Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.
Here is the text of the code sections you're charged under:
"597s.(a) Every person who willfully abandons any animal is guilty
of a misdemeanor
"148.(a)(1) Every person who willfully resists, delays, or
obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical
technician ... shall be punished by a fine not exceeding
one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail
not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment."
As for the animal abandonment charge, I have a difficult time believing you'd be found guilty of this. Yes, you lied about where the dog came from in order to get the dog into the shelter, and I suppose that's where the prosecutor will claim the "willful" criminal
act came from. But you DID have the lawful authority to have control over the dog's disposition, for lack of a better term, at the time you dropped the dog off. That doesn't sound like "abandonment" to me.
I think your best defense here is to explain the circumstances (which you already did) and show the judge or jury that you did not intend to do anything "criminal" or "wrong," just to help out your neighbor and this dog.
As for obstruction, you have a more difficult time here. An "officer" for purposes of this code section includes animal control officers. There is case law in CA that suggests that lying to an officer is a form of obstruction of justice
. (I agree that you neither "delayed" or "resisted.")
If the judge or jury believes you lied to the animal control officer about the particulars of the dog's status in order to get the dog into the shelter, you may very well be found guilty of obstruction. (It's a safe assumption that the judge or jury WILL believe you lied since you told the officers two stories which are mutually exclusive.)
When you go to your arraignment on 8/20, I would plead not guilty. If you want to hire an attorney now, you certainly can. If you cannot afford an attorney, ask the judge to appoint one for you when you go to court
in August. If you qualify for court-appointed services, the judge will assign an attorney to help you. Talk to the attorney, discuss the case, and see what the best resolution is you can come up with.
I hope my response has been helpful. If you have follow-up questions or concerns on this topic, please ask. I'll get back to you as quickly as I can, although I may not be online at the moment you respond.
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Best wishes to you,