Forgery Charges in Southern California

Orange County Forgery Attorney            Los Angeles Forgery Defense Lawyer

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            California Forgery Defense Attorney – Possession of Forged instrument

California's law against forgery forbids different actions related to misrepresenting yourself in a financial transaction.

One of the most important things about forgery in California is the intent to defraud element. A person who with the intent to defraud signs the name of another person or signs the name of a fictitious person or falsely makes, alters, or counterfeits, passes, attempts to pass any check, bond, bank bill, note, cashier’s check, traveler’s check, money order or a driver’s license or ID card issued by a government agency can be charged with forgery.

The act of forgery may also include writing a bad check, which means making, drawing, altering, or delivering any check or draft upon any bank or depository for the payment of money, knowing that there are insufficient funds.

Some of the more common forgery charges are:

California Penal Code Section 470 (a) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, knowing that he or she has no authority to do so, signs the name of another person or of a fictitious person to any of the items listed in subdivision (d) is guilty of forgery.

California Penal Code Section 470 (b) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, counterfeits or forges the seal or handwriting of another is guilty of forgery.

California Penal Code Section 470 (c) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, alters, corrupts, or falsifies any record of any will, codicil, conveyance, or other instrument, the record of which is by law evidence, or any record of any judgment of a court or the return of any officer to any process of any court, is guilty of forgery.

California Penal Code Section 470 (d) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits, utters, publishes, passes or attempts or offers to pass, as true and genuine, any of the following items, knowing the same to be false, altered, forged, or counterfeited, is guilty of forgery: any check, bond, bank bill, or note, cashier's check, traveler's check, money order, post note, draft, any controller's warrant for the payment of money at the treasury, county order or warrant, or request for the payment of money, receipt for money or goods, bill of exchange, promissory note, order, or any assignment of any bond, writing obligatory, or other contract for money or other property, contract, due bill for payment of money or property, receipt for money or property, passage ticket, lottery ticket or share purporting to be issued under the California State Lottery Act of 1984, trading stamp, power of attorney, certificate of ownership or other document evidencing ownership of a vehicle or undocumented vessel, or any certificate of any share, right, or interest in the stock of any corporation or association, or the delivery of goods or chattels of any kind, or for the delivery of any instrument of writing, or acquittance, release or discharge of any debt, account, suit, action, demand, or any other thing, real or personal, or any transfer or assurance of money, certificate of shares of stock, goods, chattels, or other property whatever, or any letter of attorney, or other power to receive money, or to receive or transfer certificates of shares of stock or annuities, or to let, lease, dispose of, alien, or convey any goods, chattels, lands, or tenements, or other estate, real or personal, or falsifies the acknowledgment of any notary public, or any notary public who issues an acknowledgment knowing it to be false.

Forgery can be charged as a MISDEMEANOR which exposes the accused to a maximum of one year in jail or it can be charged as a FELONY which exposes the accused to a state prison sentence. In most cases if the amount of the check is under $200.00 and the accused has no prior theft related charges on his/her record, the offense is charged as a misdemeanor. High dollar amounts are usually charged as a felony and may also carry a longer state prison sentence under the penal code because of certain enhancements.

If all else fails, our attorneys can help keep you or your loved one from going to jail by negotiating an alternative sentencing scheme for the accused to do diversion, work release, community service or house arrest in order to avoid losing their freedom.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges for writing a bad check, contact our office immediately to get the help that you deserve.

California Penal Code Section 475 (a) governs the possession of a forged instrument and states “Every person who possesses or receives, with the intent to pass or facilitate the passage or utterance of any forged, altered, or counterfeit items, or completed items contained in subdivision (d) of Section 470 with intent to defraud, knowing the same to be forged, altered, or counterfeit, is guilty of forgery.”

California Penal Code Section 476 states - Every person who makes, passes, utters, or publishes, with intent to defraud any other person, or who, with the like intent, attempts to pass, utter, or publish, or who has in his or her possession, with like intent to utter, pass, or publish, any fictitious or altered bill, note, or check, purporting to be the bill, note, or check, or other instrument in writing for the payment of money or property of any real or fictitious financial institution is guilty of forgery.

One of the most common situation involves a check cashing situation where a person is asked by a friend or acquaintance to cash a check for them with the agreement that the person cashing the check will get some percentage of the total value if they successfully cash the check. When the person attempts to cash the check the bank discovers that the account has been closed or that the person has not been authorized by the account holder and that person is arrested and charged with forgery.

Under the law, it doesn't matter whether the alleged victim was actually defrauded. It also doesn't matter whether you later paid back the alleged victim or made other restitution. All the District Attorney has to do is prove that you intended to defraud the victim. However, under many different fact patterns, intent is not very easy to prove and our forgery defense lawyers can negotiate an amicable resolution with the prosecution.

If you're facing jail time, we will work hard to change it to diversion, work-release, community service or electronic monitoring. Call us today to speak with a legal professional for free about the specifics of your case.

Contact the attorney who can make a difference in YOUR case. If you, a friend or a loved one is charged with Forgery in Los Angeles County, or facing Forgery charges in Orange County, don’t hesitate, pick up the phone and call our office immediately, your call is FREE! 

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