CA Penal Code 185 PC

PC 185 – Wearing a Mask or Disguise to Evade Police

PC 185 - Wearing a Mask or Disguise to Evade Police

Wearing a Mask or Disguise to Evade Police – Table of Contents

The Crime of Evading Police by Wearing a Mask

Wearing a Mask or Disguise to Evade Police Penal Code 185 dictates this crime in California. It is illegal to put on a mask or disguise or fake whiskers or any other cover-up to avoid being detected or detained by police officers after committing a crime. In an effort to effectuate an arrest, police officers want to be able to identify suspects, locate those individuals, and bring them into custody.

Thus, it has been deemed a crime to avoid all such police actions by putting on a disguise.

Prosecuting Penal Code 185 PC

In order to be convicted of violating penal code 185 for evading police by using a disguise the prosecutor must prove:

  1. You wore a mask (or some other thing that has been determined to be a disguise, such as false whiskers);
  2. You avoided being discovered, identified, or captured by police; and
  3. You were committing a public offense

The law has been well-settled that it is a violation of the same penal code to escape detection even after being charge with, arrested for, or convicted of a wearing a mask or disguise to evade police crime. You need not be committing the crime at the time you wear the disguise to ultimately be charged with violating wearing a mask or disguise to evade police penal code 185.

Burden of Proof

Whoever prosecutes your case, likely a district attorney, bears the burden of proving each element of the crime. As mentioned above, there are three elements of the wearing a mask or disguise to evade police crime. The prosecutor must prove each beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted of this crime. That means the prosecutor must show you actually wore a mask or disguise, you actually avoided identification or location by police by using that disguise, and you committed or were charged with, convicted of, or arrested for committing the a crime.

If the prosecutor fails to prove any one of these elements up to this standard, you cannot be convicted of evading police by use of a mask or disguise.

Defending Penal Code 185

Defending against a charge of violating wearing a mask or disguise to evade police PC 185 can be quite nuanced, and hiring a defense attorney is vital for avoiding such charges. For example, you must have worn your disguise for the purpose of evading police. If you were wearing a mask for another reason, be it Halloween or a prank on a friend, you cannot be convicted of wearing the mask to avoid arrest.

In addition, you must have committed a crime at some point in order to have used your disguise to avoid arrest for this crime. If you never committed the underlying offense, you will be acquitted in a court of law.

Finally, your defense attorney may be able to cast doubt on any of the three elements. As described, the prosecutor must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt, so providing reasonable doubt for any element will defeat these charges.

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one is being charged with committing Evading Police by Wearing a Mask or Disguise in violation of wearing a mask or disguise to evade police PC 185 in California, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office located in Century City, or by phone.

Our experienced and assiduous Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

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Lara S.
June 4, 2018
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

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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