Living in a community requires all of us to accept some minor annoyances as different personalities meet and clash. However, not all neighborly behaviors are legally acceptable. Individuals who cause a public nuisance for their neighbors can even face charges under:
- California Penal Code Section 372
- California Penal Code Section 373a
You can get additional information about California Penal Code Section 372 and 373a: Public Nuisance right here. Go over the legal applications of public nuisance charges and the effects of a conviction today with the Simmrin Law Group.
Defining a Public Nuisance in California
Before we go over the specific definitions of PC 372 and PC 373a, it’s important to clearly understand what a public nuisance is in California. The state court system defines a public nuisance as anything that qualifies as any of the following:
- Injurious to Health
- Offensive to the Senses
- Obstructive to the Free Use of Property
This means that, for example, loud and indecent music could be considered a public nuisance in some cases. Note that this nuisance must also conflict with the enjoyment of life of a(n):
- Entire Community
- Complete Neighborhood
- Considerable Number of People
Therefore, a nuisance that only annoys one or two people might not meet the standards to be considered a public nuisance. A significant number of persons must be affected for an irritation to be legally viewed as a public nuisance.
The Legal Uses of California Penal Code Section 372
PC 372 is the first law used to prosecute public nuisances in California. Individuals may face PC 372 charges if they:
- Maintain a Public Nuisance
- Commit a Public Nuisance
- Willfully Refuse to Carry Out a Legal Duty to Remove a Public Nuisance
As you can see, this charge can apply in a large number of different circumstances.
Understanding California Penal Code Section 373a
The court system in California uses PC 373a only to prosecute more specific acts that result in a public nuisance. Note that a PC 373a charge can only apply after:
- A Health Officer or the District Attorney
- Provides Written Notice to an Individual
- That They Must Discontinue or Remove a Public Nuisance
PC 373a charges can apply if an individual receives this notice for and:
- Maintains, Allows, or Permits a Public Nuisance on Their Property OR
- Leases or Occupies the Property of Someone That Permits, Allows, or Maintains a Public Nuisance OR
- Willfully Refuses to Carry Out Legal Duties to Remove a Public Nuisance
PC 373a charges can only be used after an individual is given a written notice dealing with the public nuisance that is considered a problem by others.
The Results of a Public Nuisance Conviction in California
Both PC 372 and PC 373s are prosecuted as misdemeanors in the state of California. A conviction for either charge can lead to the same penalties, which can include:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to Six Months
You should also be aware that individuals can face an additional charge under PC 372 or 373a for each day that they do not remove the public nuisance. Each charge can lead to the same penalties. This means that leaving a public nuisance unaddressed can quickly increase the penalties for a conviction.
Options for a Legal Defense for Public Nuisance Charges
Handling public nuisance charges on your own can be difficult. Fortunately, you can get help building a strong defense by reaching out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles right away. A legal professional can go over your unique situation. Depending on the factors surrounding your case, a lawyer could argue that:
You Didn’t Actually Cause a Public Nuisance
As we mentioned, there is a very strict legal definition for a public nuisance in California. For example, you may not have caused a public nuisance if your actions only bothered a handful of people. Acts that do not meet the definition of a public nuisance should not be prosecuted under PC 372 or 373a.
You Could Not Remove the Public Nuisance
There are some situations where you may not be able to deal with a public nuisance, even if you wanted to. In these situations, you may be able to avoid a conviction under PC 372 or PC 373a if you have the help of a legal professional on your side.
Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Deal with Public Nuisance Charges
You can focus on handling California Penal Code Section 372 and 373a: Public Nuisance charges today by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Let our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles start building your case right now. You can start constructing your defense with a FREE consultation.
Call us at (310) 896-2723 or fill out our online contact form to get started immediately.