The beautiful beaches along California’s western coast draw in admirers throughout the year. In order to protect these visitors, lifeguards monitor many stretches of the beach as well as pools throughout the state. These lifeguards must be able to quickly respond to any emergency in order to save lives.
Individuals who prevent lifeguards from carrying out their duties may be charged under California Penal Code Section 402(b): Interfering with a Lifeguard During an Emergency. You can find out more about the specifics of this charge right here with the Simmrin Law Group.
Go Over the Definition of Interfering with a Lifeguard During an Emergency
The legal system in California uses PC 402(b) to define interference with a lifeguard during an emergency. According to this code, individuals may face criminal charges for:
- Knowingly Interfering with or Resisting
- A Lifeguard’s Lawful Efforts to Carry Out Official Duties in an Emergency Situation
Note that individuals should only face this charge if they know – or should know – that a lifeguard is carrying out an official duty.
Consider the Penalties for a PC 402(b) Conviction
Interfering with a lifeguard during an emergency is considered a misdemeanor in the court system in California. There are a number of common penalties used for a PC 402(b) conviction. Individuals may be sentenced to six months of jail time. The court may also order an individual to:
- Perform Community Services
- Carry Out Community Labor
- Pay High Fines
The exact penalties handed down by the court will depend upon the unique circumstances surrounding the PC 402(b) charge.
Examples of PC 402(b) Violations in California
Man A arrives at the beach just as a lifeguard notices a swimmer in distress. Man A can see the swimmer splashing around, but has a few questions he really wants to ask the lifeguard. He tries to stop the lifeguard from entering the water, delaying the lifeguard from reaching the swimmer. He could be charged under PC 402(b).
Man B is at the beach with his family when a swimmer travels out too far into the ocean and panics. A lifeguard dives into the water to go help. Man B wades out into the surf as well to record the entire event. While Man B is present and close by during the emergency, he does not interfere with the lifeguard and should not face PC 402(b) charges.
Review Charges Similar to Interfering with a Lifeguard During an Emergency
The court system uses a number of charges that are very similar to PC 402(b). Individuals accused of interfering with other emergency situations could face charges for:
- California Penal Code Section 402(a): Sightseeing at the Scene of an Emergency
- California Penal Code Section 409.5(c): Unauthorized Entry Into A Closed Emergency Area
Note that, if threats or violence are used to interfere with a lifeguard, more serious charges may be filed. Individuals who attempt to use force against a lifeguard could be charged with assault. Successfully utilizing force could even lead to battery charges in California.
Consider Options for a Legal Defense for PC 402(b) Charges
As noted, the penalties for a PC 402(b) conviction can be harsh. You can take steps to protect yourself from these charges by reaching out to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. Let a legal professional go over the specifics of your case. Depending on your situation, a lawyer may be able to show:
You Didn’t Know a Lifeguard was Performing a Legal Duty
Individuals should only be charged under PC 402(b) if they knew – or should have known – that a lifeguard was completing a legal duty during an emergency situation. If you have no reasonable way of knowing that a lifeguard was engaged in a lawful duty, you may be able to avoid a PC 402(b) conviction.
You Didn’t Interfere with the Lifeguard’s Duties
It is important to note that PC 402(b) does not restrict you from viewing the scene of an emergency. This charge is only used to prosecute individuals who interfere with the actions of a lifeguard. If you were merely at the emergency scene, but stayed far out of everyone’s way, your lawyer could help you successfully resolve PC 402(b) charges.
Call a Legal Professional to Handle PC 402(b) Charges Today
California Penal Code Section 402(b): Interfering with a Lifeguard During an Emergency charge can be challenging to deal with alone. Fortunately, you can get professional help on your side right away by reaching out to the Simmrin Law Group. Start focusing on your defense right now by contacting us for a FREE initial case evaluation.
Make sure you’re ready to handle the charges you are facing by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688.