Drivers typically file claims with their insurance company after a car accident. Some drivers file a claim after damaging their vehicle or abandoning it in an attempt to commit fraud. This is illegal. The state of California uses Penal Code 548 to prosecute fraudulent insurance claims related to damage or theft.
Drivers in California can face felony charges for a PC 548 violation. Take steps to find out more about how to fight this kind of charge with the Simmrin Law Group. Call us at (310) 997-4688 today for more information.
Understanding Fraudulent Insurance Claims for Damage or Theft
Insurance companies provide drivers with compensation for their losses after an accident. However, this compensation is only offered after a legitimate accident. It is against the law to stage an accident to get money from an insurance company. This action is prosecuted under PC 548.
Individuals should only face a PC 548 conviction if they intentionally act to defraud an insurance company. This fraud can involve damaging or destroying a motor vehicle on purpose, as well as hiding, abandoning, or otherwise disposing of it.
The vehicle must be covered by an insurance company for PC 548 charges to apply. The driver must then file a claim seeking compensation for their loss while knowing that they caused the loss in the first place. PC 548 charges may apply even if the insurance company denies the claim and doesn’t pay out on it. These charges can also apply if the car did not belong to the person who filed the claim.
Get additional information about how to fight this charge from a white-collar crime lawyer in Los Angeles. Call the Simmrin Law Group today at (310) 997-4688.
The Results of a PC 548 Conviction
Making a fraudulent insurance claim for damage or theft is a felony in California. This means that the penalties for a conviction can be harsh. Individuals convicted under PC 548 can end up facing:
- Fines of up to $50,000
- Incarceration of up to five years
Additionally, the court system looks at an individual’s prior criminal history during sentencing. Individuals may face higher penalties if they have prior convictions on their record.
For example, PC 548 and PC 550 both concern insurance fraud. A prior conviction for either of these violations can add up to two years to an individual’s period of incarceration. The Simmrin Law Group may be able to help reduce these penalties. We may even be able to get a past conviction expunged in certain cases.
Charges Similar to Penal Code 548 in California
Fraud is a serious criminal offense in California. Additional charges that concern auto insurance fraud include:
- Referral to auto repair shops for fraud
- Submitting fraudulent insurance claims
- Receiving kickbacks from auto repair shops
Reach out to us today for help handling auto insurance fraud charges here in Los Angeles.
Defenses Against Fraudulent Insurance Claims for Damage or Theft
There are several legal defenses available to you under PC 548. Your lawyer can help you show that:
You Weren’t Trying to Defraud the Insurance Company
You should only face a PC 548 conviction if you intended to defraud the insurance company. If you filed an insurance claim because you legitimately believed your vehicle was missing or stolen, you may be able to avoid a conviction. Speak to a lawyer in this situation.
You Were Accused of a Crime You Didn’t Commit
You may be facing false charges under PC 548. For example, let’s say you damaged your car by accident and filed an insurance claim. However, your ex-girlfriend called the insurance company and told them you intentionally damaged your car. This is a false allegation, and we can help you fight it.
Speak to a Lawyer About Fraudulent Insurance Claims for Damage or Theft
Get legal help on your side if you’ve been charged under Penal Code 548 in California with the Simmrin Law Group. Our white-collar crime lawyers here in Los Angeles can help you understand your rights in a fraudulent insurance claim case. Allow us to assess your legal situation right now. Call our team for help at (310) 997-4688 or complete our online contact form for a free consultation today.