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PC 365.7 Service Dog Fraud Laws in California

PC 365.7: Service Dog Fraud

Legal Definition: “(a) Any person who knowingly and fraudulently represents himself or herself, through verbal or written notice, to be the owner or trainer of any canine licensed as, to be qualified as, or identified as, a guide, signal, or service dog, as defined in subdivisions (d), (e), and (f) of Section 365.5 and paragraph (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 54.1 of the Civil Code, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.”

What does this mean?

As used in this section, “owner” means any person who owns a guide, signal, or service dog or is authorized by the owner to use the guide, signal, or service dog. This section penalizes people with animals who attempt to claim that the animal is a medical service dog. People do this because some businesses require, if you bring an animal in, it must be a service dog. Some apartments also require proof that your animal is a service animal to keep them at the residence. This fraud can be done either in writing or verbally to someone who requires proof. This is similar to people attempting to make false vaccinations cards to avoid getting vaccinated, although that crime is much more severe than this here.

You do something fraudulently when you do something acting in bad faith, dishonesty, or a lack of integrity. A guide dog is typically used for the blind; a signal dog is trained for alerting deaf or hard of hearing people to intruders or sounds; a service dog is a dog trained to work or perform tasks for their human who suffers from a disability. This statute does not apply to emotional support animals, as these dogs are not trained.

Penalties

A violation under PC 365.7 is a straight misdemeanor offense. A conviction under this section can land you in County Jail for up to 180 days. You would have to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You could also be subject to fines up to $1,000 if convicted.

This is a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, but it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you could face Deportation in Immigration Court since this offense involves dishonesty (lying).

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. False Accusations

You can only be convicted of this crime if it is found that you act fraudulently. For example, a person who truly believes that they have a trained service dog, but was lied to, is not lying to others if they are themselves misinformed. Failing to show that you acted fraudulently, would mean there is insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of this charge.

False accusations are not technically considered a “defense” in criminal law. In essence, the defense of false accusations comes from a person who falsely blames you for a crime you did not commit. So in essence, there is a witness that is blaming you for the crime, and you are claiming you are innocent. In many other defenses under California law, you are guilty of the crime, but a technical defense that prevents a conviction, different than here. A person can falsely report to police that you told them or provided documents that your dog is a service dog when you did not. People can make false accusations based on a grudge, revenge, or some other ill intent. Showing that the person has a hidden bias against you, can help your case and lead to a dismissal of your case.

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The repercussions of a criminal conviction, particularly under statutes like PC 365.7, are profound and far-reaching. Such a conviction can lead to the loss of employment opportunities, personal freedom, and significantly alter your future trajectory.

In these critical circumstances, the expertise and strategic approach of your legal representation are paramount. Our Ontario PC 365.7 attorney at Inland Empire Defense is known for their extensive experience and success in defending individuals across the Inland Empire. With a deep understanding of the legal intricacies and a strong commitment to our clients, we are dedicated to providing the most effective defense possible.

Understanding the weight of what’s at stake, we are committed to guiding you through every step of the legal process, ensuring that you have a robust defense strategy tailored to your unique case.

If you or someone you know is facing charges under PC 365.7, don’t delay in seeking expert legal representation. Contact your local Rancho Cucamonga Criminal Defense Attorney at Inland Empire Defense by calling 909-939-7126. Our office is conveniently located in Ontario, CA, and we are ready to assist you in protecting your rights and securing your future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Does the attorney offer confidential consultations?

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Does the attorney offer payment plans?

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Is the consultation free?

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Are the consultations in person or only over the phone?

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Is the office open on weekends?

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Does the attorney serve all of California?

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting avvo.com to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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