Paparazzi Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles
Taking a celebrity's photo could land you in jail!
You enjoy your career as a journalist, photographer, or reporter, and you'll
do almost anything to get the scoop. You follow ethical rules of your
profession and know when to draw the line. But there are those who do
not. They are the Paparazzi.
Paparazzi – "Celebrity hunters," usually not professional press nor legitimate
photographers, who use aggressive and intrusive tactics to videotape,
photograph, record, or otherwise invade the privacy of the rich and famous
and their families for purposes of financial gain from the sale of their
illegally-obtained paparazzi photos and paparazzi video images.
Be careful how you acquire your story or photos, or you could be convicted
of a felony or misdemeanor and end up in jail! More than ever celebrities
are fighting back against invasion of privacy, charging overly-aggressive
paparazzi with criminal trespassing, assault, false imprisonment, stalking,
California Civil Law
The nation's first civil anti-paparazzi law went into effect in California
on January 1, 1999. This protects celebrities against physical invasion
of privacy where a trespass occurs, and constructive invasion of privacy,
where no trespass occurs but an audio- or video-enhancing device is used
to violate a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, this law apparently
wasn't enough to thwart paparazzi activities so on September 30, 2005,
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law an anti-paparazzi
bill to punish Paparazzi for assaults and altercations caused by their
attempts to photograph celebrities. The new law expands the Anti-Paparazzi
Act, Section 1708.8 of the Civil Code, tripling the damages that may be
awarded to a celebrity, and denies photographers the right to profit from
images illegally taken during intrusions.
California Criminal Law
Paparazzi beware! A civil lawsuit is bad enough, but now celebrities are
bringing criminal charges against those who invade their privacy. In California
paparazzi photographers have a First Amendment right to photograph celebrities
and other public figures in public places. However, if these paparazzi
photographers use aggressive tactics to capture those pictures and break
the law, the paparazzi photographer could be facing criminal charges for:
Assault - An unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent
injury on the person of another (California Penal Code 240).
Assault is charged as a misdemeanor.
Assault With a Deadly Weapon (California Penal Code 245(a)(1)) -
Assault on another person with a deadly weapon or with force likely to
cause great bodily harm (weapon must not be a firearm, but can be blunt
instruments like clubs, baseball bats, rocks, cars, or even a camera). An
Assault with a Deadly Weapon or ADW can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Recent high
profile cases of Assault with a Deadly Weapon occurred when paparazzi
used their vehicles to put the safety of the pursued subject in jeopardy.
Battery - Any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of
another (California Penal Code 242). (Battery is both a tort and a crime. A defendant sued for a tort is civilly liable
to the plaintiff for damages; punishment for battery includes jail and a fine).
Conspiracy - An agreement or intent between two or more persons to engage jointly
in a criminal act. (Double trouble! A person may be charged with the agreement
and intent, and then charged separately for committing the illegal act.)
Conspiracy occurs when two paparazzi photographers plan a trespass to get a celebrity
photo at the celebrity's home. The actual paparazzi taking the photo
may be caught and convicted of the trespass and the person who assisted
the paparazzi with the photograph could also be charged and convicted
False Imprisonment - Unlawful violation of the freedom of movement of another.
False Imprisonment is also referred to as False Arrest and can be charged as either a misdemeanor
or felony (Penal Code Section 236).
Stalking - Criminal activity comprising credible threats, repeated following and
harassing of another person, with intent to instill fear or injury (California
Penal Code 646.9).
Stalking may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony in California.
Trespass - An unlawful intrusion that interferes with a person or property (e.g.,
stalking a celebrity's children while they are at school; breaking
into their home; using a telephoto lens to take photos of celebrities
while they are sunbathing at home; crashing a private funeral and taking
pictures). A conviction for
trespassing is a misdemeanor which can cause 6 months of jail and a $1000 fine.
If you are charged with any of the above-mentioned crimes during your work
as a professional photographer, immediately hiring an experienced Paparazzi
criminal defense attorney is critical to a successful defense. A skilled
and experienced attorney involved early in the process can evaluate the
strengths and weaknesses of your case and can prepare your defense. If
you are under investigation for a paparazzi crime do not talk your way
out of the situation. Talking to law enforcement without consulting an
attorney first is a mistake.
Los Angeles Paparazzi Attorneys
We are Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys focusing exclusively on criminal
defense and we aggressively defend those accused of criminal offenses
in California. We have over 90 years combined criminal experience and
know how to get the best possible results for our clients. If you are
a paparazzi and being charged with the above paparazzi crimes please contact
us to discuss your case.
Don't settle for a "guilty" plea. Being convicted of a crime
in California can lead to jail, hefty fines and a criminal record. Let Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, a team of experienced Los Angeles
criminal defense lawyers, represent you in court.
Call us now for a FREE CONSULTATION. (Los Angeles