California Laws You May Not Know You Are Breaking

Surfing on someone’s Wi-Fi for free could land you in a pot of legal hot water. Credit: Thinkstock

By Arash Hashemi

California has a number of unique laws, many of which you may not even know you’re violating. For instance, “Rubbernecking,” or impeding the actions of emergency vehicles, is something that many drivers are guilty of. Under California Penal Code 402(a) 3, if you stop or even slowdown at the scene of an accident, you can be charged with a misdemeanor for impeding emergency workers from accessing the accident.

Another strange crime you may have unknowingly committed is the act of giving spray paint to a minor. California Penal Code 594.1(a)(1)4 states that giving a minor 6 ounces of spray paint or more is illegal. This law was designed to discourage youth vandalism as well as the possibility of inhalant abuse. If charged as a first offense, a person could face jail time, large fines, and/or community service.


Ever used someone’s Wi-Fi for free without his or her consent? You’ve committed a crime. In California, it is illegal to pirate someone else’s Wi-Fi. For instance, under California Penal Code Section 487, stealing a coffee shop’s Wi-Fi without purchasing anything could result in larceny charges resulting in up to $5,000 in fines and/or up to one year in jail.

Under California law, if you disclose a text message that was not intended for you, then a crime has been committed. California Penal Code Section 637.2(a)5 punishes an invasion of privacy, such as reading someone else’s text message, by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

For more information on the crimes above, you can contact Arash Hashemi, 24 hours a day at 310.448.1529 or via The law offices of Arash Hashemi are conveniently located in the Westside Towers, minutes from Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and steps away from the Expo/Bundy station. They have flexible hours and weekend appointments, and will do jail visits to discuss cases.


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