It is a criminal offense to disseminate false or deceptive advertisement even if no one is actually deceived or sustains losses from the advertisement. Penalties for deceptive advertising depend on the nature of the violation, but may include fines, injunctions, and possible jail. A skilled San Francisco white-collar criminal lawyer may be able to reduce or dismiss the charges altogether.
The terms “false advertising” and “deceptive advertising” refer to advertisements that are deceptive in any material respect. An advertisement is deceptive if a reasonable consumer would find it misleading because it contains false or misleading statements or omits important information. The deception is material if the false or misleading statements or the omitted information would affect a reasonable consumer’s decision to buy or use the product or service. The advertiser’s intentions are irrelevant.
Both state and federal law prohibit false and deceptive advertising. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates such advertisements under the federal law. The FTC has authority to enforce federal laws that prohibit deceptive advertising and impose harsh penalties upon the violators. The FTC can file a civil lawsuit against an advertiser, obtain a court order to stop an ongoing advertisement, and order an advertiser to run corrective advertisements. Consumers can also bring suit against an advertiser for deceptive advertising. San Francisco white-collar crime lawyers are skilled and experienced in the defense of this federal charge and are prepared to aggressively fight on your behalf.
State laws with regards to false and deceptive advertising vary by state. Nevertheless, all states impose civil penalties for false and deceptive advertising. The enforcer of such laws is the state’s attorney general. Consumers harmed by deceptive advertising may also bring suit against the advertiser and recover damages. Additionally, state laws allow competitors who are harmed by a deceptive advertisement to sue to bring suit.
Each case has specific details and evidence, and with a complete review of the circumstances around the charges, the defense lawyer can advise you what can be done in order to defend your case. Therefore, it is imperative that you enlist the assistance of a skilled San Francisco white-collar criminal lawyer to successfully defend your case.