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PC 469 Unauthorized Duplication of Key to State Building: Law, Sentence & Defense

In California, it is illegal to knowingly duplicate a key to a California state operated building without authorization from the representative in charge of the California state building, or the representative in charge of the portion of the California state building related to the duplicated key (PC 469 Abbrev.).

Per California penal code section 469, It is also illegal to knowingly possess, or attempt to make, a duplicated key to a California state owned or operated building.

PC 469 Law

According to PC 469: Any person who knowingly makes, duplicates, causes to be duplicated, or uses, or attempts to make, duplicate, cause to be duplicated, or use, or has in his possession any key to a building or other area owned, operated, or controlled by the State of California, any state agency, board, or commission, a county, city, or any public school or community college district without authorization from the person in charge of such building or area or his designated representative and with knowledge of the lack of such authorization is guilty of… unauthorized duplication of key to a California state building (PC 469 Abbrev.).

Example: David, an entry-level California DMV employee, gives his friend Goliath, a key to DMV office. David gives the key to Goliath so that Goliath may make a duplicate of the DMV at a local key copier. Result: David, without authorization to duplicate the DMV key, may be charged with PC 469, because the DMV is a California state operated building and his instruction to Goliath to duplicate the DMV key is a crime. Also, if Goliath knew that David’s key was to David’s DMV office, then Goliath may also be charged with PC 469.

Note: An attempt to duplicate a California state operated building key is usually charged as PC 664/469. An attempt to duplicate key is exactly as it sounds…an earnest attempt to duplicate a key, but failure to duplicate the key for some reason. For more information, see Attempt Crimes (PC 664).

PC 469 Punishment

PC 469 Jail Sentence: Unauthorized duplication of a California state operated building is classified as a misdemeanor (PC469-M). If found guilty of penal code 469, the defendant could receive up to a one-year jail sentence in a local county jail (not state prison). This jail sentence may be reduced by up to fifty percent (50%) for good behavior while in jail. For more information, see Misdemeanor v. Felony & Jail v. Prison.

Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is a period of supervision, as opposed to a jail sentence. A probation sentence is allowed in PC 469 cases after a conviction, but a probation sentence is not guaranteed.

Note: Whether a defendant is granted a probation sentence after a PC 469 case depends on many factors, including the terms of any negotiated plea bargain, the defendant’s criminal history, the harm caused to any victim or property by the defendant’s actions, the level of sophistication involved in the case, and more.

Also, a probation sentence after a conviction for PC 469 will include “terms of probation,” which must be obeyed by the defendant (Probationer) for the defendant to remain out of jail. The “terms of probation” generally include pay fines, stay out of trouble (no new misdemeanor or felony crimes during probation), stay-away orders (from the California operated building related to the duplicated key), and more. Failure to follow probation terms can lead to a criminal charge of violation of probation and jail.

Note: A probation sentence for penal code 469 conviction is called “Court probation,” summary probation,” or “informal probation.” These terms are synonymous and indicate that the defendant is monitored by the court, as opposed to a felony probation officer. For more information see Misdemeanor Probation v. Felony Probation.

Additional Punishment: In addition to a possible jail or probation sentence after a conviction for PC 469, if found guilty, the defendant could face additional direct and indirect consequences, including civil lawsuits, immigration consequences, military service consequences, professional licensing consequences, criminal protective orders, restitution to victims, and more.

PC 469 Defenses

There is no single defense that works best for every PC 469 allegation. This is because every allegation of unauthorized duplication of a California state operated building key is different. With that said, common defenses to penal code 469 cases include coerced confession, illegal search and seizure, lack of sufficient evidence to prove the defendant knew, or reasonably knew, the duplicated key was to a California operated building, duress, Miranda violation, statute of limitations (one year from the date of possession or duplication of key), and more.

Judicial Diversion: A judicial diversion is not a true defense in the sense that the PC 469 allegation is dismissed (or not filed in the first place). Rather, judicial diversion is a legal process that circumvents the prosecution’s case. With judicial diversion, the defendant fulfills probation-like conditions, which results in a dismissal of the PC 469 allegations if the defendant successfully fulfills the conditions. Unlike a probation case, if the defendant fulfills the conditions of judicial diversion, there is no criminal conviction. PC 469 qualifies for judicial diversion, but judicial diversion is not guaranteed in PC 469 cases. For more information, see PC 1001.95.

For more information on the crime of unauthorized duplication of key to a California operated building (illegal key duplication), or PC 469, contact our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Our criminal defense attorneys have successfully handled hundreds of felony and misdemeanor criminal allegations in the Inland Empire, including the cites and courts of Victorville, Redlands, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Chino, Yucaipa, Riverside, San Bernardino, Apple Valley, and more. Call today!


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PC 469: Unauthorized Duplication of Key to CA State Building


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