Forgery and Counterfeiting are both serious crimes in the state of California, and can be charged as a misdemeanor, felony, or even on a federal level. If you’ve been accused of, or arrested for either of these crimes, you need an attorney to defend your rights and to make sure all the proper procedures have been followed during the course of the investigation. Call Shield Criminal Defense Law today at (213) 514-8732. Our Los Angeles forgery and counterfeiting lawyer has over a decade of experience representing clients in the California legal system, call us today for a free analysis of your case.
Los Angeles Forgery and Counterfeiting Attorney Legal Services
Forgery can be broken down into a few separate categories. The most common incidents of forgery occur when any of the following take place:
- Altering a legal document which affects the legal rights of another person or significantly changes the details and/or purpose of the document.
- Providing someone else’s signature on a legal document or check or;
- Knowingly using documents that you know to be altered or false can be charged as forgery or, in some states, “uttering a forged instrument”.
Did you know?
The crime of forgery is not held to just faking a signature or changing or adding parts to a document. Deleting significant parts of the document that change the legal rights of another person is also considered forgery.
How is Forgery prosecuted?
In the State of California, Forgery is considered a “wobbler” offense, meaning it could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
- Forgery is considered a misdemeanor unless the transaction that occurred with use of the forged item exceeds $950.00
– For example, if you forge a check in the amount of $949.00, it would be charged as a misdemeanor.
– A guilty conviction for misdemeanor forgery could result in up to one year of incarceration and/or up to a $1,000 fine. It is also likely that you would be ordered to pay restitution to the victim.
- Felony forgery is any forged item that exceeds $950.00
– A guilty conviction for felony forgery could result in multiple years in jail, a fine of up to $10,000 and the judge will likely order that restitution be paid to the victim.
When most people hear the term “Counterfeit” they instinctively think of fake money. However, the crime of counterfeiting can occur when a variety of different, fake goods are replicated to look like the real product. In the U.S., some of most common items counterfeited are:
- US currency
- Audio/Video materials such as CD’s and DVD’s
- Prescription drugs
Did you know?
Many people view counterfeiting as a “victim-less” crime, however, many counterfeit items are produced in sweatshops, which are widely known for ignoring child labor laws and depriving their workers of basic human rights. Because of this, prosecutors will often rally for stricter penalties if you are convicted.
How are Counterfeiting crimes prosecuted?
Counterfeiting crimes are almost always prosecuted as felonies. Because counterfeiting money is a crime against the government, it is always prosecuted at a federal level, and a conviction is subject to incarceration in federal prison.
- A felony conviction for counterfeiting at the state level could result in a punishment of multiple years in a state facility and heavy court fines.
- A counterfeiting conviction at the federal level could result in much heavier penalties. Federal law allows punishment of up to 20 years’ incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000.
Because forgery and counterfeiting crimes have such a wide array of punishments and consequences, hiring an experienced Los Angeles forgery lawyer is the smartest thing you can to protect yourself from long term jail time and steep fines. Our Los Angeles forgery and counterfeiting attorney can go through your case with a “fine tooth comb” and work get your charges reduced or dismissed. We are available 24 hours a day to discuss you case with you.
Call Shield Criminal Defense Law today at (213) 514-8732.