As you might guess, animal cruelty is a very serious charge in Los Angeles and probably anywhere in California. There is a huge political stigma attached to these type of cases and prosecutors and judges treat them very harshly.
Of course, the prosecutors are going to first have to have the evidence to prove that you actually committed the crime of animal cruelty before you could be convicted and punished for it. If they do have the evidence though, you're going to need one of the top criminal defense attorneys in the field in order to come up with a successful result that takes into account your freedom, your reputation, your rights, and everything that you hold dear in your life.
Depending on the severity of the animal cruelty charges, the prosecutors can take these cases so serious, that I've been them attempt to send people to prison based on animal cruelty related charges in the Superior Courts in Los Angeles County.
If an animal is actually killed during an animal cruelty case, the prosecutors will seek severe punishment and will put a lot of pressure on the judges in order to get the conviction and prison time for the defendant.
Animal cruelty under California Penal Code Section 597 can manifest itself in a number of different ways. Ranging from actually inflicting some sort of force against an animal and causing an injury or even a death. It can also be caused by omission – not taking care of your animal, leaving the animal in the sun, neglecting the animal by not feeding it.
There's a number of different cases that I've seen filed over the course 25 years in defending animal cruelty cases that make it clear to me that the legislature, politicians and the public have put a lot of heavy pressure on the police and prosecutors to deal with these cases swiftly and harshly.
Defending An Animal Cruelty Case In Los Angeles County
When it comes to defending an animal cruelty case in Los Angeles County, each case spins on its own facts and whether somebody can be found guilty for an animal cruelty case in Los Angeles will depend on whether the prosecutors actually have the evidence.
Sometimes the evidence is by process of elimination or circumstantial evidence where you have an animal being neglected, and then either a neighbor calls the police, or some other force causes the police to become involved and they bring it to the prosecutor's attention and they're able to tell that this animal had not been taken care of.
Obviously, if you have an animal, it will be considered animal cruelty if you do not take care of your animal and make sure that they are properly fed, that they are properly cared for and that they are not neglected or abused. Defenses to these types of cases will spin on the facts of the case. S
ometimes there's some hidden force that causes some sort of injury to an animal where the defendant is not responsible for it. Of course, you will need your own criminal defense attorney to be able to get your version of events across to the police, prosecutors and judge, even a jury if necessary, so that you can be properly defended in an animal cruelty case.
What If The Prosecutors Have Evidence That I Did Commit Animal Cruelty?
There are mitigation packages that can be put together in animal cruelty cases that can help mitigate some of the potential punishments that the prosecutors can seek in these cases. If it is a first offense, and there's an argument that it's not completely the default of the defendant, then there are certain things that can be done to mitigate the circumstances – earn misdemeanors and keep yourself out of jail or prison.
What I like to do is put together a mitigation package wherein we get all the good character information about the client – whether they have a job, a family, friends who know what a good person they are. And we get that all together and we present that to the prosecutor and the judge.
There are other angles that can be used like restitution community service that can mitigate the circumstances, and hopefully put the person that's charged with animal cruelty in a situation where they can earn a misdemeanor and ultimately, earn a dismissal of the case so that their record can be protected for the future.
The best strategy that I see is having you sit down with somebody like me, going over all the facts and circumstances of your case, being honest, not leaving anything out, don't put your own spin on it, and then we can really sit down and figure out what the best course of action is.
For more information on Animal Cruelty Charges In LA County, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.