Businesses and individuals in California are legally required to accurately bill for their products and services. Business people who incorrectly charge their clients can face criminal charges under California Business and Professions Code Section 12024.1: Misrepresentation of Charge for Service.
The Simmrin Law Group can help you go over the legal definition of a BPC 12024.1 violation. You can learn more about the penalties for a conviction. You can also focus on common legal defenses for misrepresentation of charge for service accusations.
Misrepresentation of Charge for Service: The Definition
Individuals and businesses in California may face BPC 12024.1 charges if they willfully misrepresent the cost for a service based on:
This means that individuals can be charged under BPC 12024.1 for billing a client for more hours than they worked, or for charging a client for more products than they received. Depending on the amount of the misrepresented charges, these situations can greatly resemble petty theft or grand theft in California.
Note that misrepresentation of charge for service accusations should only apply if an individual or business acts intentionally against a client.
Misrepresentation of Charge for Service: The Penalties
California’s court system prosecutes BPC 12024.1 as a misdemeanor. A conviction for misrepresentation of charge for service can lead to:
- Up to $1,000 in Fines
- Up to 6 Months of Jail Time
In some cases, a judge may sentence an individual to probation instead of jail time.
Misrepresentation of Charge for Service: Examples
You can boost your understanding of BPC 12024.1 charges with these examples:
Man A works as a painter. He charges his clients by the hour for his services and usually pads the time out by adding a few extra hours onto the bill. One of his clients realizes what happened and brings BPC 12024.1 charges against him. He could be convicted.
Man B runs a cleaning crew that works for commercial businesses in California. He switches to new computer software to handle time-keeping. The new software incorrectly formats several invoices, adding extra charges for services. Man B did not intentionally misrepresent charges for services, so he could avoid a BPC 12024.1 conviction.
Man C is a general contractor who frequently charges his clients for overtime, even though he doesn’t put in extra hours. Sometimes he also charges for extra help when he works alone. He could be charged with misrepresentation of charges for services.
Man D takes care of yard work for wealthy business customers. One of his clients does not like his work and doesn’t want to pay for it. The client decides to claim that Man D is misrepresenting charges for service in an attempt to get out of paying the bill. Man D could avoid BPC 12024.1 charges by proving he did the work he charged for.
Misrepresentation of Charge for Service: Similar Charges
The state of California uses a number of charges that resemble misrepresentation of charge for services. We’ve mentioned:
- California Penal Code Section 484(a) and 488: Petty Theft
- California Penal Code Section 487: Grand Theft
Individuals could also face more specific criminal charges, including:
- California Business and Professions Code Section 12024: Selling Short Quantity
- California Business and Professions Code Section 12024.2: False Pricing
Convictions under these charges can lead to fines and lengthy periods of incarceration.
Misrepresentation of Charge for Service: Legal Defenses
There are several legal defenses that can help if you are accused of misrepresentation of charge for service. You can learn about your legal options by reaching out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Based on the facts surrounding your case, a lawyer may be able to show:
You Accidentally Misrepresented the Charges
BPC 12024.1 charges should only apply if you intentionally misrepresented the charges for a service. If you accidentally charged a customer too much, then you should not be convicted under BPC 12024.1 in California.
You Were Falsely Accused of Misrepresenting Charges
Sometimes, customers attempt to get out of paying for services by claiming that you misrepresented the charges. Your lawyer may be able to gather proof that you fairly billed your client. If you used accurate billing practices you may be able to avoid a BPC 12024.1 conviction.
Speak with a Lawyer About BPC 12024.1 Charges
California Business and Professions Code Section 12024.1: Misrepresentation of Charge for Service accusations can lead to fines and incarceration. Face these charges head on by speaking with the Simmrin Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers for a FREE initial case evaluation.
Start working on a defense now by completing our online contact form, or calling (310) 997-4688.