What is the first thing you think of when you hear “criminal charges”? When we hear this phrase we usually see stories about violent, scandalous or gruesome crimes on the TV or read about them in the newspaper.
But the news reports do not paint the real picture of the most common crimes in California. This is due to the fact that the most common criminal charges in California are not that sensational or newsworthy. After all, who wants to hear about a drunk driver pulled over or a shoplifter hitting a small liquor store?
The fact is, any one of us may be linked to a crime at one point or another, whether we have one beer too many during the weekend or are involved in vandalism (perhaps even inadvertently). In this case, it’s important not to panic and to have an experienced attorney help you navigate the criminal proceedings.
In this article, we’ll bring you the most common criminal charges in California and what types of behavior classify as such.
Table of Contents
Driving Under Influence (DUI)
DUI is by far the most common type of crime in California. In many cases, it’s because defendants were not aware they exceeded the limit. Many are also not aware that DUI crimes also extend to operating a boat or a bike in an intoxicated state. DUI can refer to both alcohol and opiates, but alcohol-related DUI charges are much more frequent. A lot of people with an otherwise impeccable record can get a DUI charge, and in many cases, DUI charges can be contested with the help of a legal representative.
Sadly, drug crimes are still a common occurrence in California. These refer to possession, sale, transport,and production of illegal substances such as meth, cocaine, heroin, LSD,and others. These drugs are controlled by the government as they are often abused and sold.
You’d think people would have shunned their primal nature in the 21st century, but sadly violent assault crimes still count over 1 million criminal charges each year. These cases include deliberate attempts to inflict harm on others. They extend to battery charges, which refer to the act of inflicting harm on others. These cases are often sensitive because a lot of them occur within families where parents, partners or other family members get assaulted or hurt.
These crimes involve destruction or taking unauthorized possession of others’ properties, and as such include theft, burglary, arson, grand theft, larceny and other types of property crimes. Theft is by far the most common type of property crime. These crimes usually don’t involve causing harm to others, although some arson cases may lead to death or injury.
Financial Crimes & Frauds
Even though they are less violent, frauds and financial crimes are no less serious than other items on the list. Insurance frauds, forgery and embezzling are common crimes that fall under this category. If you are ever charged with any of these crimes, being honest and hiring a legal representative are your best practices if you want to prevent these charges from ruining your life.
Crimes against Children
Crimes against children involve any acts that may endanger the youngest including child abuse, statutory rape or molestation. Sometimes, even spanking can be considered a crime against a child. In case the force parents use to punish the child is unjustified or is misused and if the act causes an injury, spanking can be considered a crime. You are allowed to spank your child only when it’s reasonable and age appropriate.
From minor crimes such as parking tickets to more serious crimes such as reckless driving, driving with a suspended license or without one. Not only will these crimes result in a hefty fine, you could be endangering other people’s lives.
Gun Law Violations
Storing or carrying a concealed weapon are some of the most common issues that fall into this category. Some people are not permitted to carry a weapon such as felons, registered narcotic abusers, those suffering from mental illnesses and minors. You are also obligated to register your weapon, as possession of an illegal firearm is considered a crime.
Sex crimes include but are not limited to incest, prostitution and date rape. While in many states marital rape is not considered a crime, in California it is no different from other rape cases involving strangers and is therefore prosecuted.
Public Nuisance Crimes
Crimes such as public urination, disturbing the peace and obscenity are a couple of examples that can get you in trouble with the law. With increased surveillance, these crimes are becoming less frequent but still more common than you’d imagine. Speaking of, using drones to molest other people and disturb the public peace can also be considered a crime in some instances.