Committing Forgery in California
There are a variety of crimes that fall under the white-collar classification, and one of such examples is forgery. We use the term forgery regularly in everyday conversations and the legal definition of forgery is not too different from our lay definition. The California Penal Code section 470 provides two definitions for forgery: signing the name of another person; counterfeiting documents/handwriting. If you have been accused of forgery and require a legal defense, we highly encourage you to reach out to us at Law Advocate Group. Our team of experienced criminal lawyers will work with you at every step of the way.
The Legal Elements of Forgery
While what is provided above is the legal definition of forgery, there are also several legal elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order for the prosecution to prove your guilt. If the prosecution fails to meet its burden, the defendant may not face a conviction for this specific crime. As such, the elements are the following: the defendant committed an act of forgery and the defendant committed said act with the intention to defraud another party. The possible acts of forgery, which fall under the legal definition, include, but are not limited to, the following: signing another person’s name and not telling them you have done so, forging another person’s handwriting/seal within a document, and counterfeiting/falsifying items such as checks and contracts.
The Punishment for the Crime
If the prosecution does meet its burden and the defendant’s case did not cast enough doubt on the charges and the events which allegedly occurred, then the defendant faces either a misdemeanor or a felony. Do not assume that your crime will automatically be a misdemeanor or a felony as it entirely depends on the discretion of the prosecutor, the circumstances of your case, and your previous criminal background/history. If a misdemeanor is pursued, the defendant can spend up to a year in a county jail. However, a felony conviction can result in up to three years in a California state prison facility. Given the severity of forgery charges, it is highly recommended that you seek the legal counsel of our experienced criminal attorneys.