Under the law, you cannot pretend to be someone that you are not. If you try to falsely represent yourself as another person, this could lead to significant criminal penalties. California forgery charges are strict, and depending on the details of the crimes, you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. Time behind bars and steep fines could result. And, if you did not have a criminal history in the past, a forgery conviction will change that quickly. As a result, the rest of your life could be negatively impacted by that criminal record that will follow you around wherever you go, tainting your reputation.
David M. Boertje is a San Diego felony defense attorney who can help you when you have been arrested for a criminal act like forgery. While there are clear examples of forgery, such as taking another person’s check and trying to cash it as if the check were yours, there are also other examples of forgery that may not at first seem like a crime at all.
What is Forgery in California?
California describes forgery as the falsification of documents. Some examples include:
- Falsely trying to cash another person’s check.
- Rewriting or making adjustments to another person’s will without their consent.
- Signature tampering.
- Taking another person’s plane ticket and posing as that person to get on a flight.
- Trying to claim lottery winnings that are not your own.
- Signing a contract with another person’s name.
- Filing for a license in another person’s name.
- Trying to withdraw more money from your account than you have by cashing a check.
- Making fake money and trying to use it to procure goods and services.
California forgery and counterfeiting laws are serious and when you misrepresent yourself and it harms another party, you could be held criminally liable. Your charges may rise to the level of a misdemeanor charge, but they could also be charged as high as a felony offense. The difference between the two has to do with how much money was involved in a forgery event. Should forgery result in costs over $950, then a felony would be applied. If the forgery was less than $950, a misdemeanor would result.
Misdemeanor forgery charges come with penalties including fines and a year in county jail. While a felony charge could mean up to 16 months in state prison or up to three years in county jail. Restitution payments and pricey fines as costly as $10,000 may also be part of a sentence. Continue reading