In order for a prosecutor to charge you with the crime of forgery in California, you must have knowingly intended to defraud another person or organization. When assessing the severity of your forgery, prosecutors and judges consider whether your actions could cause financial injury to someone who believed your forged document was genuine. Although writing a bad check is a well-known form of forgery, there are numerous other situations that may result in a forgery charge. Some of these include:
- Altering another person's will to gain a better financial advantage.
- Manufacturing or possessing counterfeit money or lottery tickets.
- Duplicating or altering a driver's license or identification card.
- Altering a medical record in an attempt to receive a settlement.
- Copying an official state or federal seal or possessing the seal without legal permission.
- Imitating someone else's handwriting and signing papers as though you were that person.
- Passing or possessing counterfeit documents.
Forgery Can Be Prosecuted as a Misdemeanor or a Felony
Under California state law, the crime of forgery is considered a "wobbler". This means that the prosecutor has the discretion of deciding whether your act of forgery qualifies as a misdemeanor or a felony. The judge also has considerable input on how you are charged. A misdemeanor forgery charge in California may result in a jail term of up to one year. Should you be convicted of a felony, the possible incarceration times are 16 months, two years, or three years. The judge could also order you to reimburse the forgery victim as well as pay a civil fine.
The Burden of Proof is on the Prosecution
The Law Office of Nicolai Cocis firmly believes that all clients are innocent until proven guilty. We aggressively defend you against forgery charges by forcing the prosecution to prove that you actually committed a crime. With so much leeway granted to prosecutors and judges in determining sentencing, you need a strong legal defense in your corner.
To learn more about our forgery defense strategies, please contact us to schedule a free case evaluation. Our office is located near the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, California. We represent individuals charged with Criminal Offenses, DUI and Juvenile Matters in the Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee, Winchester, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Corona and Riverside areas.