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California Penal Code § 132 PC: Offering False Evidence

Douglas Parker

In the vast landscape of California law, Penal Code 132 holds a crucial spot, particularly for those involved in legal proceedings. To understand this law clearly, think of a situation where someone presents evidence in court that they know isn’t true.

The integrity of legal proceedings depends heavily on the truth. Therefore, understanding Penal Code 132 [1] is essential not just for legal professionals, but also for anyone involved in or facing legal challenges. It serves as a reminder of the weight of honesty in our legal system and ensures that justice is served correctly, relying on truthful, unaltered evidence.

Here we’ll break down the key aspects of this law, explore its classification as a felony, and compare it to similar legal statutes.

Understanding Penal Code 132: Offering False Evidence in California

When we discuss California Penal Code 132, we’re talking about the legal ramifications of knowingly presenting false evidence in any legal proceeding, including trials and investigations.  That’s what Penal Code 132 addresses – it’s about offering false evidence, and intentionally trying to mislead a court or legal inquiry. When someone breaks this law, the implications are serious, as they undermine the very fabric of our justice system.

What does offering false evidence actually mean in everyday terms? It involves actions like presenting a forged document as genuine in a trial or modifying a record to cover up the truth. The term ‘false evidence’ is broad and can include anything from documents to digital evidence [2] that are dishonestly presented to influence a legal decision. This law ensures that honesty prevails in legal settings, promoting fair trials and just outcomes.

Key Elements of Penal Code 132

California Penal Code 132 is quite specific about what constitutes offering false evidence. To be found guilty under this code, it must be proven that a person knowingly presented false material with the intent that it be taken as genuine.

This applies to documents, phony statements, or any misleading material that could influence the outcome of a trial or proceeding. The emphasis here is on “knowingly” and “intent,” which means that accidental submission of incorrect information does not fall under this statute.

california penal code 132

Is Offering False Evidence Considered a Felony?

Yes, under California law, offering false evidence is considered a felony. This classification underscores the severity with which the legal system treats the integrity of judiciary processes. Flouting this law can compromise the fairness and outcome of legal proceedings, making it a grave offense.

Comparing Penal Code 132 with Other Related Statutes

It is beneficial to compare Penal Code 132 with related statutes like Penal Code 134 [3], which deals with the preparation of false evidence, and Penal Code 115, involving the filing of false documents.

While PC 132 focuses on the act of presenting false evidence, PC 134 is about preparing false evidence irrespective of whether it gets presented in official proceedings or not. Understanding these distinctions helps in comprehending the broad spectrum of legal protections against fraudulent activities in legal contexts.

What is the Penalty for Offering False Evidence?

The penalties for offering false evidence under Penal Code 132 are severe, reflecting the significant impact such actions can have on the legal system. If convicted under Penal Code 132, an individual could face a range of penalties including imprisonment. The typical sentence might involve state prison time of 16 months, or two or three years, depending on the specifics of the case and any prior offenses. This felony charge may also lead to fines, felony probation [4], and a permanent criminal record, which could affect one’s future long after prison time is served.

Examples of Legal Consequences Beyond Court Penalties

Apart from the direct legal penalties, being convicted of offering false evidence can have extensive collateral consequences. These might include loss of professional licenses, difficulties in securing employment [5], damage to one’s reputation, and significant personal and family stress. The felony designation also restricts civil liberties such as voting rights and gun ownership, making the implications of a conviction far-reaching and long-lasting.

Understanding the gravity of these actions and their repercussions is crucial for anyone involved in legal processes, as it emphasizes the importance of integrity and honesty in upholding justice.

Defending Against a Charge Under Penal Code 132 PC

Knowing the possible defenses can significantly affect the outcome when someone faces accusations under Penal Code 132. We understand the importance of building a strong, credible defense based on the specifics of each case.

A primary defense includes proving the lack of intent to deceive. It is crucial to show that there was no knowledge of the evidence being false or that there was no intention to present it as genuine.

Sometimes, evidence believed to be accurate at the time of submission but later found to be incorrect can lead to a defense against the intent to deceive. Another defense could involve proving that the evidence, even if false, did not influence or was not material to the outcome of the proceeding.

Intent and knowledge are the cornerstones in a case under Penal Code 132. At Manshoory Law, our strategy often involves digging deep into communications and records that may reveal the mindset and circumstances under which the evidence was presented. Establishing that our client lacked the requisite intent or knowledge required by law can help disprove the accusation of offering false evidence.

Related Offenses and Charges Under California Law

Understanding related laws is beneficial not only for comprehending PC 132 but also for recognizing how it intersects with other legal areas.

Overview of Preparing False Evidence – PC 134

Penal Code 134 addresses the preparation of false evidence, targeting actions taken before the actual submission in a legal forum. Individuals guilty under this statute engage in creating, modifying, or falsifying evidence that they might intend to present, showcasing the proactive nature of deceit compared to merely presenting false evidence as covered under PC 132.

Insights into Perjury – PC 118

Perjury under Penal Code 118 [6] involves making false statements under oath. This statute focuses strictly on the verbal or written statements made deceitfully, which differ from submitting falsified documents or other forms of evidence typically covered under PC 132.

Understanding Destroying or Concealing Evidence – PC 135

PC 135 [7] deals with the act of destroying or concealing physical evidence and is a crucial statute that often relates to cases involving PC 132. In instances where evidence crucial to ongoing investigations or proceedings is intentionally hidden or destroyed, charges under PC 135 could be pertinent.

How to Seek Legal Assistance for Charges Under Penal Code 132

Facing charges under Penal Code 132 can be stressful and complicated, but with skilled legal guidance, navigating through the complexities becomes manageable. The expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a substantial difference in the outcome of a case involving PC 132. We focus on understanding every aspect of the case, from the nature of the alleged false evidence to the intentions behind its presentation. Our goal is always to ensure the best possible defense based on the law and the specifics of each case.

Understanding Penal Code 132 goes beyond legal professionals. It serves as a cornerstone for a just legal system, reminding everyone involved of the paramount importance of honesty.  A conviction under this code carries severe penalties and lasting consequences. By familiarizing oneself with this law and potential defenses, individuals can navigate legal proceedings with integrity and ensure the pursuit of truth in the courtroom.

By choosing Manshoory Law Group, you are choosing a team that stands firm on the principles of integrity, advocacy, and understanding. We are dedicated to your defense, ensuring that every legal avenue is explored to protect your rights and achieve a favorable resolution. Contact us today—your initial consultation on understanding California penal code 132 is just the beginning of how we can help.


  1. Law section. (n.d.).§ionNum=132.
  2. Parker, D. (2024, April 30). What is Digital Evidence in Criminal Trials? | Manshoory Law. Manshoory Law Group, APC.
  3. California Penal Code §134 PC: Preparing False Evidence | Manshoory Law. (n.d.). Manshoory Law Group, APC.
  4. Parker, D. (2024, March 7). What is Digital Evidence in Criminal Trials? | Manshoory Law. Manshoory Law Group, APC.
  5. Manshoory, S. (2023, September 20). How to get a job with a criminal record in California? | Manshoory Law. Manshoory Law Group, APC.
  6. Law section. (n.d.).§ionNum=118.
  7. California Penal Code 135: Destruction of Evidence | Manshoory Law. (2024, June 3). Manshoory Law Group, APC.