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Animal Abuse and Cruelty in California

What Laws Pertain to Animal Abuse and Cruelty?

Penal Code section 597 pertains to animal abuse and cruelty. It is illegal under Penal Code section 597 for an individual to maliciously kill, harm, maim, or torture an animal.

What Are the Penalties for a Violation of Penal Code Section 597?

The penalties associated with a violation of Penal Code section 597 are treated as a wobbler. In other words, a violation of this penal code can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Should the prosecuting agency decide to treat the violation as a misdemeanor, an individual can face up to one year in county jail and may pay fines of up to $20,000. On the other hand, should the prosecuting agency decide to treat the violation as a felony, an individual may face up to three (3) years in state prison and may pay fines of up to $20,000.

What Does Maiming Mean for Purposes of Penal Code Section 597?

For purposes of Penal Code 597, maiming means to disable or disfigure an animal permanently or depriving it of a limb, organ, or other body parts.

What Does Torture Mean for Purposes of Penal Code Section 597?

For purposes of Penal Code 597, torture means to act, or failure to act, or neglect that causes unnecessary physical pain or suffering to the animal.

What Act Qualifies as Acting Maliciously for Purposes of Penal Code Section 597?

The acts that qualify as acting maliciously for purposes of Penal Code 597 are those involving intentionally doing a wrongful act by the individual.

Does a Violation of Penal Code Section 597 Impact Immigration?

A violation of Penal Code section 597 may impact immigration status. California courts rule that serious cases of animal abuse can result in deportation, though this depends on the facts of the matter to determine its seriousness.

Can an Individual Get an Expungement for a Conviction Under Penal Code Section 597?

Yes, an individual may get their conviction of Penal Code section 597 expunged if the following are established:

  • The conviction was for misdemeanor abuse; and
  • The defendant successfully completed either their jail term or probation.

Please note that an expungement for a felony conviction does not qualify for an expungement.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know is facing charges under Penal Code 597, contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at (310) 943-1171 for a free consultation. Our attorneys will evaluate the details of your case and let you know what to expect and how you can proceed.

 

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