PC 365.6 Interfere with Service Dog, Guide Dog, or Signal Dog. CA Criminal Defense
Intentional interference with the use of a service dog, guide dog, or signal dog, is against the law in California (PC 365.6(a)).
PC 365.6 Law: Per California law, ‘any person who, with no legal justification, intentionally interferes with the use of a guide dog, signal dog, or service dog… by harassing or obstructing, the guide dog, signal dog, or service dog… or the dog’s user, is guilty of a misdemeanor (PC 365.6(a) Abbrev.).
Service Dog Defined: A “Guide, signal, or service dog” means any dog trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items (PC 365.6(b)(2)).
Related Crime: Intentional injury or death to a service dog, guide dog, or signal dog, is a misdemeanor crime in California (PC 600.5(a)).
PC 365.6 Penalties
Jail: Interference with a service dog, guide dog, or signal dog is classified as a misdemeanor in California. If found guilty of penal code 365.6, the defendant may be jailed for up to six months in a local county jail. For more information, see Jail v. Prison.
Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is a period of mandatory supervision instead of jail. A probation sentence is allowed in misdemeanor cases of PC 365.6, but a probation sentence is not guaranteed. Whether the defendant is allowed to serve a no-jail probation sentence after a conviction for interfering with a service dog depends on many factors, including the defendant’s criminal history, the level of intentional interference with the dog’s intended use, and more. For more information, see Misdemeanor Probation.
Fine: A PC 365.6 conviction can carry a court fine from $1,500 to $2,500 per conviction (PC 365.5(a)). This fine is in addition to any restitution that may be ordered against the defendant for lost services of the dog, injury to the dog, or even injury to the dog’s owner.
Additional Penalties: PC 365.6 convictions can lead to direct and indirect punishment beyond jail or probation sentencing, including any of the following: immigration consequences, professional licensing consequences, restitution, criminal protective orders (CPO), military service consequences, civil lawsuits, and more.
PC 365.5 Defense
Common defenses to PC 365.6 charges include unintentional interference with the use of the service dog’s purpose, mistake of fact as to the service dog’s identity as such, statute of limitations (prosecution must commence no more than one year from the date of the alleged offense), insanity, and more.
Example: A non-disabled person’s dog that is trying to fight with a “Seeing Eye Dog,” may be charged with PC 365.5 if the dog’s owner is intentionally causing the two dogs to fight. But if the non-disabled person is not trying to make the two dogs fight, then the non-disabled person is not liable for PC 365.6.
Example II: A bar owner who does not allow a service dog to enter a restaurant may be charged with PC 365.5 for intentional interference with a service dog. But if the disabled person’s service dog is not properly labeled as such (clearly marked dog vest with the words “Service Dog,” “Guide Dog,” “Signal Dog,” Etc.), then the defendant should not be charged with PC 365.6.
For more information on the California crime of Interfere with Service Dog, or PC 365.6, contact our team of award-winning criminal defense attorneys today. Our defense attorneys have successfully helped hundreds of defendants charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes in the Inland Empire, including the cities of Moreno Valley, San Bernardino, Riverside, Victorville, Ontario, Redlands, Fontana, Chino, Rialto, and more. Call today!