Do You Have a Duty to Report a Crime in California?
In California, you are required to report certain infractions if you have witnessed them. Here are some infractions that you may be liable for not reporting if you have witnessed them. These include:
- Child abuse, neglect, or abandonment
- Domestic violence
- Dangerousness (to other people)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Firearm offenses (possession, discharge, possession of ammunition by certain persons)
- Gang-related crimes or criminal street gang activity
Many people are unaware of their legal obligation when it comes to reporting criminal activity. Some don’t want to get involved for fear of becoming a victim themselves. The possibility of risk of harm to yourself or a third party always exists if you divulge information about a crime you suspect has already been committed, or know of before it happens.
If you are unaware of your legal obligation to report criminal activity, it is important to get in touch with an attorney at Werksmen Jackson & Quin LLP as soon as possible. You may be able to help someone in need, or at best, prevent future harm from being done.
Who’s Covered Under the California Mandatory Reporting Laws and What Crimes Are They Required To Report?
The California Mandatory Reporting Laws require certain groups of professionals to report suspected cases of child abuse, neglect, and other crimes. Specifically, section 11165.7 of the Penal Code requires teachers and other school personnel, doctors and nurses, social workers, child care providers, police officers, and firefighters to report suspected cases of child abuse.
When Failure To Report Can Be Considered Aiding and Abetting in California
Penal Code 31 is the California statute that addresses aiding and abetting. In order for this statute to apply, there must be a principal who commits a crime and an accessory who knows that the principal has committed or intends to commit a crime. The accessory also must help or encourage the principal in committing their crime. A common example of this is being a lookout or a getaway driver.
If someone deliberately shielded the primary perpetrator after the crime, for example, by hiding the perpetrator in their house, prosecutors may prosecute the person who protected the perpetrator as an accessory after the fact under Penal Code 32.
How You Can Report a Crime Anonymously
Tippers have access to privately run, anonymous toll-free hotlines and website portals where they can safely report a crime without disclosing their name.
You can also report a crime anonymously to the police. When you call the police, you will be asked for your name, address, and other information. You can refuse to give your name or any other identifying information. The police may ask for your name later if they need it to investigate the crime further. It must be noted, however, that your phone number may be trackable.
Have Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP on Your Side
If you’re not sure when you need to report a crime or other unlawful activity, it’s important to learn those situations. If you fail to report suspected criminal activity, you could face serious consequences. At Werksman Jackson & Quin LLP at (213) 688-0460. We provide legal representation if you’ve been accused of failing to report a crime. Contact us today for more information about our services and how we can help with your legal matters.