Forgery is the making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive. Forging money or currency is more often called counterfeiting. When the object forged is a record or document it is often called a false document. The similar crime of fraud is the crime of deceiving another, including through the use of objects obtained through forgery. Forgery consists of filling in blanks on a document containing a genuine signature, or materially altering or erasing an existing instrument.
An underlying intent to defraud, based on knowledge of the false nature of the instrument, must accompany the act. Instruments of forgery may include bills of exchange, bills of lading, promissory notes, checks, bonds, receipts, orders for money or goods, mortgages, discharges of mortgages, deeds, public records, account books, and certain kinds of tickets or passes for transportation or events. Statutes define forgery as a felony.
Punishment generally consists of a fine or imprisonment, or both. Methods of forgery include handwriting, printing, engraving, and typewriting. The related crime of uttering a forged document occurs when an inauthentic writing is intentionally offered as genuine. Some modern statutes include this crime with forgery.
After the passing of Proposition 47 in California, under Penal Code section 473, forgery is a misdemeanor offense, unless the forged item exceeds $950.
Probable Penalties & Consequences
Felony: State prison for 16 months to 3 years. Misdemeanor: County jail for up to one year. For either crime, the state may also consider the defendant’s criminal record and any applicable aggravating factors to determine whether the defendant should serve the term of imprisonment in state prison instead of in county jail.
Fines: Felony up $10,000. Misdemeanor a fine of $1000. Punishment depends upon the amount of money involved in the attempted forgery. Also, it matters is if you were convicted before in a similar case. Restitution is frequently ordered as a condition of a plea agreement or a conviction.
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The right attorney can be the difference between your freedom and a jail sentence. Many of Mark Waecker’s clients have sought his legal guidance immediately following an arrest, while still incarcerated. Those clients use the clock to their advantage, as time is still on their side. Acting quickly and efficiently, Mark Waecker will use assertive strategies to have cases dismissed or substantially reduce potential consequences.
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