The state of California legally forbids individuals from causing damage to phone lines or electrical lines. This action can be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 591: Damaging Phone or Electrical Lines, leading to fines and even jail time.
You can find out more about PC 591 charges with this article. Go over:
- The Definition of Damaging Phone or Electrical Lines.
- The Penalties for a PC 591 Conviction.
- Charges Similar to PC 591.
- Legal Defenses for Damaging Phone or Electrical Line Charges.
The Simmrin Law Group can provide you with information about PC 591 right now.
Defining Penal Code Section 591
Penal Code Section 591 provides us with the legal definition of damaging phone or electrical lines. According to this section of California’s legal codes, individuals can face criminal charges for:
- Removing, Injuring, Disconnecting, Cutting, Obstructing, or Taking Down
- Lines for Conducting Electricity along with Telephone, Telegraph, and Cable Television Lines
PC 591 charges can also apply if an individual connects to other lines used to conduct electricity without authorization. Note that these charges also apply if individuals damage or connect to:
- Any Part of the Lines.
- Appurtenances of the Lines.
- Apparatuses Connected to the Lines.
Note that PC 591 charges should only apply if an individual acts intentionally and maliciously to damage a phone or electrical line.
Considering Examples of Damaging Phone or Electrical Lines
Man A wants to rob a house and decides to cut the phone lines first. He attempts to cut the line just to one house, but ends up damaging the lines that provide telephone service to an entire street. He could face criminal charges for damaging the phone or electrical lines.
Man B wants to get cable television without paying for it. He decides to try to splice off service from his neighbor’s cable box. He causes serious damage to the surrounding wires during this activity. He could face numerous charges, including PC 591 accusations.
Man C is trying to plant a tree with his family in his front yard. While digging, he accidentally strikes an underground phone line, severely damaging it. While he did damage a phone line, he could be able to avoid a conviction under PC 591 because he was not acting intentionally.
Reviewing the Penalties for Damaging Phone or Electrical Lines
The court system in California can prosecute PC 591 as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor charges are generally less serious, though they can still result in:
- Fines of Up to $1,000.
- Jail Time of Up to One Year.
A felony violation for damaging phone or electrical lines can lead to:
- Fines of Up to $10,000.
- Jail Time of Up to Three Years.
Going Over Charges Associated with Damaging Phone or Electrical Lines
In some cases, individuals charged with the damaging phone or electrical lines may face additional charges. Charges closely connected to PC 591 can include:
Individuals can be charged with trespassing any time they enter property without the owner’s permission. Acts of damage to another person’s property can also be prosecuted through vandalism charges in California.
Considering Legal Defenses for PC 591 Accusations
There are legal defenses that can help if you were accused of damaging phone or electrical lines in California. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can start working on your defense right now. Based on the facts surrounding your case, a legal professional could work to show that:
You Didn’t Intend to Damage a Phone or Electrical Line
You should only be convicted under PC 591 if you set out to damage a phone or electrical line with malicious intent. This means that if you caused the damage by accident you could avoid a conviction under PC 591.
You Were Falsely Accused of Damaging a Phone or Electrical Line
In many cases, the damage to a phone or electrical line is only discovered after the fact. This means that individuals may be unsure who actually caused the damage. You could be accused of damaging a phone or electrical line when you did not actually commit any wrongdoing.
Getting Professional Help Handling PC 591 Charges
You can start building a defense for California Penal Code Section 591: Damaging Phone or Electrical Lines charges today with the Simmrin Law Group. Our team of Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers can start offering you legal advice right now with a FREE consultation.
Find out more about PC 591 charges by calling us at 310-997-4688 or completing our online contact form.