Card tricks can be a fun way to amuse yourself and other people. However, attempting to use these tricks to get money from other people is considered a criminal act in California, as is:
- Obtaining Money Through Betting or Gambling
- Obtaining Money Through Fortune Telling
California Penal Code Section 332: Obtaining Money by Fraud Through Gaming covers all of these actions.
You can find out more about the exact legal definition of PC 332 right here. Go over all applications of this legal code with the Simmrin Law Group. Consider the penalties for a conviction and focus on legal defenses.
Obtaining Money by Fraud Through Gaming: Definition
PC 332 goes over the specific definition of obtaining money by fraud through gambling. Individuals may face these criminal charges if they perform an act of fraud by means of:
- Card Games Like Three Card Monte
- Sleight of Hand or Tricks
- Pretensions to Fortune Telling
Individuals may also face this charge if they bet on a hand or side of any game. Note that, to face a PC 332 charge, an individual must actually obtain:
- Someone Else’s Money
- Someone Else’s Property
If all of these conditions are met, an individual could be charged under PC 332 in California.
Understanding Fraud Charges in the State of California
As you can see, PC 332 charges apply to fraudulent acts involving gambling, betting, card tricks, or fortune-telling. Individuals engage in fraud if they:
- Act Dishonestly
- Display a Lack of Integrity
- Perform with Bad Faith
For the specific purposes of PC 332 charges, fraudulent acts generally involve:
- Disobeying a Game’s Rules
This means that honest games of chance should not be prosecuted under PC 332. However, many forms of gambling are still considered criminal acts in California. Individuals who participate in these games may face charges for California Penal Code Section 330: Gaming.
Results of a Conviction for Obtaining Money by Fraud Through Gaming
The court system in California can hand down harsh penalties for individuals convicted under PC 332. Obtaining money by fraud through gaming can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. Generally, the severity of the charge is dependent upon how much money was taken from the victim.
Misdemeanor PC 332 Penalties
Individuals can face misdemeanor charges if they obtain less than $950 with fraud through gaming. In some cases, individuals may receive misdemeanor charges even if they obtain a larger amount of money or property.
Note that this is the same monetary limit used for petty theft charges. In fact, the penalties for a misdemeanor PC 332 violation match those of petty theft, and can include:
- Fines: Up to $1,000
- Jail Time: Up to Six Months for the Theft of Under $950
Larger acts of theft can lead to up to one year in jail.
Felony PC 332 Penalties
Felony penalties for PC 332 violations may apply if an individual defrauds someone for more than $950. Felony PC 332 charges are very similar to grand theft accusations. Individuals convicted of a felony for obtaining money by fraud through gaming could be sentenced to:
- Fines: Up to $5,000
- Jail Time: Up to Three Years
Note that subsequent felony convictions under PC 332 can result in fines of up to $10,000.
Considering Legal Defenses for PC 332 Charges
Obtaining money by fraud through gambling can lead to harsh penalties. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you defend yourself from these charges. Your lawyer can review the facts of your case and may be able to build a defense to demonstrate:
You Didn’t Intent to Defraud Anyone
Fraud only occurs if someone intentionally tries to trick another person out of money or property. If you were playing cards or another game without trying to defraud another person, you could be able to avoid a PC 332 conviction.
You Were Exercising Your Right to Free Speech
As we mentioned, some acts of fortune telling can be prosecuted under PC 332. However, if you were only telling fortunes to entertain others – and you made this clear – you should not be convicted of obtaining money by fraud through gaming.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Handle PC 332 Accusations
You can build a defense to California Penal Code Section 332: Obtaining Money by Fraud Through Gaming accusations by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Speak with our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles now to get a FREE case evaluation tailored to your case.
You can take steps to protect your future by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 896-2723.