February 10, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

I am accused of forgery and/or counterfeiting and need a defense attorney

blank checkForgery has several definitions under the law. At its most basic, forgery is knowingly and intentionally creating false documents that are held out as genuine. That includes:

  • Signing someone else’s name, or the name of a person who doesn’t exist
  • Forging someone else’s handwriting
  • Altering or forging documents used as evidence in court
  • Falsifying, altering or forging a wide variety of legal documents, or trying to pass falsified documents as genuine, or knowingly receiving forged or counterfeited materials
  • Writing a bad check

The list of legal documents that may not be altered or forged is long, but it includes wills, court judgments, checks and other financial documents, deeds or certificates of ownership, medical records, tickets for public or private transit, driver’s licenses and lottery tickets. Importantly, all forgery crimes require the intent to defraud: i.e., you cannot be convicted of forgery if you did not realize a document was false, added material intended to clarify or correct a document or otherwise made an innocent mistake.

Forgery can be either a misdemeanor or a felony in California, depending on how much was allegedly stolen and whether there are prior convictions. People accused of writing bad checks can often enter a diversion program, which is an alternative sentence that requires you to attend financial skills classes and pay restitution. If you complete it successfully, the charges will be wiped from your record.

Counterfeiting money is a separate crime and includes counterfeiting gold and silver as well as coins and bills; passing and procuring counterfeited items; and making or owning equipment for counterfeiting. Except for equipment-only violations, these crimes must be done knowingly and with the intention to defraud someone. You cannot be convicted of counterfeiting if you can prove that you didn’t know the material was counterfeited. Counterfeiting is always a felony, carrying two to four years in prison.

Speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

At Wallin & Klarich, we believe everyone is entitled to a thorough and aggressive defense, no matter what the charge. After more than 30 years of practicing law in California, we are proud to say that we’ve successfully defended many thousands of Californians facing serious criminal charges. Thanks to our experience and the former prosecutors on our staff, we know all of the most common strategies prosecutors use — and how to counter them. And because we know facing criminal charges can be stressful, we’re always available to take your calls — 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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