Forgery | California Penal Code 470

California doesn’t take any crime committed within its borders lightly, but some crimes seem to carry sentences that some may find excessive considering the charge. Forgery is often one of these crimes. Many people think forgery is simply signing another person’s name to a document, but the law is much more in-depth than that.

There are several instances where a person may commit forgery without even knowing it. The crime carries severe punishments, and a forgery charge can even prevent a person from getting out of jail on bail. Knowing the fine distinctions of the law can prepare a person if they’re ever faced with a forgery charge.

What is Forgery?

California Penal Code 470 goes into great depth of what the crime of forgery entails. Whenever a person intends to commit a fraud while signing another person’s name without their authorization, it is obviously a forgery. There are other examples of the crime, though.

Trying to recreate another person’s signature to commit a fraud and altering legal documents are also considered forgery. A person can also be charged with forgery if they alter, falsify or counterfeit documents related to money, property, stocks or other goods. Falsifying notarized documents, wills, court records or any other legal document will also garner the charge.


It is important to contact a bail bond agency and a lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested for forgery, because the consequences of a conviction are severe. It is important to get out of jail as quickly as possible to start working on a defense. A very first conviction on a forgery charge can bring with it a three-year prison sentence. On top of this prison time, a person convicted of forgery will usually have to pay restitution to the victim of the crime and up to $10,000 in fines. As with most crimes in California, a person may also have to perform community service before being let off of the hook. These punishments may seem severe due to the fact that even writing a bad check can be considered forgery, but it is important to know that all of these penalties are a possibility.

Held Without Bail

There are not many crimes that a person can commit that will prevent them from getting bail at all. California Penal Code 1275 states that if a peace officer, judge or prosecutor believes that a person may use feloniously obtained money or assets to post bail, then the defendant can be held without bail until they can prove otherwise. Since forgery can be charged as a felony, many people would assume that assets used for bail could’ve been feloniously obtained. An attorney or bail bond agency can help in these situations, but getting bail will usually require proof of some type of income not illegally obtained.

Forgery is a serious crime within the state of California. It is important for a person to contact a bail bond agency as soon as possible to get out of jail. Bail becomes a difficult issue when forgery is involved, but bail bond agents can speak up for a person in court to help secure their release on bail. The range of punishments for forgery varies widely and can be extreme in some cases, so it is also important to secure a good lawyer. Knowing what the law says about forgery and how to handle the charge is the best way to have the indictment dropped.

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