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California Penal Code § 134 PC: Preparing False Evidence

Douglas Parker

The justice system relies on truth and evidence, we can all say that. That’s why California, like many other states, has laws and legislation in place to deter people from tampering with the truth. An example of such legislation is Penal Code Section 134 PC, which deals with preparing false evidence. Let’s delve into the interpretation of this code and explore the potential consequences one might encounter if found engaging in such activities.

What is the Penal Code 134 in California?

Under section 134 PC, it is essentially [1] deemed unlawful to fabricate and provide false or misleading information with the purpose of deceiving someone in a legal proceeding. This could encompass various scenarios such as court cases, hearings, or any other authorized formal inquiry.

Key Elements of Penal Code 134

In order to secure a conviction under 134 PC California, the prosecution must establish three elements:

  • The Evidence Was Fake: This might refer to a counterfeit record, a manipulated image, or even a contrived item. The crucial aspect is that it has to be deliberately crafted to deceive.
  • Intent to Use It: Simply fabricating something fake is insufficient. The prosecution must demonstrate that you had the intention to employ this counterfeit evidence in a legal proceeding of some kind.
  • Intent to Deceive: Distinguishing between a failed practical joke and an unlawful act. In this instance, the burden of proof[2] lies upon the prosecution to demonstrate that your intention was to deceive a legal authority figure, such as a judge or jury.

Is Preparing False Evidence a Felony?

Indeed, California Penal Code 134 is classified as a felony in the state of California[3]. As such, it constitutes a grave violation that carries the potential for a prison sentence of up to three years. Additionally, you may encounter substantial financial penalties and acquire a permanent criminal record as a consequence.

penal code 134

What are the Legal Penalties and Consequences for 134 PC?

As previously stated, the highest possible punishment for violating Penal Code 134 PC is a three-year term in a state correctional facility. Nevertheless, the actual duration of the sentence may differ based on the particulars of each situation. Elements such as prior criminal record[4], the gravity of the fabricated evidence, and the involvement in its use can collectively influence the severity of the penalties imposed.

In addition to serving a prison sentence, you may also be confronted with:

  • Penalties: In addition to potential imprisonment, the court has the authority to enforce substantial fines.
  • Probation: In certain instances, the court may opt for probation[5] as an alternative to incarceration; however, this frequently entails stringent terms and close monitoring.
  • Community Service: It is possible that you may be mandated to engage in community service as a component of your punishment.
  • Loss of Professional Licenses: A felony conviction can potentially endanger your eligibility to maintain specific professional licenses.

Defenses Against Charges Under Penal Code 134

In the event that you have been accused under California Penal Code 134, there are several potential arguments that can be explored in collaboration with your criminal defense attorney. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Lack of Intent: Maybe you created the fake evidence as a joke or out of frustration, with no real intention of using it in court.
  • Mistake: Perhaps you genuinely believed the evidence was real or didn’t understand the legal implications of using it.
  • Entrapment: In rare cases, you might argue that the police tricked you into creating the fake evidence.

Please keep in mind that these are merely a few potential options. The recommended course of action is to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can evaluate your individual circumstances and formulate the most impactful defense plan!

Can I Get a Conviction Expunged?

If you are found guilty of Penal Code 134 PC, it will result in a permanent record of the offense. Nonetheless, according to California legislation, there are mechanisms available to have specific convictions expunged[6] or sealed.[7] The process can be challenging and is contingent upon the details of your situation. Seeking guidance from an expungement lawyer can provide you with advice on qualifications and assist in navigating the expungement procedure.

Related Legal Offenses and Charges

Penal Code 134 PC does not stand alone as the sole statute addressing tampering with evidence in California. There are several additional offenses that are interconnected and should be taken into consideration:

  • Offering false evidence – PC 132: This statute is applicable when one physically submits fabricated evidence in a court of law, while Penal Code 134 PC specifically centers around the act of preparing such evidence.
  • Perjury – PC 118: It refers to the act of providing false statements while under oath in a legal proceeding, and constitutes an independent offense that carries a distinct set of consequences.
  • Destroying evidence or concealing evidence – PC 135: This covers tampering with real evidence to prevent it from being used in court.

These offenses can overlap, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of the specific situation. Contact us to get help from our lawyers who can determine which code (or codes) might apply in your case.

Seeking Legal Help for Penal Code 134 Charges

Being charged under PC 134 is a grave matter that carries significant repercussions. If you find yourself facing allegations connected to this particular code, it is advisable not to embark on the legal process unassisted. An adept attorney specializing in criminal defense has the ability to:

  • Review the Charges: Your lawyer will carefully analyze the prosecution’s case and identify any weaknesses.
  • Develop a Defense Strategy: Based on the specifics of your situation, your lawyer will build the strongest possible defense to fight the charges.
  • Negotiate with the Prosecutor: In some cases, your lawyer might be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution to reduce the charges or sentence.
  • Represent You in Court: If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will represent you in court and fight for your rights.

Remember, the sooner you contact an attorney, the better. They can start working on your defense right away and protect your rights throughout the legal process.

The commitment to preserving the authenticity of evidence is of utmost importance in the California justice system. PC 134 acts as a preventive measure, deterring individuals from engaging in any attempts to manipulate evidence. In the event that you find yourself confronted with charges under this particular code, it is of utmost importance to promptly seek the assistance of a competent criminal defense lawyer.


  1. 1.7 Burden of Proof—Clear and Convincing evidence | Model jury instructions. (n.d.).

  2. Manshoory, S. (2023, September 20). Misdemeanor, felony and “Wobbler” offenses in CA | Manshoory Law. Manshoory Law Group, APC.

  3. Manshoory, S. (2023, September 20). How do my prior convictions affect my current case? | Manshoory Law. Manshoory Law Group, APC.

  4. Manshoory, S. (2023, September 20). What are common conditions of probation? | Manshoory Law. Manshoory Law Group, APC.

  5. Manshoory, S. (2023, September 20). How to get your criminal record expunged in CA? | Manshoory Law. Manshoory Law Group, APC.

  6. Manshoory, S. (2023, September 20). How to seal and destroy arrest records in California | Manshoory Law. Manshoory Law Group, APC.