Penal Code PC 487(a)(2) PC

PC 152.3 – Duty of Witnesses to Report Crime

PC 152.3 - Duty of Witnesses to Report Crime

Duty of Witnesses to Report Crime – Table of Contents

Duty to Report a Crime – Overview

The fact that onlookers to a drowning catastrophe did nothing to save the victim despite it being shocking and horrific is not illegal in California since there is no such legislation. In essence, no common law in the United States asserts that the general public, as opposed to professional services like law enforcement, medical personnel, and firefighters, is responsible for saving someone in danger. This contrasts with the laws in other countries. However, in some instances, people living in California have a moral obligation to act. Currently, ten states, including California, have legislation titled “duty to report.” The statutes in California have more to do with reporting crimes and threats to kids than saving persons in dangerous circumstances like car accidents or fires.

Suppose a citizen has information about the rape or murder of a child younger than 14. In that case, they are required by law to report it to the appropriate authorities unless they are “related to either the victim or the offender, including a spouse, parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, or other person related by consanguinity or affinity.”

PC 152.3 – Penalties

Penal Code 152.3 states that you are required to report crimes, although this rule has various exemptions. You are not obliged to report the crime if, for instance, it was committed by a relative such as a brother, husband, sister, or grandfather. If you do comply with this requirement, you will be guilty of a misdemeanor, which holds a paramount sentence of one year in county prison and a fine of $1500.

Situations That Require You to Report a Crime in California

You might be accused of helping and abetting criminal activity if you provide information about it. According to California’s parties to crime legislation, anybody who takes any step that makes it easier or gives enough room and time for another person to commit a crime is deemed an aider and abettor. Even though you may be accused of just being an aider, you might still be punished even if you didn’t do it.

Examples of them include the following:

  • The accused was fully aware of every aspect of the scheme being concocted.
  • The victim was motivated to conduct the crime directly due to the accused’s actions.
  • The defendant took an active role in illicit activities, such as maintaining watch while another crime was committed.

Though you helped cover up a crime by coming up with a plan to conceal it, even if you weren’t there at the time, you might still be held legally responsible because of your role in the crime’s concealment. For instance, depending on the gravity of the crime, you might be prosecuted as an accessory if you assist the perpetrators of a crime in concealing the knife or pistol they used. It’s also possible to face legal repercussions if your profession requires you to disclose suspected child abuse or neglect cases. Professionals in education and social work fall under this category. Those who deliberately endanger a child’s safety may be punished with hefty penalties or perhaps time behind bars. Failure to disclose a federal crime may result in further charges of obstruction, imprisonment, or a fine.

Mandatory Reporting Laws

Certain professions in California must comply with the state’s Mandatory Reporting Laws. Teachers and other school authorities, police officers, doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, ministers, and firefighters often report child abuse and neglect cases.

Abuse of any kind, whether sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional, and putting a child in danger or neglecting them are all crimes that must be reported in compliance with the mandatory reporting statute. The violation of this law’s requirement to report as necessary may result in a fine of up to $1000 and/or a sentence of up to six months in county jail. If you willfully prevent another person from filing a report that is needed, you might face up to one year in county prison and a fine of $5,000. On the other hand, it is equally essential to be aware of the legal implications of submitting a false report of a criminal occurrence. The Penal Code section 148.5 makes it possible for you to be prosecuted for your actions.

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How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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