peace." The topic of Title 12 (Sections 424–440) is crimes against public revenue, and of Title 13 (Sections 441 through 593), crimes against property. Title 14 (Sections 594–625) bears the heading "Malicious Mischief," but in addition to
vandalism Vandalism is the action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property. The term includes property damage, such as graffiti and defacement directed towards any property without permission of the owner. The term ...
(Section 594), it also includes such offenses as
trespassing Trespass is an area of tort law broadly divided into three groups: trespass to the person, trespass to chattels, and trespass to land. Trespass to the person historically involved six separate trespasses: threats, assault, battery, woundi ...
(in Section 602). Title 15 (Sections 625–653) deals with "Miscellaneous Crimes," Title 16 (Sections 654-678) is labeled "General Provisions," and the last title of Part 1, Title 17 (679 and 680) delineates the "Rights of Victims and Witnesses of Crime." Part 2 of the Penal Code (Sections 681–1020) codifies the state's
criminal procedure Criminal procedure is the adjudication process of the criminal law. While criminal procedure differs dramatically by jurisdiction, the process generally begins with a formal criminal charge with the person on trial either being free on bail or ...
system. Part 3 of the Penal Code (Sections 2000–10007) codifies statutes governing the state's
corrections In criminal justice, particularly in North America, correction, corrections, and correctional, are umbrella terms describing a variety of functions typically carried out by government agencies, and involving the punishment, treatment, an ...
system. Part 3 includes provisions governing the operation of the
county jail A prison, also known as a jail, gaol (dated, standard English, Australian, and historically in Canada), penitentiary (American English and Canadian English), detention center (or detention centre outside the US), correction center, correcti ...
s and state prisons, as well as the administration of the death penalty. Part 4 of the Penal Code (Sections 11006–14315) codifies statutes governing criminal investigations, prison officer training, police officer training, crime control, crime prevention, and gun control. Part 5 of the Penal Code (Sections 15001–15003) consists of only two sections authorizing the California Peace Officers Memorial Foundation to establish and maintain a memorial to peace officers on the grounds of the state Capitol with private funds. Part 6 of the Penal Code (Sections 16000–34370) codifies statutes dealing with the management of
weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used to deter, threaten, inflict physical damage, harm, or kill. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforcement, ...
s. California's drug laws are not found within the Penal Code at all, but in a separate enactment, the
California Health and Safety Code The California Health and Safety Code is the codification of general statutory law covering the subject areas of health and safety in the state of California. It is one of the 29 California Codes and was originally signed into law by the Governor ...
. Likewise, provisions affecting motorists,
motor vehicle A motor vehicle, also known as motorized vehicle or automotive vehicle, is a self-propelled land vehicle, commonly wheeled, that does not operate on rails (such as trains or trams) and is used for the transportation of people or cargo. The veh ...
s, and
traffic Traffic comprises pedestrians, vehicles, ridden or herded animals, trains, and other conveyances that use public ways (roads) for travel and transportation. Traffic laws govern and regulate traffic, while rules of the road include traffic ...
matters are contained in the California Vehicle Code.


