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Forgery & Counterfeiting Laws in California

Forgery & Counterfeiting

What are Forgery and Counterfeiting?

Forgery and counterfeiting are two examples of white-collar crimes. These are crimes with a financial motive that are nonviolent in nature. Forgery covers illegal acts related to the signing, altering, or making of documents or other records with an intent to defraud. Similarly, counterfeiting requires someone to act to defraud and covers the activities related to creating an unlawful imitation of documents.

What Does a Prosecutor Need To Prove a Counterfeiting or Forgery Case?

While some nuances differentiate the two, there are some unifying factors to consider. The main one being that the act has to be committed with an intent to defraud. For example, if someone were to create counterfeit currency that was meant as a joke, they might be ruled innocent.

Things To Remember

When it comes to these types of cases, some specifics can come up depending on the item or document that is forged or counterfeited. This is why it’s hard to nail down specific penalties as well. Forgery and counterfeiting can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the case. Felony counterfeiting carries a punishment of two to four years in jail while felony forgery sentencings range from sixteen months to three years. Interestingly, this is relatively lenient compared to some states which can have sentences as long as fifteen years for certain types of forgery.

If you’re accused of forgery or counterfeiting, you should seek experienced counsel. Our Santa Barbara, CA-based firm has more than thirty years of combined legal experience and has helped reduce charges, lessen fines, and achieved outright dismissals of white-collar crimes.

Need help with your case? The lawyers at Appel & Morse have over thirty years of legal experience and can offer you a free consultation. Give us a call at (805) 467-6060 or fill out an online contact form.​

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