Many people have fallen victim to the dangerous pranks pulled by rebellious teenagers. Some do it for fun, while others do it primarily to annoy people. These childish schemes can come in many different forms, whether it be jumping out of a bush to scare passersby or playing inappropriate sounds in public transport. If you're one of the unfortunate individuals, you might have already experienced having an object hurdled at towards your car. If anything, this is the situation that all drivers dread the most.
Throwing objects at a moving vehicle poses a great threat to the safety of everyone nearby. For instance, the driver might get shocked and accidentally slam or push things that he isn't supposed to. As a result, he might swerve harshly to the side of the road where pedestrians are. This could happen regardless of whatever object was thrown into the car. Given its danger, it is quite understandable why California enacted Vehicle Code VC 23110, which makes it unlawful for anyone to throw any object at a vehicle. If the item in question was inherently destructive and was thrown with the intent to cause injuries, the penalties will be more serious. But if the item is not inherently dangerous -- say, a water bottle or a stuffed toy -- and was launched at a vehicle, the action is still prosecutable even if there was no ill intent.
To be more precise, an act can only be punished under this law if:
- An object was thrown to the car or the occupant of the car;
- The act happened while the vehicle was on a public road, regardless of whether the car was moving or not
- The substance or object is capable of doing serious bodily harm to the vehicle or the occupants of the vehicle.
Furthermore, an act that involves willful or malicious intent is punished under California Vehicle Code VC 23110(b). On the other hand, if the act does not involve willful or malicious intent, it is punished under California Vehicle Code 23110(a).
We have provided some examples below wherein this law was violated:
- A young man is driving casually along the highway when an older and arrogant man overtakes his lane. The younger one keeps his composure but the older man is obviously trying to get into his nerves. Eventually, they both pull over at a stoplight where the younger man throws his drink to the older man.
- A group of teenagers has been camping on a small public road which allegedly a leader of an opposing gang takes on his way home from work. Upon seeing his car approaching them, they all start bombarding his car with sharp rocks and other dangerous objects.
- After a long day at school, a young boy finally arrives home by riding a schoolbus. The boy's parents were waiting for him outside. As he was so excited to hug his parents, the boy dashed in front of the vehicle when it was already moving. The child almost got hit but the bus driver did not notice what happened. Out of anger, the young boy's father threw an umbrella to the windshield of the bus.
Penalties for Throwing an Object Towards a Car
Most people do not realize how severe and heavy the penalties under VC 23110 are. If you're one of them, then now you know that a violation of this law will either result in a misdemeanor or a felony conviction. It's that serious.
For a misdemeanor, the punishments are:
- Misdemeanor probation;
- A maximum county jail sentence of 6 months; and/or
- A maximum fine of $1,000
For a felony, the punishments are:
- Felony probation;
- A sentence of either 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison; and/or
- A maximum fine of $10,000
Ask Help From Criminal Defense Lawyers
The penalties of California Vehicle Code VC 23110 are already heavy in and of itself, but a charge under this law typically involves one or more violations. For instance, if you happen to damage the vehicle after throwing an object at it, you may also be charged with vandalism. Also, if you injure an occupant of the car after throwing a potentially dangerous substance or object at them, you may be charged with an additional assault with a deadly weapon case. With these in mind, it is very imperative that you immediately ask for help from experienced and well-versed criminal defense attorneys here in California.
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