San Diego Forgery Lawyer

A Brief Summary of the Following Article

  • Forgery, under California’s Penal Code Section 470, involves creating or altering documents with intent to deceive or defraud, including checks, contracts, and currency.
  • Key elements of forgery include false making/alteration, intent to defraud, use/possession of a forged document, knowledge of forgery, and the document’s legal efficacy.
  • Potential defenses against forgery charges include lack of intent, mistaken identity, duress, legal invalidity of the document, insufficient evidence, and mental incapacity.
  • Accused individuals should consult a forgery attorney in San Diego for a tailored defense strategy, ensuring their rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Facing forgery charges can be an overwhelming experience, as these allegations carry severe legal consequences. Forgery is a complex criminal offense that involves deceit, fraudulent documents, and a breach of trust. To navigate the intricate landscape of forgery charges, one must understand the legal nuances surrounding this offense and be aware of potential defenses. It’s important to work with an experienced forgery defense attorney in San Diego who can help you navigate the charges you face and give you the best chance at an outcome that protects your rights and best interests. 

You don’t have to confront the legal system alone. At Bernal Law, our forgery defense attorneys recognize the complexities and gravity of forgery charges and are here to provide expert legal guidance and unwavering support. Your rights and future are our top priorities, and we are here to stand by your side.

What Is the Definition of Forgery in California?

Forgery is defined under Section 470 of the California Penal Code. The legal definition of forgery encompasses a range of fraudulent activities primarily revolving around creating, altering, or misusing documents or instruments with the intent to deceive, defraud, or commit a crime. The following elements must be established in a case of forgery:

  • False Making or Alteration: The defendant must have made, altered, or counterfeited a document or instrument, which can include various items such as checks, deeds, wills, contracts, or even currency. 
  • With the Intent to Defraud: Intent is a pivotal element in forgery cases. The defendant must have had the specific intent to defraud someone, commit a crime, or engage in a fraudulent act. 
  • Use or Possession of a Forged Document: The defendant must have either used, offered, or attempted to use the forged document to defraud or deceive someone. Additionally, mere possession of a forged document intending to defraud can constitute forgery in California.
  • Knowledge of the Forgery: To be charged with forgery, the defendant must be aware that the document in question is false, altered, or counterfeit. Lack of knowledge of the forgery can be a valid defense against forgery charges.
  • The Document Must Be Capable of Legal Efficacy: The forged document must be one that, if genuine, would have legal efficacy. In other words, the document should have the potential to legally affect rights, obligations, or interests.

It’s important to note that forgery in California encompasses a wide range of acts, from faking signatures on checks to altering contracts, deeds, or legal documents. The severity of the charges and potential penalties can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the forgery.

What Are Possible Defenses for Forgery Charges?

Forgery is a serious criminal offense that carries significant legal consequences. However, individuals accused of forgery have the right to a robust defense to protect their rights and seek justice. Potential defenses against forgery charges can include the following:

  • Lack of Intent: The prosecution must prove that the accused had the specific intent to defraud or deceive to secure a conviction. A viable defense is to argue that there was no intent to commit forgery. 
  • Mistaken Identity: This may occur when someone else is responsible for the forgery, and the accused is wrongfully accused due to a resemblance in signatures or other identifying factors.
  • Lack of Knowledge: The defense can assert that the accused had no knowledge that the document was forged. For example, if the accused was provided with a document by someone they trusted and believed it to be genuine, they may not have had the requisite knowledge to commit forgery.
  • Duress or Coercion: If the accused was forced or coerced into participating in the forgery, this can be a strong defense. 
  • Legal Invalidity of the Document: Another defense strategy is to argue that the document in question was invalid or had no legal efficacy to begin with. If the document would not have had a legal impact, it may not meet the legal criteria for forgery.
  • Statute of Limitations: In some cases, forgery charges may be subject to a statute of limitations. The charges may be dismissed if the alleged forgery occurred outside the statutory timeframe for prosecution.
  • Invalid Arrest or Search: If the accused’s rights were violated during the arrest or search, such as a lack of a proper warrant, this can be a defense strategy to challenge the charges.

Defending against forgery charges can be a complex and challenging process, but individuals accused of forgery have the right to a strong legal defense. It is essential to consult with an experienced San Diego forgery defense attorney who can assess the details of the case and craft a tailored defense strategy. 

Contact Our Experienced San Diego Forgery Lawyer at Bernal Law

At Bernal Law, our forgery defense lawyers offer a unique advantage with our founder’s former prosecutorial experience that provides a deep understanding of the strategies used by the other side. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Mr. Bernal is committed to delivering top-notch legal representation, especially in cases involving complex white-collar crimes, fraud, and federal offenses where results are paramount. 

With his extensive background as a Deputy District Attorney and Special Assistant United States Attorney, our firm is well-equipped to be your unwavering advocate, ensuring that your rights are protected and you have the best possible outcome when facing forgery charges. Your future and peace of mind are our utmost concern, and we are here to stand by your side through this challenging journey. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Bernal Law. Contact us today for a consultation by calling (619) 736-9092 or completing our online contact form.