January 15, 2010

California Penal Code Section 653(m)(a) provides that every person who, with intent to annoy, telephones or makes contact by means of an electronic communication device with another and addresses to or about the other person any obscene language or any threat to inflict injury to that person or that person’s property, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Section 653(m)(g) defines an electronic communication device as including, but not limited to, telephones, cellular phones, computers, video recorders, fax machines, pagers, personal digital assistants, smartphones, and any other device that transfers signs, signals, writing, sounds, or data.

The practical implication of this penal code section is that a lot of people could be charged with misdemeanors for communicating obscenities to another person. In the world of Facebook and Twitter, where short to-the-point messages are common, it is easy to see where one could slip-up.

A recent California Court of Appeals decision held that the words in the text should not be taken out of context, but that the standard “four letter words” that are all to common in today’s society could be construed as obscene in the sense of this law.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a violation of Section 653(m), it is important that you call an experienced attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our Riverside criminal defense attorneys have over 30 years of experience handling criminal matters and have the skill and expertise to provide you the best defense possible. Though it may not seem like a big deal to text or tweet your feelings about someone or something, but the reality is that it could end up in a misdemeanor charge against you. Let the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich help you through this difficult time. Our attorneys can be reached by phone at 1-888-749-0034.


Author: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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