What is Forgery?
You have most likely seen forgery play out in movies and TV where one person is signing another person’s signature for some type of monetary gain, but most people don’t really know the real meaning of forgery in all its incarnations.
So what is forgery and why is it considered such a serious crime?
California Penal Code 470 PC defines forgery as, 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.
The subdivision D referenced in this definition includes falsifying checks, bonds, bank bills, cashier’s checks, traveler’s checks, money orders, contracts, bills of payment, credit card receipts, lottery tickets, power of attorney, and certificates of ownership.
The key to a forgery charge is the intent of the person who committed the act, meaning, did the person sign someone else’s name with the intention to defraud, or was it a mistake?
What Types of Forgery Charges Can You Face?
In California, prosecutors have the discretion of charging the crime of forgery as a misdemeanor or as a felony.
The distinction between the two is usually determined by the amount of the forgery, your past criminal history, and the victim of the crime.
Large forgeries against commercial institutions are typically charged as felonies, and are considered white collar crimes. A felony forgery conviction, however, can result in as much as three years in jail, a maximum fine of $10,000, and restitution to your victim.
If you are convicted of misdemeanor forgery, a judge can sentence you to as much as 12 months in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, and restitution to your victim.
How is Forgery Defended?
When you are charged with forgery, one possible defense is for a federal criminal lawyer to present evidence that you did not intend to defraud your victim, or that you did not benefit from the forgery.
Another possible defense against forgery is for a lawyer to prove that it was not your signature on the forged document. This is usually proven through the use of handwriting experts.
A Serious Lawyer For a Serious Charge
Forgery is a serious crime that demands the best federal criminal defense law firm you can find, such as the team at Premier Federal Criminal Defenders. Although the strength of your defense is based partly on the circumstances of your case, we have handled many of these cases, so we understand how to craft a strategy that gives you the best chance of staying out of prison. If you are facing a forgery charge, please call us today at 1-800-455-6200 for a free consultation.