Penal Code 537 concerns the crime of defrauding an innkeeper here in California. However, despite the name of this charge, it does not only apply to innkeepers. Individuals can face PC 537 charges if they are accused of trying to defraud different businesses.
Defrauding an innkeeper is an example of a theft crime. The court treats PC 537 violations very seriously. A conviction could lead to incarceration and fines. The Simmrin Law Group is prepared to help you learn more about PC 537 charges.
Defrauding an Innkeeper in the State of California
Defrauding an innkeeper sounds like a very exact charge tied to a specific kind of business. The name of the offense is slightly misleading in this respect. In fact, individuals can face PC 537 charges if they try to defraud any business, including those that:
- Provide lodging
- Serve food
- Sell fuel or drinks
Generally, individuals can face this charge if they take a good or service from a business without paying. For example, let’s say a couple goes out to a restaurant on a date. They order a meal knowing full-well they don’t have enough money to pay for it. At the end of the meal, they leave without paying. They could face charges for this act under PC 537.
The act of fraud does not always involve straightforward acts of theft. Individuals can commit fraud just by misleading others for their own gain. The use of trickery to obtain someone else’s property or valuables is an example of fraud.
For this reason, defrauding an innkeeper charges do not cover all acts of theft involving a business. Walking into a store and demanding money from the cash register is not an example of a PC 537 violation. This is defined as robbery. However, tricking a gas station attendant into providing free fuel would qualify as defrauding an innkeeper.
Being Convicted Under PC 537 Violation
PC 537 can be treated either as a misdemeanor or a felony charge in the state of California. The value of the goods taken from a business usually determines how the charge is prosecuted. Individuals who defraud an innkeeper for less than $950 generally face misdemeanor charges. Larger acts of fraud lead to harsher charges.
Misdemeanor charges for defrauding an innkeeper typically resemble petty theft charges. A conviction can result in:
- Incarceration of up to six months
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Summary probation
More serious offenses can resemble grand theft charges in Los Angeles. A conviction for a felony PC 537 violation can result in a longer period of incarceration.
Defenses Against Defrauding an Innkeeper Charges
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you if you are accused of defrauding an innkeeper. Your lawyer can help you show that:
- You made a mistake
- You didn’t intend to defraud anyone
- You acted under duress
You Made a Mistake
Perhaps you made a mistake. Maybe you pulled out a ten-dollar bill to pay for your meal instead of a twenty. In this situation, we may be able to help you avoid a PC 537 conviction.
You didn’t Intend to Defraud Anyone
An individual should only face a PC 537 conviction if they planned to defraud someone else. If you acted without intending to obtain food or valuables through fraud, a lawyer may be able to help you avoid conviction. Find out more today by contacting a theft crimes lawyer in Los Angeles.
You Acted Under Duress
Maybe you defrauded an innkeeper because you were forced to do so. This could occur if someone threatens your health or well-being in order to force you to do what they want. You can work with a lawyer on defending yourself against this charge if you were forced to defraud an innkeeper.
Charges Related to Penal Code Section 537
There are several laws related to California PC 537. When arrested for defrauding an innkeeper, you could also face charges under:
- California Penal Code Section 484(a) & 488: Petty Theft
- California Penal Code Section 487: Grand Theft
- California Penal Code Section 495.5: Shoplifting
If convicted of multiple penal code violations, your sentence could become significantly more severe.
Can a Penal Code 537 Conviction Be Expunged?
It may be possible to get a California PC 537 conviction expunged from your record. Before expungement, you must first complete any incarceration or probation ordered by the court. A criminal defense lawyer can help you petition the court to have the charge expunged from your record.
Having a conviction on your record can make it difficult to find work or housing. Expungement can help you in these pursuits. Contact the Simmrin Law Group today to learn more about expungement and if you are eligible.
Ask Us About How to Fight Back Against Charges of Defrauding an Innkeeper
If you have been charged with defrauding an innkeeper under Penal Code Section 537, it is critical that you get experienced legal help in fighting this charge. Reach out to the Simmrin Law Group if you were charged with a Penal Code 537 violation. Just complete our online contact form or call us for a free consultation.
A member of our team will review the details of your case and answer all of your questions. We will advise you of your legal rights and which options are best for your position. Should you choose to retain our services, we will begin building your defense immediately.