One minute you’re depositing a check at a bank and the next thing you know, you are being arrested and charged with forgery.
In California, to be guilty of forgery under California Penal Code § 470(d), the prosecutor needs to prove that:
- The defendant (falsely made[,]/ [or] altered[,]/ [or] forged[,]/ [or] counterfeited) any of the type of documents listed in Penal Code section 470, subdivision (d), below;
- When the defendant did that act, (he/she) intended to defraud.
The types of documents listed in § 470(d) are:
…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 acquaintance, 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 …
Someone intends to defraud if he or she intends to deceive another person either to cause a loss of money and/or goods and/or services and/or something else of value, or to cause damage to, a legal, financial, or property right.
A person alters a document if he or she adds to, erases, or changes a part of the document that affects a legal, financial, or property right.
Sentences for Forgery
Forgery can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor. As a misdemeanor, an individual can be sentenced up to one (1) year in the county jail. As a felony, an individual can be granted probation or sentenced for up to 3 years imprisonment under California Penal Code § 1170(h)(5)(A).
Defending Yourself against Forgery Charges
The San Mateo County criminal lawyers at Ahmed & Sukaram may be able to help you clear your name from all forgery charges. We have a proven track record of successful criminal defense in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Contact us today if you have been arrested for forgery in any of these Bay Area counties.