California penal code 463
Information on the crime of looting is found at California penal code section 463. Looting is defined as theft during an emergency. An emergency includes earthquake, fire, flood, riot, or other natural or manmade disaster. A theft is the unlawful taking of another person's property without consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the other person of the property.
Looting Laws (PC 463)
Every person who commits second-degree burglary, defined in penal code 459, during and within an affected county in a “state of emergency” or a “local emergency” resulting from an earthquake, fire, flood, riot, or other natural or manmade disaster shall be guilty of the crime of looting (PC 463(a)).
For purposes of this section, the fact that the structure entered has been damaged by the earthquake, fire, flood, or other natural or manmade disaster shall not, in and of itself, preclude conviction.
Every person who commits the crime of grand theft, as defined in Section 487, except grand theft of a firearm, during and within an affected county in a “state of emergency” or a “local emergency” resulting from an earthquake, fire, flood, riot, or other natural or unnatural disaster shall be guilty of the crime of looting (PC 463(b)).
Every person who commits the crime of petty theft, as defined in Section 488, during and within an affected county in a “state of emergency” or a “local emergency” resulting from an earthquake, fire, flood, riot, or other natural or manmade disaster shall be guilty of a misdemeanor looting (PC 463(c)).
Sentence & Punishment for Looting (PC 463)
The crime of looting is charged either as a felony or as a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case, such as the defendant's criminal history, the amount of property stolen, etc. Both felony and misdemeanor looting crimes are charged under PC 463.
When PC 463 is charged as a felony the defendant may face a jail sentence of up to three years. When PC 463 is charged as a misdemeanor the defendant may face a jail sentence of up to one year.
Probation without jail may be available in some looting cases. When probation without jail is granted the defendant will be ordered to serve 80-160 hours of community service. Additional penalties include: restraining orders, fines, restitution, immigration consequences, and professional licensing consequences.
Defense to Looting Charges (463)
Common defenses to looting charges include:
- insufficient evidence to prove theft or identity
- intoxication (voluntary and involuntary)
- mistake of fact
- statute of limitations
- consent to enter a shop
- coerced confession
- police investigation misconduct
- lack of a "state of emergency" and more.
If you have been charged with the crime of looting, or penal code 463, contact our criminal defense attorney today for a free consultation. Our attorneys are standing by to answer all of your questions and defense options. Call today!
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Looting Crimes: PC 463
- Criminal Threats
- Domestic Violence
- Drunk in Public
- DUI w/injury
- Elder Theft
- Evading Police
- False Personation
- Hit and Run
- Indecent Exposure
- Lewd Acts
- Unlawful Assembly
- Vehicle Theft
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