Many people in California do not realize that they must follow specific rules when disposing of refrigerators and other large appliances. These rules were set up to reduce the odds that a child could crawl into a large, abandoned appliance and become trapped.
Due to the potential risk to children, failure to correctly dispose of a large appliance can lead to criminal charges under California Penal Code Section 402b: Abandoning a Refrigerator Without Removing its Door. You can learn more about PC 402b charges with the Simmrin Law Group. Use this article to:
- Review the Definition of Abandoning a Refrigerator Without Removing its Door
- Go Over the Penalties for a PC 402b Conviction
- Focus on Some Common Legal Defense for PC 402b Charges
Get ready to learn more about abandoning a refrigerator without removing its door right here.
PC 402b: California’s Legal Definition
Individuals in California may be charged under PC 402b if they:
- Abandon an Appliance
- Without Removing the Door of the Appliance OR the Hinges and Latch Mechanism
- In a Location Where Children Can Access It
PC 402b charges can also apply if a property’s manager, owner, or lessee has an appliance without its door removed in a place where it can be accessed by children. Note that individuals are not always required to remove the door to the appliance. In fact, removing the hinges or latch mechanism is often enough to avoid a PC 402b violation.
Defining Appliances in California
PC 402b only deals with specific appliances. Generally, this criminal charge only covers the abandonment of:
- Deep-Freeze Lockers
- Clothes Dryers
- Washing Machines
Additionally, these appliances must have a capacity of at least one and a half cubic feet to be covered under PC 402b. This size is due to the risk that a child could crawl into the appliance and become unable to open the door from the inside, leading to suffocation and death. Smaller appliances are therefore not covered by PC 402b charges.
Exceptions for PC 402b Charges for Appliance Vendors
The state of California makes some exceptions for vendors who sell the above-listed appliances. Vendors do not have to remove all the doors, hinges, or latching mechanisms of the products they are storing or selling, as long as they ensure reasonable precautions are taken to ensure children cannot enter these appliances.
PC 402b: Penalties for a Conviction
Individuals who abandon a refrigerator – or other large appliance – without removing the door can face misdemeanor charges. The court system can hand down harsh penalties for a conviction, including:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to Six Months
Note that if a child becomes trapped in the appliance and dies, the charges for this act can become much more severe. An individual in this circumstance could be charged under California Penal Code Section 192(b): Involuntary Manslaughter, for example.
Additionally, the court system could use additional charges if the appliance is abandoned on someone else’s land. Individuals who trespass onto another person’s property to abandon an appliance may face more severe penalties.
PC 402b: Options for Legal Defenses
There are some legal defenses that may work for you if you are accused of abandoning a refrigerator without removing its door. You can go over your legal options today by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Based on the circumstances surrounding your case, a lawyer could work to show that:
You Removed the Door, Hinges, or Latching Mechanism of the Appliance
PC 402b charges should only apply if you abandon an appliance without removing the doors, hinges, or latching mechanisms. If you adhered to the proper procedures before abandoning your appliance, you should not face PC 402b charges.
You Took Reasonable Steps to Secure the Appliance
We mentioned that PC 402b made a special exception for appliance vendors. Vendors that reasonably secure large appliances may be able to avoid a conviction under PC 402b. This applies even if the vendor does not remove the door, hinges, or latching mechanisms.
Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer About PC 402b Charges Now
You do not have to try to face California Penal Code Section 402b: Abandoning a Refrigerator Without Removing its Door charges by yourself. You can start getting the professional legal advice you need today from the Simmrin Law Group. You can contact our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 896-2723.
Begin working on your defense for PC 402b accusations immediately with a FREE case evaluation.