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I. PC 647.9: Invasion of Privacy

Legal Definition:

PC 647.9: “A first responder, operating under color of authority, who responds to the scene of an accident or crime and captures the photographic image of a deceased person by any means, including, but not limited to, by use of a personal electronic device or a device belonging to their employing agency, for any purpose other than an official law enforcement purpose or a genuine public interest is guilty..”

For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 647.9 the prosecution must show that:

1. You work as a first responder;

2. You responded to the scene of an accident;

3. You took photos of a deceased person;


4. You shared these photos for a purpose other than for your job.

II. What does this mean?

This is known as the Kobe Bryant Law. This law came into action after the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant, and how a first responder on the scene shared photos of the deceased to news outlets. Thus, to remedy the problem, this law went into place punishing such conduct as a misdemeanor. Note, this law only applies to First Responders, therefore a person taking a photo of a death at an accident scene is not, without the job title, a crime. For purposes of this section, a “first responder” means a state or local peace officer, paramedic, emergency medical technician, rescue service personnel, emergency manager, firefighter, coroner, or employee of a coroner.

You also have to be working under the color of authority, meaning this does not apply to people who are not working in their official capacity when they share these photographs. In case a person wants to sell some celebrity death photos to TMZ, make sure you are aware if you work as a first responder, you could be looking at a criminal conviction, and likely be unable to work in the medical field again.

III. Penalties

Invasion of Privacy under PC 647.9 is a misdemeanor conviction. If you are convicted under this section, you could be sentenced to County Jail for up to 180 days. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in Custody. PC 647.9 is not a strike offense under the Three Strikes Law, and it is also not a charge requiring Sex Registration under PC 290. You would likely face a loss, suspension, or revocation of your professional license because it requires an offense done while working. You could also face immigration consequences if you are a non-US Citizen living in the United States if you have a prior record.

IV. Common Defenses

1. Statute of Limitations

2. Insufficient Evidence

3. Violation of Rights

If you were not acting under color of title of your job, for example, if you were not at work, then what photos of an accident you share are not a crime. However, if you were at work, and then shared the photos after your shift, then that still applies as a crime here. However, the photographs must have been taken while you were working, otherwise, you could not be found guilty of this crime. This would show that there is insufficient evidence to find you guilty.

Another defense available to you is if police, for example, arrest or detain you and perform an illegal search. Let’s say you do commit the above-titled crime, and police try to obtain the photos from you. They show up at your house, they have no warrant, and enter your home to secure the photos. If that happens, your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney can argue that the search was illegal, and the photos found cannot be used against you. This can be done in a PC 1538.5 Motion. This would not dismiss your case, but without the photographs, your case becomes much harder to prove. Speak with your Attorney if this happened to you, and the ways in which they can argue that the evidence should be suppressed.

V. Call Today

A criminal conviction can have devastating impacts on your life. A conviction here can be worse. It’s a crime that happens while working, which future employers would likely hold against you. It would affect your ability to continue working as a First Responder, and all the years of schooling and experience will mean nothing. Our PC 647.9 Ontario attorney has successfully defended thousands of people in the same position as you. You need an aggressive defense. The initial consultation is free and we are available to answer your questions 24/7. Call the Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126! Located in Ontario, CA.

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