Vehicle Code 23110 VC

VC 23110 – Throwing Substance at a Vehicle

VC 23110 - Throwing Substance at a Vehicle

Throwing Substance at a Vehicle – Table of Contents

VC 23110 – Overview

Throwing Substance at a Vehicle CA Vehicle Code 23110 VC, is defined by the state as anyone who intentionally throws any object or substance at a vehicle or occupant on a public road. Even with optimal conditions, driving is dangerous. Throwing an object at a vehicle would certainly be distracting to the driver and very likely result in an accident with serious or deadly injury. Therefore, rules of the road such as VC 23110 are designed to protect drivers and passengers, and keep roadways safe by imposing punishments for acts that make driving more dangerous. Certainly, throwing an object at a vehicle or an occupant is dangerous even if the person was only trying to play a harmless prank. Notably, the statute prohibits the throwing of “any” object or substance, even if the object is not inherently dangerous.

VC 23110 – Sentencing

Throwing an object or substance at a vehicle in California can result in either a misdemeanor or a felony charge depending on what the person intended when committing the act. In general, the intentional throwing of any object or substance at a vehicle or occupant is a misdemeanor, but throwing an object maliciously and willfully with an intent to cause serious bodily injury can be a felony. However, under the statute, accidentally throwing an object would not be a crime. For example, if a side-view mirror becomes dislodged from the car and strikes another vehicle, that would not be considered unintentional, and not satisfy VC 23110.

Penalties for a conviction for a misdemeanor under VC 23110(a) include:

  • custody in county jail for up to six months and/or
  • a fine up to $1,000.

Again, throwing any object or substance at a vehicle or occupant on a public road could result in a misdemeanor conviction under VC 23110(a) even if the object is not inherently dangerous such as an egg or empty coffee cup.

Penalties for a conviction for a felony fall under VC 23110(b) and include:

  • custody in state prison for up to three years and/or
  • a fine up to $10,000.

Under VC 23110(b) prohibited objects include throwing a rock, metal or other missile, or any other substance capable of doing serious bodily injury. Notably, a felony conviction does require the object to be capable of causing serious bodily injury.

A charge for VC 23110, Throwing Substance at a Vehicle, which prohibits the throwing of any object, would also include firing a gun at a vehicle or occupant since the bullet would satisfy VC 23110 as being an “object” and most likely be charged as a felony because it can cause serious bodily injury. However, in this case, the prosecutor would most likely also charge other crimes for the same incident. In fact, firing a gun at a vehicle will result in several felony charges with serious prison sentences if convicted including CA Penal Code section 246 PC, Assault and Battery, which includes shooting at an occupied vehicle; PC 246; CA Penal Code section 256 PC, Assault with a Firearm; and CA Penal Code 26100 PC, Shooting from a Motor Vehicle, if the defendant fired a gun from a vehicle. A conviction for any one of these charges could result in up to 25 years in state prison.

VC 23110 – Prosecuting

In order for a conviction for VC 23110 throwing an object or substance at a vehicle, the prosecutor has the burden to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. For a misdemeanor conviction under VC 23110(a), the prosecution must prove:

  • the defendant intentionally acts (also known as the actus reus) to throw an object or substance
  • the object makes contact with the vehicle or an occupant
  • the vehicle was on a public roadway or highway.

A conviction will require a finding that the object actually hit the vehicle, however, any unsuccessful crime could be charged as an attempted crime under CA Penal Code 664, Attempted Crimes PC. An attempted crime occurs when any one tries to commit a criminal act, but is unsuccessful, fails, is prevented or intercepted before the crime is completed. For example, if the defendant intentionally throws a rock at a vehicle, but misses, then the prosecutor could charge him with attempted throwing of an object at a vehicle, and if convicted, the punishment is usually one-half of the sentence if the crime had been completed.

VC 23110 – Defending

A successful defense must be carefully tailored to address the specific elements of each charge. Certainly, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to review the facts and develop the best strategy to obtain a favorable outcome. An attorney is also able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and often can persuade the prosecutor to drop the charges or negotiate a plea bargain. This is important regardless if a crime does not seem to be “serious” because any conviction, even for a misdemeanor, can have long-term impact.

The most common defense for misdemeanor VC 23110 is that the defendant did not have the necessary intent to throw the object or substance. In other words, it was an accident. Moreover, California recognizes the “Accident Defense” whereby the object or substance was unintentionally thrown by the defendant, or more commonly, the object was inadvertently propelled from the vehicle and strikes another vehicle.

For a felony charge under VC 23110(b), additional defenses include:

  • did not act maliciously (intend to injure)
  • did not act willfully (on purpose)
  • the object was not one of the objects specifically identified or capable of doing serious bodily harm
  • no intent to cause serious bodily injury.

Additionally, there are defenses that an experienced defense attorney can identify to successful argue to drop the charges or gain an acquittal including:

  • statute of limitations
  • insufficient evidence to prove an element.
  • Moreover, an attorney can ensure that law enforcement and the prosecutor have not made any errors and inadvertently violated a defendant’s constitutional rights.

Throwing Substance at a Vehicle – Hire Us

If you or a loved one is being charged with VC 23110, Throwing Substance at a Vehicle, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

Need a Criminal Defense Attorney? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529

Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Criminal Defense Attorney who has over 20 years of practice defending a variety of criminal cases.

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