California Business & Professions Code Section 13413 BPC: False Statement Regarding Gasoline

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimefalse gasoline statement

Gasoline is one the most frequently-purchased commodities available. Consumers must be certain that the product they purchase is safe and unadulterated. As a result, the California legislature has taken steps to closely regulate the sale of gasoline. Under California Business and Professions Code Section 13413 BPC, making a false statement regarding gasoline is a criminal offense.

To convict a defendant of making a false statement regarding gasoline, a prosecutor would be required to prove the following:

  1. The defendant is a person or other legal entity

  2. And the defendant made a deceptive, false, or misleading statement by any means regarding the quality, quantity, performance, price, discount, or saving used in the sale or selling of gasoline by doing any of the following:
    1. Misrepresenting the brand, grade, quality or price of a petroleum product

    2. Using false of deceptive representations or designations in connection with the sale of petroleum products

    3. Advertising petroleum products or services and not selling them as advertised

    4. Advertising petroleum products of a designated brand, grade, trademark, or tradename not actually sold or available for sale

    5. Making false, deceptive, or misleading statements concerning conditions of sale or price reductions

    6. Representing that the consumer will receive a rebate, discount, or other economic benefit and then failing to give that rebate, discount, or other economic benefit

    7. Except as otherwise permitted, selling a grade of motor fuel at more than one price and advertising only the lower price without advertising each of the higher prices in equal size numerals on the same advertising material

    8. Placing, letters, words, figures or numerals on any advertising medium offering for sale any goods or merchandise, other than motor fuel, if the advertising medium may be construed by any reasonable person as advertising a price of motor fuel

    9. Forging or falsifying any records or documents required under the law or knowingly keeping, using or displaying the false or forged records or documents.
2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Selling Short Quantity - California Business and Professions Code Section 12024 BPC

  2. Inaccurate Pricing – California Business and Professions Code Section 12024.2 BPC

  3. Forgery – California Penal Code Section 470 PC
3. Examples

A man owns a gas station that sells three grades of gasoline; regular, high octane and premium. Each grade is sold at a different price. In order to increase his profits, the man begins selling the “regular” grade of gasoline and representing it as both “high octane” and “premium.” This man could be charged with making a false statement regarding gasoline in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 13413 BPC.

A man drives into a gas station after seeing a reasonable price listed on a posted sign. The man purchases ten gallons of gasoline using his credit card. After the purchase, he reviews his receipt and believes he was overcharged by ten cents a gallon. The man complains to the station’s owner who tells him that the lower price posted only applies to customers paying cash. The owner shows the man the sign which clearly states both the cash price and the credit-card price in similarly sized numerals. The station owner would not be guilty under California Business and Professions Code Section 13413 BPC because such a pricing scheme is permissible if advertised in accordance with the law.

4. Defenses to False Statement Regarding Gasoline

As discussed above, there may be certain situations where a consumer was confused about a discount or posted price. As long as the advertising used complied with the law, the defendant would not be guilty of this offense.

5. Penalties

Making a false statement regarding gasoline is a misdemeanor level offense. Those convicted can be sentenced to up to six months in jail in addition to costly court fines.

6. Criminal Defense for False Statement Regarding Gasoline Cases

If you or your business have been charged criminally with making a false statement regarding gasoline, it is imperative that you meet with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut understands how best to defend clients charged with an offense such as this.

For more information about false statements regarding gasoline cases, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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