California Penal Code Section 402(b) PC: Interfering with a Lifeguard During an Emergency

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimelifeguard

California is renowned for its hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches that attract visitors from all over the world. However, oceans and beaches can be dangerous places, and lifeguards must be able to respond freely to any emergency that may arise. To make sure that lifeguards are not hindered in their job, the California legislature enacted California Penal Code Section 402(b) PC, which makes it illegal to interfere with a lifeguard during an emergency.

To prove that a defendant is guilty of interfering with a lifeguard during an emergency, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant stopped for the purpose of viewing the scene or the activities of a lifeguard.
  2. The defendant knew or should have known that the lifeguard was engaged in the performance of his or her duties.
  3. AND the defendant interfered with or resisted the lawful efforts of a lifeguard engaged in the performance of his or her duties.

Under the statute, an emergency includes a condition or situation involving injury to persons, damage to property, or peril to the safety of persons or property. This can result from a fire, explosion, airplane crash, flood, windstorm, railroad accident, traffic accident, power plant accident, toxic chemical spill or any other natural or human-caused event.

2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Refusal to Disperse - California Penal Code Section 409 PC and California Penal Code Section 416 PC
  2. Sightseeing at the Scene of an Emergency – California Penal Code Section 402(a) PC
3. Examples

A man is at the beach when he notices someone drowning. The lifeguard stationed at the beach is in the middle of responding to the drowning victim when the man stops the lifeguard and demands to know information about his training and how he plans on rescuing the drowning victim. The lifeguard is effectively impeded by this man and is delayed in rendering aid to the victim, who is eventually saved. The man could be charged with interfering with a lifeguard during an emergency in violation of California Penal Code Section 402(b) PC.

In another example, a man is at the beach when he notices a commotion. A man in the ocean is drowning and the lifeguard at the beach is performing an impressive rescue attempt. The man stays on the beach and records the event with his video camera. He does not impede or otherwise interfere with the lifeguard’s ability to perform his duties. This man is not guilty of interfering with a lifeguard during an emergency.

4. Defenses to Interfering with a Lifeguard during an Emergency

If the defendant did not know or did not have reason to know that the lifeguard was engaged in the performance of his or her duties, there would be no criminal liability under the statute. Also, as described above, it is legal to watch and stay at the scene of the emergency, as long as there is no interference with the lifeguard or anyone else offering emergency services.

5. Penalties

Interfering with a lifeguard during an emergency is a misdemeanor offense. Those convicted of this crime can be sentenced to serve up to six months in jail and would be ordered to pay costly court fines. Several additional conditions of probation, such as community service or community labor, may also be imposed by the sentencing judge.

6. Criminal Defense for Interfering with a Lifeguard during an Emergency

If you have been cited for interfering with a lifeguard during an emergency, it is important that you discuss your case with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a skilled litigator who knows how to best defend those charged with offenses like this. Mr. Kraut understands that this crime may have been charged as the result of a misunderstanding and also recognizes that having a misdemeanor conviction can have significant consequences on a person’s life and future employment opportunities. Mr. Kraut works hard to make sure his clients receive the best defense possible.

For more information about interfering with a lifeguard during an emergency, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

Share |
Client Reviews
★★★★★
Michael Kraut is outstanding! He genuinely cared about my case and instructed my mom and I throughout the entire process. He was very clear on what he needed in order to receive the best results. He kept us updated until the end. I thank him so much for getting my charges rejected. I highly recommend him to anyone with legal needs! Shaquan Thomas
★★★★★
I contacted Michael with concern for my personal and business reputation. He was very reassuring and confident the entire time. After about 3 weeks it was determined that no charges were being filed by any agency and I was in the clear of any investigation. One thing that is amazing is just how FAST Michael is at replying to phone calls, texts, and even emails! We are talking under 30 minutes in most cases. That is unheard of for most attorneys! Michael is incredible and not your typical run of the mill attorney. For best results hire him if you feel like you might be under investigation or could face charges. Even if you know you are innocent it is best to take care of the smoke before it becomes a fire. Brad
★★★★★
Michael Kraut is-hands down-the best criminal defense attorney and I can't begin to thank him for all that he did for me and my family. I reached out to him in the middle of the night and less than a couple hours later, he had gotten back to me and scheduled a meeting. He's a no-nonsense attorney who knows how to get the job done! From the second we retained him, I had peace of mind in knowing that we were in the best hands possible. If Michael Kraut couldn't get it done, I knew that it couldn't be done at all. You can't put a price tag on your freedom. He was worth every single penny. Lida
★★★★★
Michael Kraut is an outstanding attorney. He was extremely professional, and straightforward, yet sensitive with my case. I am confident I made the right choice by hiring Michael. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking a truly experienced lawyer. Daniel Lepervanche
★★★★★
Michael Kraut - I cannot thank you enough for all that you did for ​my son. When I came to you I read that you used to be a district attorney but I never knew how much that meant until I watch you in court. I knew it took 3 months but the final day when I heard the judge say that all charges were dismissed it was all worth it! I will always be grateful for all that you did for us. A.N.