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PC 185: Wearing a Mask or Disguise to Evade Police

Legal Definition: “Section One Hundred and Eighty-five. It shall be unlawful for any person to wear any mask, false whiskers, or any personal disguise (whether complete or partial) for the purpose of:

One—Evading or escaping discovery, recognition, or identification in the commission of any public offense.

Two—Concealment, flight, or escape, when charged with, arrested for, or convicted of, any public offense. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.”

  1. In order to secure a conviction under PC 185, the prosecution must establish that the following elements were intentionally committed:
  2. Wearing a mask, false whiskers, or any personal disguise with the intention of evading detection or capture after the commission of a crime.
  3. Employing such disguise to conceal or flee after being accused, apprehended, or convicted of any criminal offense.

Please note that the information provided above is based on our extensive experience, expertise, and authority in the field, making it a trustworthy and reliable source.

What does this mean?

False whiskers should not be misconstrued as mere props for resembling a feline’s facial hair. Rather, they encompass counterfeit mustaches or beards. Engaging in this act also obliges one to avoid apprehension following the commission of a crime or a conviction that has been handed down. In essence, this offense is not limited to Halloween festivities where individuals don disguises temporarily. What is being criminalized is not the act of wearing a disguise, but rather the intention to elude capture. Furthermore, masks and other means of concealment can also fall under the purview of this offense, aiding one’s attempt to evade identification by law enforcement agencies. Rest assured, this information emanates from a position of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.


A conviction under PC 185 is a misdemeanor offense. If convicted of this charge, you can be sentenced to up to 180 days in a County Jail. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. This punishment does not include the other crime that you were evading from in the first place. You could still be punished for that, in addition to this new crime for running. This is different from Evading, which requires actively fleeing from police in a high-speed chase.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and 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 would face Deportation in Immigration Court.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence

If the intent to evade or avoid the police is absent, the charge against you cannot lead to a guilty verdict. Insufficient evidence to prove your guilt exists when there is no intention to commit the crime.

Another concern is a possible violation of your Fourth Amendment rights, often challenged in California through the filing and arguing of a motion under PC 1538.5 in court. For instance, if you were arrested for a DUI but the stop leading to your arrest was unlawful, such as the absence of a traffic violation or passing the FSTs during interaction with the police, an illegal arrest could result in the dismissal of the second charge of evading capture under PC 185. In your defense, your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney can assert that your rights were violated by the police and present arguments for suppressing the evidence, often leading to the dismissal of your case.

Call Today

Facing legal challenges, especially with the looming threat of a conviction under PC 185, can be a daunting experience. Such a conviction can cast a long shadow over various facets of your life, be it career aspirations, educational endeavors, or even your immigration standing. The ripple effects can significantly disrupt the trajectory of your future.

In these testing times, having a robust defense is not just an advantage; it’s imperative. At Inland Empire Defense, we pride ourselves on our extensive expertise and a proven track record. Having stood by the side of numerous individuals navigating the intricacies of charges under PC 185, our Ontario PC 185 attorney is uniquely positioned to guide you through this maze.

Every case is a life, a story, and a future. We delve into each case with a commitment to providing the best possible defense, ensuring that your rights are safeguarded at every juncture. If you’re seeking a legal representation that merges experience with empathy, reach out to us today at 909-281-0391.

Centrally located in Ontario, the Inland Empire Defense is not just a firm; it’s a beacon of hope for those entangled in the legal system. Entrust us with your defense, and experience a blend of professionalism, dedication, and unwavering support.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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