Forgery is a big problem in California.  You may think writing a bad check is no big deal, but the state of California feels differently. Writing a bad check is considered to be a crime of forgery. The state takes forgery very seriously. If you are arrested for forgery in California, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the amount of the check or other document you are alleged to have forged.


Don’t take a forgery charge lightly. A conviction could result in big fines, jail time; and permanently appear on your public record. Take steps to protect your rights – contact the law office of Orange County, CA forgery lawyer Jim Tanizaki without delay. Jim has helped clients all over Orange County defend themselves against forgery and other fraud charges.

What is Forgery in California?

In California, a person commits forgery when they:

  • Sign the name of another person or of a fictitious person.
  • Counterfeit or forge the seal or handwriting of another.
  • Alter, corrupt, or falsify a public record such as a will.
  • Falsely make, alter, forge, or counterfeit, utters, publishes, passes or attempts or offers to pass, as true and genuine documents they know to be false, altered, forged, or counterfeited. These documents can include:
    • Checks
    • Money orders
    • Bonds
    • Bank bills
    • Lottery tickets
    • Promissory notes
    • Due bills for payment of money or property,
    • Receipt for money or property
    • Passage tickets
    • Cashier’s checks
    • Traveler’s checks
    • Power of attorney
    • Certificates of shares

Penalties for Forgery in California

The penalties for forgery depend on the value of the forged item. In California, forgery is a misdemeanor offense unless the value of the forged item is over $950. A conviction for a misdemeanor charge of forgery could get you up to one year in county jail and fines of up to $1000.

If the value of the forged item is greater than $950, you could be charged with felony forgery. A conviction for felony forgery in California could cost you up to $10,000 in fines and anywhere from sixteen months to three years in county jail.

A judge may also order you to pay restitution, attend a diversion program, and perform community service as part of your sentence.

Defenses in a Forgery Trial

Jim Tanizaki is a former Orange County DA turned criminal defense attorney. He knows the tactics the state will use to try to make their charges stick. Depending on the circumstances in your case, there are many ways to defend yourself against forgery charges. A few possible forgery defense strategies can include:

  • You had no intent to defraud anyone
  • You believed that you had consent or authority to sign another’s name
  • The accusations against you are false
  • The evidence against you was illegally obtained

In order to get a conviction, the prosecution must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. All you need to do is convince one juror that maybe you aren’t guilty to get acquitted of the charges.

Speak to an Orange County CA Forgery Attorney

If you’ve been charged with forgery or other type of fraud in Orange County, CA, contact the law office of Jim Tanizaki using our website or call us at (714) 655-7633 to schedule a free confidential initial consultation with a leading Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney. Jim’s vast legal expertise and skill often result in reduced or dismissed charges for his clients.