“Borrowing” another person’s bicycle or vessel may not seem like a problem. However, California Penal Code Section 499b: Unlawful Taking of a Bicycle or Vessel can be used to prosecute individuals who take another person’s bicycle or vessel without their consent.
You can find out more about situations that could lead to PC 499b charges with this article. You can also go over the penalties for a PC 499b conviction. The Simmrin Law Group can help you review some options for legal defenses to this charge.
The Legal Definition of Unlawfully Taking a Bicycle or Vessel
Individuals can face criminal charges under PC 499b if they temporarily take someone else’s vessel or bicycle. PC 499b charges should only be used if a bicycle or vessel is taken without the owner’s consent. Additionally, individuals must intend to use the bicycle or vessel they took to face PC 499b charges.
Defining Vessels in California
You may be wondering exactly how the legal system in California defines a ‘vessel.’ Any watercraft can be considered a vessel. This means an individual could be prosecuted under PC 499b for taking any of the following watercraft:
- Raft or Canoe
- Ski Boat
- Yacht or Speed Boat
- Ferry Boat
Unlawfully Taking a Bicycle or Vessel vs. Theft Charges
You may notice that unlawfully taking a bicycle or vessel sounds very much like theft. However, these two acts are distinct in California’s court system. In fact, individuals cannot be charged with both unlawfully taking a bicycle or vessel and theft.
Generally, individuals are charged with unlawfully taking a bicycle or vessel if they intend to use the item they took. An individual who takes a bicycle or a vessel to steal it, with no intention of utilizing it, could instead be charged with either:
Note that the penalties for a theft charge are generally more severe than those for unlawfully taking a bicycle or a vessel. The fines may be higher and individuals can face a longer period of incarceration for a theft accusation. You can focus on the specifics regarding theft charges with a Los Angeles theft crimes lawyer.
Repercussions for Unlawfully Taking a Bicycle or Vessel
The penalties for a PC 499b conviction depend upon whether or not an individual took a bicycle or a vessel. Let’s go over the results of each conviction:
Penalties for Taking a Bicycle
- Fines of Up to $400
- Jail Time of Up to Three Months
Penalties for Taking a Vessel
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to One Year
Probation may sometimes be offered instead of jail time in cases involving unlawfully taking a bicycle or vessel.
Defenses for Accusations of Unlawfully Taking a Bicycle or Vessel
There are several legal defenses that can be used if you are accused of the unlawful taking of a bicycle or vessel. You can go over your legal options with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Based on your specific situation, your lawyer could work to show that:
You Took a Bicycle or Vessel with the Consent of the Owner
You are legally allowed to borrow and use a bicycle or vessel if the owner gave you their permission. Note that you must receive permission before you take and use a bicycle or vessel for this defense to apply to your case.
You Didn’t Intend to Use the Bicycle or Vessel
There may be situations where you need to take a bicycle or a vessel to help out. Perhaps a major storm was coming and you took a friend’s bicycle to protect it from damage. If you never intended to use the bicycle in this situation, you could avoid a PC 499b conviction.
You Needed to Use the Bicycle or Vessel
Sometimes, situations can spiral outside of your control. If you needed to take and use a bicycle or vessel in an emergency situation, you could be able to avoid PC 499b charges. However, it can be difficult to prove the necessity of taking another person’s vessel or bicycle.
Contact Legal Professionals for Help Handling PC 499b Accusations
You can get legal advice right away if you are charged under California Penal Code Section 499b: Unlawful Taking of a Bicycle or Vessel. Start building your defense now by calling (310) 997-4688 or filling out the Simmrin Law Group’s online contact form.
Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can offer you a FREE initial case evaluation.