Vehicle Code section 10501, subdivision (a), which prohibits the filing of a false vehicle theft report, preempts a conviction for perjury under Penal Code section 118 based on the same conduct. Joseph was convicted of perjury for falsely declaring to police that his car had been stolen and other offenses. He appealed, arguing his perjury conviction must be reversed because Vehicle Code section 10501 preempts the perjury statute. Held: Reversed. Penal Code section 118 prohibits making a materially false declaration under penalty of perjury. Vehicle Code section 10501, subdivision (a) prohibits filing a fraudulent claim of vehicle theft with a law enforcement agency. Under the Williamson rule (In re Williamson (1954) 43 Cal.2d 651), if a general statute includes the same conduct as a specific statute, the court infers that the Legislature intended the conduct to be prosecuted exclusively under the specific statute. Vehicle Code section 10501 specifically addresses filing a false vehicle theft report, while the perjury statute addresses a broader range of conduct. After analyzing the statutes and relevant case law, the Court of Appeal concluded that Vehicle Code section 10501 preempts prosecution for perjury under Penal Code section 118 for filing a false vehicle theft report.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/B285062.PDF