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Forgery in San Diego County

Forgery in San Diego County and the State of California is a very serious allegation. Forgery is a Wobbler, which means the District Attorney can charge it as felony or misdemeanor. If charged as a misdemeanor the punishment carries up to one year in county jail; a felony conviction can result in up to three years in prison. If you have been previously convicted of felony forgery, you may be eligible under Prop 47 or Penal Code Section 17(b) to have your conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and eventually expunged.

Forgery charges are often associated with drug crimes – possession of methamphetamine (HS 11377(a)); possession of heroin, cocaine, Vicodin, Oxycontin (HS 11350); and possession of Xanax (HS 11375(b)(2)). Forgery can also include possessing, receiving or passing a forged or counterfeit document (PC 475a); making, possessing, or trying to pass a forged check (PC 476a); and counterfeiting (PC 477). Counterfeiting can carry up to four years in prison.

To be convicted of forgery, PC 470, the district attorney must prove the following:

  1. The defendant signed someone else’s name or a false name;
  2. The defendant did not have authority to sign that name;
  3. The defendant knew that he or she did not have that authority; AND
  4. When the defendant signed the document he or she intended to defraud.

Intent to Defraud:

Someone intends to defraud if he or she intends to deceive another person either to cause a loss of money, goods, services, or something of value, or to cause damage to a legal, financial or property right. Someone does not have to actually suffer a legal, financial or property loss.


The first issue to determine is whether or not there was a Fourth Amendment violation. If evidence (for example, the forged document) was obtained without a warrant and no warrant exception applied, it may inadmissible in court. Other issues may be unlawfully obtained statements in violation of the Fifth Amendment and Miranda rights. There are many other potential defenses that are case specific, including the person thought they had authority sign the document or they never intended to defraud anyone.

Forgery allegations are very serious and require an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Kern Law, APC, we have represented clients since 2004. If you are under investigation, or have been arrested or charged, contact my office today. We will provide a free, confidential consultation.