If you have been accused of training or entering your dog in a dog fight or of attending a dogfight, you can face serious criminal charges. Fortunately, a skilled Vista criminal defense lawyer like Peter M. Liss can help you fight these accusations and any related animal abuse or illegal gambling charges you may face.
While dog fighting falls under the broad category of animal cruelty, it is also a specifically prohibited crime in California and those who train and enter their dogs in these fights can be charged, along with those who attend the events. As a spectator of a dog fight, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and face one year in the county jail and a fine of up to $5, 000. On the other hand, if you are accused of owning, training or entering a dog that participates in a dog fight, you can face a felony charge, punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. Additionally, property used and money made though dogfighting is subject to forfeiture. If you allow your property to be used for dogfighting you can lose the property and be charged with aiding and abetting dogfighting, a felony.
Aside from these offenses, you may also be charged with related crimes such as gambling or animal abuse. Because all these offenses carry such serious sentences, it is critical anyone arrested for dogfight-related charges immediately contact a top Vista defense attorney.
There are many defenses for these sorts of crimes, but many of them come down to showing the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove you are guilty. For example, in order to be convicted of attending a dogfight, the prosecution must show you knowingly attended the event. That means you had to have gone to the event knowing it was a dog fighting match. If you happened upon a dogfight in the basement of a bar or an acquaintance’s backyard and were arrested, your Vista criminal defense attorneys can show that you had no intention of visiting such an event. This defense cannot be used if you stumbled upon the fight, realized what was happening and then chose to stay and watch.
Similarly, while you can be charged with owning or training a dog used in a dogfight, you cannot be convicted if the dog was entered into such an event without your permission or knowledge. For example, if you raised your dog to be an aggressive guard dog for your property, but someone took him without your permission and started using him in dog fights, you could not be convicted for owning him or training him to be aggressive.
Sometimes these techniques are not enough to defend someone against such serious allegations. In some cases, your Vista defense lawyers might need to fight to have evidence suppressed after police illegally searched an area without a valid warrant. Similarly, you could be better off negotiating a plea bargain in order to minimize the charges and sentencing you will face.
There are many different defenses to dog fighting charges and Vista attorney Peter M. Liss can help you find the best way to fight these accusations. If you have any questions, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by kantegh