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Is False Advertising a Crime in Riverside County, California?
In Riverside County, California, you can go to jail and have to pay hefty fines if you make false statements in an advertisement for the sale or real estate, goods, or services. This is in addition to civil penalties that may be imposed by the state of California.
California Business and Professions Code Section 17500 prohibits false advertising. It makes it unlawful for “any person, firm, corporation or association, or any employee thereof with intent directly or indirectly to dispose of real or personal property or to perform services, professional or otherwise, or anything of any nature whatsoever or to induce the public to enter into any obligation relating thereto,” to do any of the following:
make or disseminate or cause to be made or disseminated before the public in this state or in any state, in any newspaper or other publication, or any advertising device, or in any other manner or means whatever, including over the Internet, any statement
concerning that real or personal property or those services, professional or otherwise, or
concerning any circumstance or matter of fact connected with the proposed performance or disposition thereof
which is untrue or misleading, and which is known, or which by the exercise of reasonable care should be known, to be untrue or misleading, or
for any person, firm, or corporation to so make or disseminate or cause to be so made or disseminated any such statement as part of a plan or scheme with the intent not to sell that personal property or those services, professional or otherwise, so advertised at the price stated therein, or as so advertised.
In order for a false statement in an advertisement to be a violation of Section 17500, the person or company making the false statement must have known or should have known that the statement was false. If an ad simply contained an inadvertent mistake, that error would not likely be deemed a violation of the law.
A false advertising violation of Section 17500 in Riverside County is a California misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the Riverside County jail for up to six months and/or fines of up to $2,500.
If you are convicted of Riverside County false advertising charges, the damages to your business and your future could be severe. Don’t face that possibility alone. Call one of our experienced and aggressive Riverside County criminal defense attorneys today.
Please note that we only handle cases where a person is facing a criminal charge under this section. We do not handle cases involving victims of false advertising, or persons attempting to report false advertising. In those cases, you may want to explore the resources of the California Attorney General – Consumer Protection.
About the Author
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.