Businesses understandably want to make their products and services sound as appealing as possible to consumers. While there’s nothing innately wrong with advertising, a business can get into deep legal trouble if they cross the line by providing false or misleading information.
This action can be prosecuted under California Business and Professions Code Section 17500: Making False or Misleading Statements in Advertising. You can learn more about the legal applications of BPC 17500 charges right here with the Simmrin Law Group.
The Legal Definition of Making False or Misleading Statements in Advertising
As we mentioned previously, businesses are allowed to advertise their products or services. However, they can face criminal charges if they:
- Make Misleading or False Statements
- About Any Product or Service OR
- The Sale of Any Property, Product, or Service
Note that intention matters in BPC 17500 cases. Individuals or businesses should only be prosecuted if:
- They Knew They Were Making a False or Misleading Statement OR
- They Should Have Known They Were Making a False or Misleading Statement
This means that honest mistakes and errors should not be prosecuted under BPC 17500. Additionally, BPC 17500 charges should only apply if individuals were deceived by false or misleading advertising.
Mediums Used for False or Misleading Statements in Advertising
You should be aware that BPC 17500 charges can cover advertisements made across any form of media. Individuals or businesses could face BPC 17500 charges if they make false or misleading statements:
- On the Radio
- On the Television
- In Print Publications
- Over the Internet
- With Public Proclamation
These methods cover most forms of communication, allowing the state court system to tightly control misleading or false statements in advertising.
Charges Similar to Making False or Misleading Statements in Advertising
The state of California can use different charges to prosecute businesses accused of dishonest dealings with customers. Some common charges can include:
- California Business & Professions Code Section 12024: Selling Short Quantity
- California Business & Professions Code Section 12024.1: Misrepresentation of Charge for Service
- California Business & Professions Code Section 12024.2: Inaccurate Pricing
- California Business & Professions Code Section 13413: False Statement Regarding Gasoline
- California Business and Professions Code Section 13532(a): False Advertising Regarding Gasoline
Note that, in some cases, making false or misleading statements in advertising can greatly resemble wire fraud, especially if the advertising involves television or electronic communications.
Repercussions for BPC 17500 Charges in California
Individuals and businesses that violate BPC 17500 may be charged with a misdemeanor. Generally, a conviction for making false or misleading statements in advertising can lead to the following penalties:
- Fines: Up to $2,500
- Jail Time: Up to Six Months
The court could also order an injunction in some BPC 17500 cases. Injunctions allow the court to either forbid someone from doing something, or force them to do something. In BPC 17500 cases, the court may use this order to restrict businesses from using continued forms of false or misleading advertising.
Defenses for Making False or Misleading Statements in Advertising Charges
You can stand up to a BPC 17500 charge in California by reaching out to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer right away. A legal professional can assess all aspects of your case. Depending upon your situation, your lawyer could work to prove that:
You Thought You Were Sharing Accurate Information
Individuals should only be convicted under BPC 17500 if they knew – or should have known – that they were including false or misleading information in an advertisement. If you had reason to believe that you were sharing truthful information, you could avoid a BPC 17500 conviction.
You Made an Honest Mistake in Your Advertisement
Sometimes, businesses accidentally include false or misleading information in their advertisements. These honest mistakes should not be sufficient to lead to a BPC 17500 conviction. A criminal defense lawyer can go over the evidence that you accidentally used false or misleading information.
You Did Not Actually Deceive Any Members of the Public
False and misleading statements in advertising should only lead to a conviction if members of the public were deceived. If no one was fooled by the false or misleading statements, you could be able to defend yourself from BPC 17500 accusations.
Handle BPC 17500 Charges with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
California Business and Professions Code Section 17500: Making False or Misleading Statements in Advertising charges are handled harshly by the court in California. Fortunately, you can get help handling them by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. Reach out to the Simmrin Law Group now by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 896-2723.
Our legal professionals can help you today with a FREE consultation.