California Forgery Attorneys – Forgery in California PC 470

Have you Been Charged with Forgery in California? PC 470

If you have been charged with forgery under California Penal Code section 470[i] and related codes, you may have a lot of confusion regarding the severity of your case. It is important for you to understand that you are facing very serious charges. The punishments for forgery or fraud-related crimes are extremely harsh and should not be taken lightly. In the following pages, our forgery attorneys at Wallin & Klarich in Southern California will explain to you what you need to know to defend yourself; however, you should not attempt to represent yourself in court or be represented by a public defender.

Penalties for these charges could be detrimental to your future; therefore, it is imperative that you find an attorney to represent you, who is experienced in handling these types of cases. Our Wallin & Klarich forgery attorneys have successfully handled cases in this field for over 40 years. Give us a call today so that you can receive the proper court representation and so that we can get you the fair treatment you deserve with the best possible outcome. Read on to learn more about forgery laws.

Forgery and Check Forgery Laws

According to California PC 470, forgery is the unauthorized, false making or material alteration of a document with the intent to defraud someone. The most common example is signing someone’s name on a check, but actually, forgery is much broader and covers nearly any document that transfers money or property.

How Can I Be Found Guilty of Forgery In California?

At trial the prosecutor will have to prove two basic elements:

  1. You committed an act of forgery in California outlawed by the Penal Code; And
  2. You did so with the intent to commit fraud.

Penal Code sections 470 through 472[ii] cover a long list of documents protected by the forgery statute. We analyze them in more detail on the Prosecution page, but they generally fall into one of three categories:

  • Signing someone else’s name
  • Making an important change to a document
  • Trying to pass off false documents as genuine

What Are the Possible Defenses to Forgery Charges?

Forgery Attorneys
Defenses to Forgery charges

At trial, along with proving you did one of the three acts above, the Southern California prosecutor will also have to prove you intended to commit fraud by doing so. This is an important element and can be difficult to prove. If you did not intend to defraud anyone through your actions then you cannot be guilty of forging.

Your defense hinges on attacking each element the prosecutor has to prove. The forgery attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have defended many people facing forging accusations. For many clients in California, we have attacked the basic elements of the charge and successfully dismissed cases, reduced sentences, and lessened fines. We will work together to plan the best strategy for your defense.

What Is the Punishment for Criminal Forgery in Southern California?

Forgery is a “wobbler,” which means that the prosecutor can choose to charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony. The prosecutor will base his decision on the value of the item that was forged. Forgery of a check, bond, or bill worth up to $950, will be charged as a misdemeanor. If the value exceed $950, you will likely face a felony charge.

Under Penal Code section 473[iii], forgery convictions are punishable as misdemeanors or felonies. A Southern California felony conviction can mean up to three years in jail, a ten thousand dollar fine, and payment of restitution to the alleged victim. A misdemeanor conviction can mean one year in jail, a one thousand dollar fine, and similar restitution.

Call an Experienced Forgery Attorney Today

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Contact the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today if you have been charged with forgery under California PC 402

Because your options and penalties vary so much, it is vital for you to contact an experienced defense attorney immediately.

With over 40 years of experience in the field, the forgery attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can help you. We currently hold offices in Orange CountyLos AngelesSan DiegoRiversideSan Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville. Visit our FAQs page for any questions or concerns that we may not have answered.

Also, call us today at 877-4-NO-JAIL (877-466-5245) for questions more specific to your case or fill out our online contact form for immediate assistance. We will get through this together.

[i] Information on Penal Code 470 retrieved from

[ii] Information on Penal Codes 470 – 472 retrieved

[iii] Information on Penal Code 473 retrieved from

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