What Penalties Could Chang Face In Community?

The new season of Fall TV shows is finally coming up and while everyone has their favorite programs, the show that fans seem most excited to see is Community -especially since showrunner Dan Harmon will no longer be working on the program, which means it could become an entirely new show all together.

One of the many questions left unanswered at the end of season three is “what will happen to Chang after he kidnapped the dean and nearly burned down the school?” In the last episode, he was seen hiding in the school’s ventilation system, but at some point, he will, presumably, be found, caught and brought to justice.

While only people actually involved in the show will know Chang’s fate in the series, we can speculate what kind of trouble he would be in if this bizarre turn of events happened in reality.

Although Greendale is supposedly located in Colorado (which you’d never guess based on their always sunny, very SoCal weather), the laws for crimes like arson and false imprisonment are pretty similar from state to state, so the evaluation of a San Diego criminal lawyer will still be fairly accurate even in the imaginary town of Greendale, CO.

Because the “Greendale Seven” was able to stop Chang before he managed to burn down the records room (and the whole school in the process), he could only be charged with attempted arson. However, even attempted arson can carry result in a sentence of between sixteen months and three years in prison.

While the most common defense to arson involves claiming the act was an accident, the prosecution would have more than ample evidence to prove that Chang fully intended to light the record room on fire, given that it was filled with fireworks that were set to explode when he approached the end of his epic keytar solo. While he might not have intended to burn down the whole building (due to his odd belief that fire cannot pass through doors), proof that Chang tried to burn down the records room would still be enough to get him convicted for attempted arson.

Of course, that wasn’t his only major crime. Chang, or el Tigre, also captured and imprisoned the Dean after Pelton tried to reel in his seemingly unlimited power he gained after the Starburns memorial riot. While most people would consider this kidnapping, California’s kidnapping statutes require the victim to be transported a substantial distance before the charge may be applied. While the actual distance a victim must be taken before they have become officially kidnapped is debatable, the fact that Pelton never left the school grounds means that he was technically falsely imprisoned and not kidnapped.

In most cases, false imprisonment charges are only misdemeanors, but because the abduction involved force (even if the force was that of a few pre-teen boys), the case would instead become a felony. If Chang was convicted of this crime, he could face up to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines. When it comes to false imprisonment though, the jury may decide the crime is only a misdemeanor and skilled a San Diego criminal attorney could be critical in convincing them of this. As a misdemeanor, false imprisonment is punishable by up to one year in county jail.

There are other crimes Chang could be charged with as well, most notably, fraud. And while a great lawyer like Vista criminal defense attorney Peter M. Liss could help him fight the charges if he chose to plead innocent, chances are that he would be found guilty on at least a few counts.

Because he tried to hide the evidence of his crimes, Chang would have a hard time pleading insanity, which requires the defendant be incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. Still, instead of pleading innocent or trying the insanity defense, Chang’s best defense would most likely be a plea bargain based on his mental health problems related to his delusional thinking.

If you ever find yourself, by some odd twist of circumstances, facing similar charges to those Chang is up against, immediately call a criminal lawyer. San Diego residents may find their best defense option to be Vista criminal defense lawyer Peter M. Liss. If you have any questions or need some help “Changing” your situation, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Creative Commons Image by Gage Skidmore