California Penal Code Section 132 PC & California Penal Code Section 134 PC: Offering Or Preparing False Evidence
1. Definition and Elements of the Crimes
Our justice system relies on the integrity and accuracy of the physical evidence that is used to convict people of crimes and used in other legal proceedings. Because of the importance of physical evidence, offering or preparing false evidence is a very serious felony-level criminal offense.
Presenting False Written Evidence is a crime under California Penal Code Section 132 PC and the broader offense of Preparing False Evidence is a crime pursuant to California Penal Code Section 134 PC.
Presenting False Written Evidence requires a prosecutor to prove the following elements:
- That a person presented false or fraudulent written evidence
- In a legal proceeding
- AND the person knew the evidence was false when he or she presented it.
Penal Code 132 PC only deals with written evidence such as fake wills, falsified records or forged receipts.
The term "legal proceeding" is not limited to situations where evidence is presented to a judge or jury in a trial; and can include any official hearing that is conducted under California state law for criminal, civil or administrative matters. This can include administrative and traffic court hearings.
Preparing False Evidence is a wider-reaching offense that requires the following elements:
- The defendant prepared a false or forged "matter or thing," which can be a book, paper, record, or written instrument
- He or she did so with the intent to produce this false evidence at a legal proceeding
- AND he or she did so with the intent to deceive.
A man convicted of Driving Under the Influence in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC is required as part of his sentence to complete a three-month alcohol class. He is required to provide proof of completion of this class to the court. The man forgets to take the class and panics. He prepares a fake "Proof of Completion" document for the alcohol class and files this with the court. This man has committed the crime of Presenting False Written Evidence in violation of California Penal Code Section 132 PC and Preparing False Evidence in violation of California Penal Code Section 134 PC, and could be convicted of either offense.
3. Related Offenses
Related offenses include:
- Destroying Evidence - California Penal Code Section 135 PC
- Planting Evidence – California Penal Code Section 141 PC
- Forgery - California Penal Code Section 470 PC
- Perjury - California Penal Code Section 118 PC
4. Defenses to Offering or Preparing False Evidence Charges
Someone cannot be convicted of offering or preparing false evidence unless they actually knew that the evidence was false. In cases where a person unwittingly offers evidence that they believe is legitimate, but turns out to be false, there is a legitimate Mistake of Fact defense.
In certain cases, where the false evidence was produced as a result of extreme pressure from a police officer or prosecutor, there may be a valid Entrapment defense. This may be the case with informants or where there are criminal charges involving multiple defendants. A prosecutor may pressure a witness to produce evidence against another defendant. This witness may, as a result of this extreme pressure, feel they have no choice but to create false evidence to satisfy the prosecutor’s demands. In these cases, there may be a valid claim of entrapment due to the aggressive actions taken by the prosecutor.
Offering or Preparing False Evidence is a felony-level offense that can carry sentences of up to three years in prison, in addition to substantial court fines.
6. Criminal Defense for Offering or Preparing False Evidence Cases
If you or a loved one has been charged with Offering or Preparing False Evidence, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away. These are serious felony-level offenses that can carry lengthy prison sentences. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is highly respected by prosecutors and law enforcement alike for his knowledge of the law and his extensive litigation skills.
For more information about Offering or Preparing False Evidence, 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.