Everyone knows it’s dangerous to throw rocks at a car, so it makes sense that doing so is illegal. You might not realize that throwing even seemingly innocent items like empty water bottles is also a crime. While it may seem extreme to penalize throwing a sandwich at a car the same way you would a baseball, the law is there to protect drivers. Here’s what a San Diego juvenile crimes lawyer believes you should know about this offense.
Throwing Objects at Cars
Under California law, it is illegal to throw any substance at a vehicle that is on a public road. It doesn’t matter if the car is parked or what the object may be. The purpose of this law is twofold: it both stops property destruction from items like rocks being thrown at either parked or moving vehicles, and it protects drivers from having their views blocked by thrown objects, whether that means a piece of lunch meat or a beer bottle.
This misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to six months jail time, however if your San Diego juvenile attorney can show that you were not throwing the item at the car, you may be able to avoid conviction all together. For example, if you were throwing a baseball with your friends on your front lawn and you accidentally threw it too hard and hit a car, you could be liable for the damages to the car, but not criminally liable for throwing the ball. Similarly, if you were holding a plastic bottle in your hand outside the window of your vehicle while drinking some soda and failed to hold on tightly enough when you went on the freeway, you can’t be charged with this crime simply because the bottle flew out of your hands and hit the car behind you -although you could be cited for littering.
While throwing a brick or paper cup at a car might be the same legally in most cases, it is not the case if the prosecution can prove that you willfully and maliciously threw something capable of causing great bodily harm at a motored vehicle with the intent to actually seriously hurt the person inside. This much more serious crime is a felony and can be punished by up to three years in prison. Fortunately, it can be very hard to prove that someone acted “willfully and maliciously with the intent to cause great bodily harm,” so a top San Diego juvenile defense lawyer may be able to have these charges negotiated down to the lesser charge of simply throwing an object at a vehicle in many cases.
When someone is killed as a result of your actions though, it is worth knowing that you could actually be charged with murder. In fact, many young people across the nation have been accused of murder in exactly this scenario. Generally this happens when someone decides to throw rocks from an overpass onto a freeway where it is recognized that the accelerated speed of the vehicles makes the rocks far more likely to enter the windshield and harm the occupants. In these cases, it is critical you do not say anything to the police before first speaking to your lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime after throwing a rock at a vehicle, San Diego juvenile crimes attorney Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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