Orange County Forgery Defense Attorneys
If you have been arrested for forgery in connection to embezzlement or other crime, you need to call our criminal attorneys at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti now. Many people think forgery is simply signing your name to a check, but the crime of forgery includes alternating documents such as property, lottery tickets, legal documents, and stock certificates. If convicted, the crime of forgery could result in a prison sentence and ruin your reputation. We have more than a decade of experience keeping our clients out of prison and protecting their reputation. We have the experience to protect you.
Call us today to discuss your case in a free case evaluation!
Under Penal Code (PC) 470 forgery is when,
"Every person who, with the intent to defraud, knowing that he or she has no authority to do so, signs the name of another person or of a fictitious person"
For the District Attorney to bring you up on charges of forgery, they must prove that you signed someone else's name without authorization and/or falsified specific legal written documents. For example, forgery could be when an individual counterfeits a seal used on a lottery ticket. The bottom line is that forgery is when you defraud a person or business out of money, interest in property, and/or other legal rights.
Under PC 470, you can be charged with forgery when you alter:
"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 [or] lottery ticket…"
As you can see, forgery encompasses a wide range of documents, which is why you must call (714) 530-9690 and arrange an appointment with our defense lawyers as soon as possible.
The prosecution must show that you knowingly altered and/or created a written document as described above and with the intent to defraud. All that matters for the District Attorney is that you had the INTENT to commit forgery, regardless of whether you carried out the act or even paid the person / business back.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, it is possible you could be charged with making or forging multiple false documents, which is why you need to contact our OC white collar crime lawyers to possibly have the various counts of forgery consolidated into one charge. After all, if you are found guilty of several counts of forgery, you could face many years behind bars and even steeper fines.
You could be prosecuted for aiding and abetting if you had knowledge of the suspect item(s) AND helped another in passing the item(s) or made misleading statements contributing to the suspect forger's benefit.
There are many defenses that can be advanced on your behalf, such as the below:
- It Was a Misunderstanding: We have seen many cases, especially in big corporations, where somebody thought they were given a go-ahead to alter a document only to be charged with forgery because someone along the corporate ladder did not know that the document was to be altered and informed authorities thinking said employee is trying to defraud the corporation.
- There Was No Intent: For there to be a conviction of forgery, there must be intent. If you did not have the intent to commit forgery you are not guilty of this crime.
Forgery is a "wobbler," which means it can be charged either as a misdemeanor or felony.
- Misdemeanor Forgery: If convicted of misdemeanor forgery, you face a 1 year jail sentence, up to a $1,000 fine, community service, and restitution to the victim(s).
- Felony Forgery: If convicted of felony forgery, you face between 16 months and 3 years in a state prison, up to a $10,000 fine, community service, and restitution to the victim(s).
- Proposition 47: Recently, California voters enacted a new law which provides alternative sentencing for certain crimes, including certain types of forgery, and we can explore your options for this.
Being convicted of felony forgery doesn't count as a "strike" per California's Three Strikes Law. However, if you are convicted and have "two strikes" on your record, you could face a longer prison sentence.
Forgery is a crime to take seriously. Not only could you be sentenced to prison, but simply having this crime on your record can ruin your career and reputation. Our forgery lawyers have over a decade of experience winning tough cases. Our goal is to get you the best outcome—so, please, call us at (714) 530-9690 now.
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.