Los Angeles Animal Cruelty Lawyers
Animal cruelty is a crime that carries grave consequences in California. With such high stakes, it is vital for anyone accused of animal cruelty to understand the legal framework for such an offense when facing such allegations.
If you are facing animal cruelty accusations in Los Angeles, you can count on the attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP to protect your rights and fight tirelessly in your defense. Head attorney Mark Werksman was rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating for ethical standards and legal ability. Partner Alan Jackson is a former U.S. Air Force airman who has tenaciously tried more than 85 cases to jury verdict with a career success rate of 96 percent.
Call us at (213) 688-0460 to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our accredited Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys.
California Penal Code Section 597 is the foundational law governing animal cruelty cases. The law is designed to protect animals from intentional and malicious harm and covers a broad range of cruel conduct. Animal cruelty charges may involve either misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the severity of the acts in question.
Misdemeanor animal cruelty covers acts of animal abuse or neglect, including failure to provide adequate food or shelter to an animal, or causing relatively minor injuries to an animal. Felony animal cruelty involves more severe and heinous acts of animal abuse or neglect, such as intentionally causing severe injury or death to an animal, torturing animals, or conducting large-scale cruelty operations.
To successfully convict someone charged with animal cruelty, the prosecution must establish:
- Criminal intent: The defendant must have acted with conscious disregard for the safety and well-being of the animal or acted with malicious intent to kill or maim the animal.
- Unjustifiable pain and suffering: The defendant must have caused the animal unjustified pain, suffering or harm to the animal, including psychological distress or depriving the animal of necessary food, water, or shelter.
Animal cruelty can be classified into the categories of active cruelty and neglect or abuse. In cases involving active cruelty, an individual deliberately inflicts physical harm, injury, or death to an animal. This includes beating or torturing animals. Active animal cruelty carries severe criminal penalties, including possible incarceration.
Cases involving neglect and abuse include failing to provide an animal with proper care, shelter, or nutrition, resulting in unjustifiable suffering. Signs of neglect or abuse include:
- Physical injuries
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Lack of veterinary care
- Tethering or chaining for prolonged periods
In misdemeanor animal cruelty cases, defendants may be subject to fines, probation, and mandatory counseling. Additionally, courts may issue an order prohibiting a defendant from owning animals and may need to surrender any animals to the authorities. A record of misdemeanor animal cruelty may also carry collateral consequences affecting an individual’s reputation.
In cases involving felony animal cruelty, defendants potentially face heightened penalties for severe acts of cruelty, including substantial fines and incarceration. Naturally, a record of felony animal cruelty has significant collateral consequences, including limitations on future employment and housing.
A skilled criminal defense attorney has the skill to craft an effective defense strategy against charges of animal cruelty. Such strategies include evaluating and challenging the prosecution’s evidence for weaknesses and presenting contradictory evidence in the form of expert testimony.
Another strategy involves demonstrating a lack of intent or knowledge through means such as asserting that the defendant’s alleged actions were accidental or unintentional, demonstrating that the defendant was justifiably unaware of the animal’s suffering, and proactively demonstrating that the defendant is a responsible pet owner or animal caregiver.
In general, an effective Los Angeles violent crime defense lawyer will also raise possible constitutional violations concerning the evidence-gathering process of law enforcement or other government agents to ensure due process and fair treatment during legal proceedings. This includes challenging illegal searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment and corresponding state constitutional provisions.
Facing animal cruelty charges in California often requires an understanding of the legal landscape and the potential consequences involved. Therefore, it is vital to secure legal representation in order to protect your rights. An experienced Los Angeles animal cruelty defense attorney can identify and address the pertinent legal issues of the case.
If you think you may be exposed to possible criminal charges for animal cruelty, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. The experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP will thoroughly evaluate the situation at hand, investigate facts, gather evidence, and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances.
Reach out to us at (213) 688-0460 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.