Railroad tracks run throughout California. These tracks are used to transport freight and even passengers in some cases. Any interference with their tracks can cause major accidents, property damage, and even injuries.
For this reason, individuals can be charged under California Penal Code Section 587: Injuring or Obstructing Railroad Tracks if they block or damage a track. You can learn more about the results of a conviction for PC 587 and some legal defenses here with the Simmrin Law Group.
Go Over the Definition of PC 587
According to Penal Code Section 587, individuals may face criminal charges for intentionally and maliciously:
- Destroying, Injuring, Displacing, or Removing
- Any Part of a Railroad or Railroad Track
Parts of railroads or railroad tracks can include:
- Branches or Branchways.
- Station Houses.
- Embankments or Culverts.
- Viaducts or Bridges.
- Turnouts or Switches.
Individuals can also face PC 587 charges for maliciously obstructing either a railroad track or the rails of a railway. This includes turnouts, branch ways, branches, and switches that connect to railroads in California.
Focus on Examples of Injuring or Obstructing Railroad Tracks
You can review these examples of potential PC 587 violations to learn more about injuring or obstructing railroad tracks:
Man A is out with some of his friends after drinking. They go to some railroad tracks running through town with a sledgehammer, intending to bend out the tracks. They take turns striking the rails, until they manage to damage a section. They could all be charged under PC 587.
Man B is moving across town. He loads some of his furniture onto the bed of his truck, including a mattress. While driving, the mattress comes loose and falls across some railroad tracks. Man B does not realize until he reaches his destination. He obstructed the railroad track, but could avoid PC 587 charges since he did not act maliciously.
Man C puts a coin on a train track because he heard it would make the train derail. However, nothing happens when the train comes. Man C should not be charged under PC 587 because he did not manage to injure or obstruct the railroad tracks.
Consider the Penalties for a PC 587 Conviction
Individuals who are accused of injuring or obstructing railroad tracks may face two levels of charges in California’s court system. Depending upon the facts surrounding this case, they could be dealing with:
Misdemeanor PC 587 Charges
Misdemeanor charges are the less severe charges associated with injuring or obstructing railroad tracks. The results of a misdemeanor conviction can include up to one year of jail time in California.
Felony PC 587 Charges
Felony charges are used to prosecute more serious acts of injuring or obstructing railroad tracks. Felony convictions can result in up to three years of jail time.
Review Charges Like PC 587
The court system in California has several charges that are similar to injuring or obstructing railroad tracks. This charge is tied closely to trespassing, as it involves going somewhere without permission to cause damage.
Individuals could also face similar charges for vandalism in Los Angeles. Damaging the property of another person without their consent or permission – including railroad tracks – can be considered an act of vandalism.
Consider Legal Defenses for Injuring or Obstructing Railroad Tracks
You can explore a number of legal defenses if you are accused of injuring or obstructing railroad tracks in California. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can go over the facts of your case and, depending upon your situation, could be able to show that:
You Did Not Maliciously Injure or Obstruct Railroad Tracks
PC 587 charges should only apply if you intentionally and with malicious intent damaged, injured, or obstructed a railroad track. If you accidentally obstructed a track or caused some damage, you could be able to build a strong defense for your case.
You Did Not Injure or Obstruct Railroad Tracks
Note that PC 587 charges should only be used if you actually obstruct or damage a railroad track. If you attempted to cause damage to the track, but did not succeed, it should not result in charges for injuring or obstructing railroad tracks.
Contact a Lawyer for Help with Charges for Injuring or Obstructing Railroad Tracks
Make sure you understand California Penal Code Section 587: Injuring or Obstructing Railroad Tracks charges by contacting the Simmrin Law Group now. You can speak with us today by completing our online contact form or calling 310-896-2723.
Reach out to our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles to get a FREE case evaluation about your unique situation.