Forgery Defenses in California

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If you are charged with forgery in California, you may be facing some serious time; therefore it is crucial that you contact an experienced attorney. An attorney with the proper knowledge and experience within this field can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. Your future depends on the quality of the attorney you hire to represent you. Our forgery defense attorneys at Wallin and Klarich have over 40 years of experience handling forgery cases successfully within California. Call us today so that you can receive the proper representation in order reach the best possible outcome of your case. Also, read on to learn more about some of the defenses to forgery charges.

A strong forgery defense begins with getting to know you and the situation. Your history can play a big part in your defense and a clean record is often a great starting place. Once your attorney learns everything he/she needs to know about you, your attorney will need to know everything about the document you allegedly forged and the people involved. Then he/she can work with you to develop the best possible strategy for your defense.

While each case is unique, under Penal Code section 470 through 472[i], every crime of forgery contains three basic elements, and your defense centers on attacking them.

“Legal significance”

On our prosecution page, we explain that forgery covers faking signatures, handwriting, or documents. The driving idea behind all three is that they have a “legal significance.” Meaning, that the handwriting, the signature, or the document might be worth money, it might transfer property, or it might require someone to do something.

If what you allegedly forged does not have any possible legal or monetary significance then you cannot be convicted of forgery. The keyword in this defense is “possible.”  The California prosecution must show that there is some possible benefit to the defendant or to a third party resulting from the forgery. If  your attorney can show that there is none, then you cannot be convicted of forgery.

“Falsity” of your conduct

Forgery defense - analyzing the document
Analyzing the allegedly forged document

Many cases of forgery in California result from simple misunderstandings. Often times, you are accused of forgery when you were actually allowed to create the document in question. If you have power of attorney over someone or are in a partnership, or in some similar relationship, you might have had the authority to create the document. This means that you cannot be convicted of forgery and you will not have to face punishment for this crime because prosecutors do not know all of the relationships between people and mistakes do happen.

Even if you did not expressly have permission, the same relationship can show that you reasonably believed you were allowed to create or alter the document. For example,

Imagine Debra and Sam live together. Debra commonly writes Sam’s rent checks for him and signs his name with his express permission. One month, Sam does not expressly tell Debra to do so, but she does it anyway. Debra is then charged with forgery.

If Debra were to hire an attorney, he/she could argue that Debra reasonably believed she was allowed to write the check.

“Intent” to defraud

Along with proving that you forged a document, the California prosecutor also must show you intended to commit fraud by doing so. In forgery, fraud means that because of the fake or altered document, someone does not receive what rightfully belongs to them—be it money, property, or something else.

An alteration made for a needed correction is not forgery—even if it does end up affecting someone’s money or property. If that is the case, you have the basis of a strong forgery defense. For example,

Imagine Debra and Sam still live together. This time, instead of writing a check out of Sam’s checkbook, Debra changes the date because Sam wrote the wrong month. Debra is then charged with forgery.

If Debra were to hire an attorney, he/she would argue that Debra made a correction she reasonably thought necessary.

Call Wallin and Klarich forgery defense attorneys today

partners 2015 - forgery pc 402
Contact the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today if you have been charged with forgery under PC 402

If you are charged with forgery, it is vital for you to contact a forgery defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. With over 40 years of experience defending people accused of forgery, we have the knowledge and skill to defend you.

We have offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Victorville and West Covina, each one staffed with skilled, experienced attorneys.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding forgery defenses or laws, visit our FAQs page or call us at the number provided below so that you can speak to our attorneys personally about the specifications of your case.

Call Wallin & Klarich today at 877-4-NO-JAIL. Let us put our experience to work for you.


[i] Information on Penal Codes 470-472 retrieved

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