The California Penal Code: Your Complete Guide



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What Is the California Penal Code?


The California Penal Code is a set of regulations created by the state of California that defines crimes and their punishments. Composed of four sections, it defines intent and conspiracy, felonies and misdemeanors, and sentencing guidelines for those convicted of criminal offenses in California. 

criminal lawyer in Oakland can provide detailed information and suitable resources to help individuals seeking information regarding the CA penal code. If you need to schedule a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Office of Rebecca Feigelson.

Common Criminal Offenses


The penal code contains an extensive list of criminal offenses. Below are some of the most common penal code sections.

California Penal Code 148G

Penal Code 148G prohibits the use of any recording device to record a person without their knowledge and consent.

California Penal Code 187

California Penal Code 187 defines the crime of murder. Depending on the circumstances, this crime can result in either life without parole in the state prison or death.

California Penal Code 211

The California Penal Code 211 is a law that defines the crime of “assault with intent to commit mayhem or rape.” The defendant can be found guilty of this crime if they do something that is likely to produce this result.

Penal Code California 242

Penal Code California 242 prohibits the use of physical force against another person. It states that it is unlawful to use force or violence on someone else to prevent them from committing a lawful act.

California Penal Code 245

California Penal Code 245 describes the crime of battery as well as when and where it occurs. As a result of the use of guns or other dangerous items, the accused may also be charged with weapon offenses.

California Penal Code 273.5 A

Section 273.5 of the California Penal Code describes felony charges of domestic violence. Domestic violence can also be referred to as domestic battery, domestic abuse, spousal abuse, or spousal battery. Upon conviction, a minimum of one year in prison and a maximum fine of $6000 are imposed. 

California Penal Code 288

California Penal Code 288 prohibits knowingly employing, using, persuading, or coercing any minor under 18 to engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct.

California Penal Code 422

California Penal Code 422 criminalizes the willful use of threats against another person as a form of intimidation or harassment. An accused can be charged with this crime if they willfully threaten to commit violence against someone else, and the threat is such that a reasonable person would fear for their safety.

Violation of this law carries a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment in county jail for up to one year.

California Penal Code 459

The California Penal Code 459 is a law that prohibits the use of force or violence on another person. It also prohibits the use of force or violence to take, damage, or destroy property.

Violating this law could result in a fine, imprisonment, or both.

California Penal Code 484

The California Penal Code 484 is a code that defines the crime of grand theft. If the value of the property exceeds $950, the crime will be considered a felony.

California Penal Code 487

Receiving stolen property is prohibited by California Penal Code 487. This complex charge often requires a skilled attorney’s assistance to successfully defend against the charges.

California Penal Code 602

Code 602 defines and regulates the crime of “disturbing the peace.” It is generally a misdemeanor.

California Penal Code 632

The California Penal Code 632 is a law that was originally enacted in the mid-1900s to protect the public health and privacy of victims of crime. The law prohibits public disclosure of their names, addresses, and other personal information.

The California Penal Code 632 has been updated several times over the past few decades to reflect changing technologies and social norms.

Criminal Procedure in California

The criminal procedure begins when a person is arrested for a crime. The case does not end until it is resolved, either by conviction or by dropping or dismissing charges.

Following are the steps of California’s criminal procedures as laid out in the California Penal Code:

  1. The initial report & investigation of the offense
  2. The complaint is filed
  3. Charges are filed
  4. The arrest of the accused
  5. The arraignment
  6. Early disposition
  7. The preliminary hearing
  8. The trial and sentencing

Before appearing in court for a criminal offense, consulting with a skilled criminal lawyer might be wise. They can offer information regarding your case and options for planning your defense.

An attorney experienced in criminal law can guide you through criminal investigations, review police reports, explain legal terms and statutes, as well as help with your various legal needs.

Our firm is here to help you every step of the way if you are facing criminal charges or an investigation in California. With Rebecca Feigelson as your criminal defense lawyer, you are in good hands, and she won’t back down. She will be your steadfast advocate, defending you at every turn.

Find out About California’s Criminal Codes by Contacting the Law Office of Rebecca Feigelson

California criminal defense attorneys are essential if you are facing criminal charges. The Law Office of Rebecca Feigelson can help you understand the nature of the charges against you, the possible consequences if convicted, and the potential legal defenses you may be able to mount to defend yourself.

A criminal defense attorney can also discuss the possibility of getting a lighter sentence in exchange for cooperating with the prosecutor to avoid going to trial on a felony charge. It is essential to schedule a free consultation with us right away so we can determine what defense strategy will be most effective in your case. Our team of attorneys is ready to help you build a strong defense immediately. Please get in touch with us right away!