Q: college kids, every 18 or a little bit older, made decision to prank speak to people. The gist of the call is to unnerve whomever answers, do them think there are ghosts haunting your house, and also that they room a agency who can assist rid lock of these “demons.” An enlarge gentleman reported these kids to the police. Is what they go a crime?

– M.A., Manhattan Beach

A: It was a prank – just harmless funny right? Well, under the California Penal Code, certain kinds of “pranks” can rise to the level the a misdemeanor, an outcome in a good of up to $1,000, and also as lot as 6 months in ar jail.

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Section 653m prohibits two certain kinds that conduct: (1) calls made v the will to stroked nerves in i beg your pardon obscene language is used, or over there is a threat made come inflict injury to the person, his or her property, or to any member the his or her family. If the criteria does not apply, climate (2) phone call made with an intent to annoy or harass, i m sorry are repetitive calls. In the case you describe, just what go the youngsters say, how plenty of times did they contact that gentleman, and what was your intent?

Q: I have a conflict with someone end money. She is texting me several times now, and also has made threats of damage if ns don’t pay her. There are 4 letter native used. Is this habits legal?

-J.N., Gardena

Ron Sokol

A:  Her habits may constitute a violation the Penal Code section 653m because it is a “communication”, and also employs a threat. Subsection (b) that Penal Code ar 653m specifically provides: “Every human who, through intent to stroked nerves or harass, makes… repeated contact by way of an electronic interaction device… to another person is, even if it is or no conversation ensues… guilty the a misdemeanor.” Her text massage by an electronic communication device (ie, the cell phone) is a covered act.

Q: A contractor did job-related for us. We have actually held back some money because the work done is inadequate. He referred to as me, and also now his assistant called me, denote they want the final payment or will certainly the lien the house. I also just obtained a letter in the mail. Is this illegal harassment?

-D.F., Rancho Palos Verdes

A: The contractor may have a legal right to document a lien. Also, if he, his assistant and the letter you got are basically professional, and there room no hazards of bodily harm and injury, those interactions may no be improper. You carry out not say what time they called, or just how often. Over there is, however, a simple right come make need for payment. Also, over there is a proviso in ~ the finish of Penal Code section 653m i beg your pardon reads: “Nothing in this subdivision shall use to telephone calls or digital contacts do in great faith or during the ordinary course and also scope that business.”

Ron Sokol is a Manhattan coast attorney with much more than 35 year of experience.

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His column, which shows up on Wednesdays, gift a an introduction of the law and also should no be taken as legal advice. Email questions and also comments come him at RonSEsq
aol.com or create to him at Ask the Lawyer, everyday Breeze, 21250 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 170, Torrance, CA 90503