Notable section numbers

*148 – Resisting/obstructing a police officer * 187
Murder Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought. ("The killing of another person without justification or excuse, especially the ...
*192 –
Manslaughter Manslaughter is a common law legal term for homicide considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is sometimes said to have first been made by the ancient Athenian lawmaker Draco in the 7th ...
*203 – Mayhem *207 –
Kidnapping In criminal law, kidnapping is the unlawful confinement of a person against their will, often including transportation/ asportation. The asportation and abduction element is typically but not necessarily conducted by means of force or fear: the ...
*211 –
Robbery Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take anything of value by force, threat of force, or by use of fear. According to common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the per ...
*215 –
Carjacking Carjacking is a robbery in which the item taken over is a motor vehicle.Michael Cherbonneau, "Carjacking," in ''Encyclopedia of Social Problems'', Vol. 1 (SAGE, 2008: ed. Vincent N. Parrillo), pp. 110-11. In contrast to car theft, carjacking is ...
*219 – Train wrecking (''see, e.g.''
2005 Glendale train crash The 2005 Glendale train crash occurred on January 26, 2005, at 6:03 a.m. PST, when a Metrolink commuter train collided with a sport utility vehicle that had been parked on the tracks by a suicidal man who hoped that the train would kill h ...
) *236–237 –
False imprisonment False imprisonment or unlawful imprisonment occurs when a person intentionally restricts another person’s movement within any area without legal authority, justification, or the restrained person's permission. Actual physical restraint is ...
*240 –
Assault An assault is the act of committing physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in cr ...
*242 – Battery *245 – Assault with a deadly weapon (ADW, sometimes "great bodily injury," GBI) or with force likely to produce great bodily injury *261 –
Rape Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without their consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or a ...
*280 –
Child abduction Child abduction or child theft is the unauthorized removal of a minor (a child under the age of legal adulthood) from the custody of the child's natural parents or legally appointed guardians. The term ''child abduction'' includes two leg ...
*285 –
Incest Incest ( ) is human sexual activity between family members or close relatives. This typically includes sexual activity between people in consanguinity (blood relations), and sometimes those related by affinity (marriage or stepfamily), adopt ...
*288 –
Child molestation Child sexual abuse (CSA), also called child molestation, is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include engaging in sexual activities with a child (wheth ...
*314 –
Indecent exposure Indecent exposure is the deliberate public exposure by a person of a portion of their body in a manner contrary to local standards of appropriate behavior. Laws and social attitudes regarding indecent exposure vary significantly in different ...
*368
Crimes Against Elders and Dependent Adults
*415 – Disturbing the peace/
mutual combat Mutual combat, per Danny Sullivan vs. the US 1988, a term commonly used in United States courts, occurs when two individuals intentionally and consensually engage in a fair fight, while not hurting bystanders or damaging property. There have been ...
*417 – Brandishing a
firearm A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and used by an individual. The term is legally defined further in different countries (see Legal definitions). The first firearms originated in 10th-century China, when bamboo tubes ...
*422 – Criminal threats *451 –
Arson Arson is the crime of willfully and deliberately setting fire to or charring property. Although the act of arson typically involves buildings, the term can also refer to the intentional burning of other things, such as motor vehicles, wate ...
*459 –
Burglary Burglary, also called breaking and entering and sometimes housebreaking, is the act of entering a building or other areas without permission, with the intention of committing a criminal offence. Usually that offence is theft, robbery or mur ...
*470 –
Forgery Forgery is a white-collar crime that generally refers to the false making or material alteration of a legal instrument with the specific intent to defraud anyone (other than themself). Tampering with a certain legal instrument may be forbi ...
*484 –
Theft Theft is the act of taking another person's property or services without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. The word ''theft'' is also used as a synonym or informal shorthand term for some ...
or
larceny Larceny is a crime involving the unlawful taking or theft of the personal property of another person or business. It was an offence under the common law of England and became an offence in jurisdictions which incorporated the common law of Engl ...
*487 –
Grand theft Theft is the act of taking another person's property or services without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. The word ''theft'' is also used as a synonym or informal shorthand term for some ...
*488 – Petty theft *487 –
Grand theft auto ''Grand Theft Auto'' (''GTA'') is a series of action-adventure games created by David Jones and Mike Dailly. Later titles were developed under the oversight of brothers Dan and Sam Houser, Leslie Benzies and Aaron Garbut. It is primarily ...
*496 – Receiving stolen property *503–515 –
Embezzlement Embezzlement is a crime that consists of withholding assets for the purpose of conversion of such assets, by one or more persons to whom the assets were entrusted, either to be held or to be used for specific purposes. Embezzlement is a type ...
*518–527 –
Extortion Extortion is the practice of obtaining benefit through coercion. In most jurisdictions it is likely to constitute a criminal offence; the bulk of this article deals with such cases. Robbery is the simplest and most common form of extortion, al ...
*528–539 – False personation and cheats *594 –
Malicious mischief Mischief or malicious mischief is the name for a criminal offenses that is defined differently in different legal jurisdictions. While the wrongful acts will often involve what is popularly described as vandalism, there can be a legal differenti ...
/
vandalism Vandalism is the action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property. The term includes property damage, such as graffiti and defacement directed towards any property without permission of the owner. The term ...
*597 –
Animal cruelty Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse, animal neglect or animal cruelty, is the infliction by omission (neglect) or by commission by humans of suffering or harm upon non-human animals. More narrowly, it can be the causing of harm or suff ...
*602 –
Trespass Trespass is an area of tort law broadly divided into three groups: trespass to the person, trespass to chattels, and trespass to land. Trespass to the person historically involved six separate trespasses: threats, assault, battery, wounding, ...
ing *647(b) –
Prostitution Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for payment. The definition of "sexual activity" varies, and is often defined as an activity requiring physical contact (e.g., sexual intercourse, non-penet ...
*647(f) – Public drunkenness or public intoxication *664 –
Attempt An attempt to commit a crime occurs if a criminal has an intent to commit a crime and takes a substantial step toward completing the crime, but for reasons not intended by the criminal, the final resulting crime does not occur.''Criminal Law - ...
(usually charged together with one of the above like 187 or 211; attempted murder was formerly covered in its own section, 217) *691 –
Extortion Extortion is the practice of obtaining benefit through coercion. In most jurisdictions it is likely to constitute a criminal offence; the bulk of this article deals with such cases. Robbery is the simplest and most common form of extortion, al ...
" 420" for marijuana use is commonly but incorrectly believed to originate from the Penal Code. The actual Section 420 covers obstructing entry on public land. One of the more controversial sections of the California Penal Code are the consecutive Sections 666 and 667; Section 666, known officially as petty theft with a priorand colloquially, felony petty theft and makes it possible for someone who committed a minor
shoplifting Shoplifting is the theft of goods from an open retail establishment, typically by concealing a store item on one's person, in pockets, under clothes or in a bag, and leaving the store without paying. With clothing, shoplifters may put on items ...
crime to be charged with a felony if the person had been convicted of any theft-related offense at any time in the past; and if the person so charged has two previous felony convictions (listed as serious or violent felonies strikeable" offenses, this can result in a 25-years-to-life sentence under the state's three strikes law, which is found in Section 667. The inclusion of felony petty theft within the three-strikes law, and for that matter, the three-strikes law itself, have sparked much debate both within and outside the state, and even beyond the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territo ...
. In 2003, the
U.S. Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all U.S. federal court cases, and over state court cases that involve a point o ...
upheld the California three-strikes law against constitutional challenges in two cases where the third strike was a nonviolent crime'' Ewing v. California'', , and '' Lockyer v. Andrade'', .


References

{{Reflist


External links


List of Penalties of California Penal and Vehicle Codes (CMCDefense)
(at FindLaw)


See also

* Law of California *
Law of the United States The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law, of which the most important is the nation's Constitution, which prescribes the foundation of the federal government of the United States, as well as ...
U.S. state criminal legislation Criminal codes Penal Code