Offering False Evidence at Trial – Penal Code Section 132

Penal Code Section 132 strongly punishes any attorney or other person who intentionally causes false or altered evidence to be introduced at trial. The statute is designed to protect the integrity of legal proceedings.

Elements of the Offense:

The prosecution must prove the following evidence beyond a reasonable doubt:

1) The defendant offered a book, record or other document as evidence in a trial, legal proceeding or investigation;

2) The defendant offered the evidence as genuine or true;

3) The defendant knew that the book, record or document was fraudulently altered or forged in whole or part.

Examples of Section 132 Violations:

• A renter offers a fraudulent check in a civil trial in a deceptive effort to convince the court that no rent was owed.1

• A person offers a forged or altered will at a probate proceeding.2

Punishment:

Penal Code Section 132 punishes offenders with a straight felony. The crime is not a “wobbler” that can be charged or later reduced to a misdemeanor. Any defendant convicted of a Section 132 violation will be punished as follows:

• Felony Probation and an accompanying jail sentence of up to 364 days in a county jail.
• 16 months, 2 or 3 years in the California Department of Corrections.

Sources Cited:

(1) People v. Gallardo (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 1333.
(2) People v. Horowitz (1945) 70 Cal.App.2d 675.

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