Los Angeles Forgery Attorney

Are you being investigated for forgery? Arrested or charged with forgery?

Speak to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer before you talk to the police about your forgery charges —even if the police say they just want to ask you a few questions. The key to successfully defending forgery charges is being represented by an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The earlier the attorney is on board, the more options there will be and the greater the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Forgery Law - California

In general, forgery laws prohibit falsely making or altering a writing with the intent to defraud someone. Forgery crimes of a wide variety are defined in California Penal Code sections 470 to 483.5. Forgery occurs when you intend to commit a fraud and:

  • Sign a document with a name that is not yours,
  • Counterfeit or forge the seal or handwriting,
  • Alter or falsify a record of a will, codicil, conveyance, or court judgment,
  • Falsely make, alter, or offer as authentic and genuine any of the following documents:
    • Check, bond, bank bill or note
    • Cashier's check, traveler's check or money order
    • Controller's warrant
    • Request for payment of money
    • Bill of exchange, promissory note or assignment of any bond
    • Contract, due bill for payment of money or property receipt for money or property
    • Lottery ticket
    • Trading stamp, power of attorney or certificate of ownership
    • Certificate of any share or interest in stock of any corporation or association
    • Release or discharge of any debt, real or personal
    • Transfer or assurance of money, certificates of stock, goods or any property
    • Letter of attorney, or other power to receive money or to receive or transfer certificates of share of stock or annuities
    • The acknowledgment of any notary public or an acknowledgement of a notary public who issues an acknowledgement knowing it is false.

Forgery Penalties

Forgery can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, punishable by imprisonment in state prison of up to 3 years or by a county jail sentence of not over 1 year. If you are convicted of forging something and already have one or two prior "strikes" against you, you will be subject to the Three Strikes Law and will be looking at a significantly more serious prison sentence.

Legal Defenses

There are a few defenses available to a person charged with forging or attempting to forge a document. The main two forgery defenses are:

  • Forging a document without any intent to defraud someone (e.g., believing you had a legal right to sign your grandmother's name on a document)
  • Forging a document that would not deprive anyone of a legal right or interest (e.g., writing a fake letter of recommendation for yourself).

The defense of lack of injury and restitution are available, but generally unsuccessful. The most fruitful defense to forgery charges is attacking the element of intent to defraud. Seeking an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney may be your best chance at avoiding a conviction for forgery or attempting to forge a document.

Los Angeles Forgery Lawyer

Seeking an experienced criminal defense attorney may be your best chance at avoiding a conviction for forging or attempting to forge a document. The Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners have the experience and skills needed to aggressively fight forgery charges.

Contact a Los Angeles Forgery attorney at our office to find out how we can help.