In its simplest terms, forgery is faking someone else's signature or handwriting or falsifying a document without permission then passing it off as genuine with the intent to defraud. But forgery encompasses a number of different acts; it’s not just forging a signature on a check or document as many people assume. In California, forgery can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony; a misdemeanor forgery charge can carry a sentence of up to one year in county jail and a felony charge can result in a three-year prison sentence, for each convicted forgery charge. Orange County forgery defense attorney William Weinberg has over 20 years’ experience defending forgery and other related criminal charges. If you are being investigated or have been charged with forgery in Orange County, hiring an attorney experienced in forgery defense can result in the best possible outcome for your case. Mr. Weinberg is available to review your case and access the best defense strategy possible.
While we commonly think of forgery as signing someone else’s signature without their permission, forgery also includes forging a seal, altering a legal document, counterfeiting a driver’s license, falsifying insurance documents, passing a fictitious check, and filing false judicial or public record documents—and that’s just to name a few of the many acts that may be charged as forgery under the California Penal Code forgery sections 470, 472, 475, 476, and 115. Forgery does not necessarily require that you personally signed or altered the document, it is enough to pass or use a forged document if you know it is forged.
The offense of forgery always requires knowledge and intent. That means that the prosecution must prove that you knew you did not have authority to sign, alter, or file the instrument or document and that you intended to defraud another person, agency, organization or governmental or business entity. Forgery does not necessarily require that you personally signed or altered the document, it is enough to pass or use a forged document as long as you knew it is forged.
As an experienced forgery defense lawyer in Orange County, I will examine all evidence and all angles to present your best defense. It may be, for example, that the prosecution lacks the requisite evidence to prove that the alleged offense included the intent to defraud. The intent to defraud must be supported by evidence that by the act you intended to deceive another person or entity in order to cause a loss of money or something else of value or to cause damage to a legal, financial or property right. While that may sound complicated, if there is no evidence that you had actual intent to harm in this manner, let’s say for example, you believed you had the authority to sign or alter a document, or your act could not cause any losses or damages, you may have a good defense. However, it is not a defense that the loss or damages did not occur, if that was a possibility by the forgery, the crime is complete once the document or instrument is passed or filed, but not until then.
As our transactions become increasingly automated, writing forged checks or hand-written alterations of documents are being replaced by electronic forgeries. Some examples might be using someone else’s credit card without their permission, altering a credit card, forging an electronic signature, or altering an online legal document. Whether the forgery charge is a simple forged check allegation or more serious, such as the alteration of numerous credit cards, as a forgery defense lawyer in Orange County, I am available to provide your best defense.
If you or someone you care about is being investigated for, or has been charged with, forgery call Orange County forgery defense attorney William Weinberg for a complimentary consultation at (949) 474-8008 or contact him by email at email@example.com.