California Business & Professions Code Section 13532(a) BPC: False Advertising Regarding Gasoline

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimefalse gasoline advertising

The California legislature has enacted laws that carefully control how gasoline can be advertised to the public. Under California Business and Professions Code Section 13532(a) BPC, false advertising regarding gasoline is a criminal offense.

A defendant may be convicted of engaging in false advertising regarding gasoline in the following circumstances:

  1. 1.The defendant displayed an advertising medium indicating the price of motor fuel and the advertising medium failed to display all of the following:
    1. The price per gallon or liter, including all taxes, in numerals, and fractions when applicable, not less than six inches in height and of uniform size and color.

    2. The trademark or brand of the motor fuel in letters, figures or numerals not less than one-third the size of the numerals designating the price.

    3. The word “gasoline” or the name of other motor fuel in letters not less than one-third the size of the numerals designating the price, but these words need not be more than four inches in height.

    4. The grade designation of the motor fuel in letters or numerals not less than one-sixth the size of the numerals designating the price, but this designation need not be more than four inches in height.

    5. If motor fuel prices are advertised by the liter, the word “liter” shall be displayed on the advertising medium in letters not less than one-third the size of the numerals designating the price.
2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. False Statement Regarding Gasoline – California Business and Professions Code Section 13413 BPC

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

  3. Selling Short Quantity – California Business and Professions Code Section 12024 BPC
3. Examples

A man owns and operates a service station that sells gasoline. The man wants to attract customers with low prices so he posts the base price of his gasoline per gallon not including the various applicable taxes. The station’s owner figures that other merchants do not have to include taxes when advertising the price of their products and so he should not have to do that either. Because the man did not include the full price of the gasoline including taxes on his signage, he could be charged criminally with engaging in false advertising regarding gasoline pursuant to California Business and Professions Code Section 13532(a) BPC.

A man owns a gas station that sells a certain brand of gasoline produced by a large international petroleum company. This company recently received bad publicity after an oil spill and the man’s gas sales have suffered considerably. The man is frustrated from the loss of sales, so he removes all references and trademarks of the brand of the gasoline from the large sign posting prices located on the periphery of his station. This man could be prosecuted for false advertising regarding gasoline, as California Business and Professions Code Section 13532(a) BPC requires that the trademark or brand of the fuel be included in letters, figures or numerals not less than one third the size of the numerals used to display the price of the gasoline.

4. Defenses to False Advertising Regarding Gasoline

California Business and Professions Code Section 13532(a) BPC only restricts how one can advertise gasoline and petroleum products. If the service station sells other products, such as food or motor oil, the various size restrictions regarding letters and numerals listed in the statute would not apply.

5. Penalties

Engaging in false advertising regarding gasoline as described above is classified as a misdemeanor and anyone who is convicted of this offense may be sent to jail for a maximum period of six months. A judge can also impose extensive fines on the defendant.

6. Criminal Defense for False Advertising Regarding Gasoline Cases

If you have been accused of engaging in false advertising regarding gasoline, it is absolutely critical that you discuss your case with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who fights hard on behalf of clients charged criminally with business practice offenses.

For more information about false advertising regarding gasoline cases, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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