San Diego Counterfeit Lawyer
The illegal forgery of documents, currency and goods in California is strictly prohibited under the California counterfeit law. Counterfeiting can be clearly stated as knowingly creating, manipulating or altering any goods that imitate the original one with an intention to sell it as genuine. When goods are involved in the case, then counterfeiting is a matter of clear trademark infringement and patent infringement. But counterfeiting of money is much more serious in nature and is treated under the federal law.
California Counterfeit Law
In California, counterfeiting any financial instrument is treated under the California penal code sections 470 through 483.5 and the act of counterfeiting is strictly prohibited in the state. Anyone who possesses counterfeit goods or engages in business with fraudulent products, or attempts to create or use precious metals or currency in the guise of real money is guilty of counterfeiting in California.
Possession of Counterfeit Goods – Penal Code Section 350
Selling an item with a fake or counterfeit label in California without the manufacturer’s consent is considered to be a criminal offense under trademark violation rules and is liable to face criminal consequences. The California penal code section 350 clearly states counterfeiting of goods in California as a serious crime so that the punishments for such conduct includes jail, prison and fines.
Counterfeiting Identity Card or Driver’s License in California
The California penal code section 470 PC outlines that “every person who falsifies, forges, alters or counterfeits identity card or driver’s license issued by the government with a fraud intention is guilty of counterfeiting in California”. Any card issued by the government will be treated under this law such that any act of forgery or counterfeiting is strictly prohibited in the state.
The common violations of the California forgery or counterfeit law under this section include:
- Altering the birth date that appears on the identity card or driver’s license
- Changing the name or physical description that appears on the card
- Altering or changing the photograph that appears on the card
- Any change of expiry date that is given on the card
- California Law on Counterfeit Money
Any resident of California who knowingly creates or manipulates a financial instrument with the clear intention to defraud another individual or a business is guilty of counterfeiting. You have to face federal conviction if you engage in counterfeiting federal currency or any other interstate commerce using counterfeit goods. The counterfeit of money includes:
- Counterfeit of gold and silver coins under California penal code section 479 PC
- Illegal creation and use of plates or dies to counterfeit gold under section 480 (a)PC
Facts to be Proved by the San Diego Prosecutor
In order to convict you under the California counterfeit law, the prosecutor must prove the following elements. These elements often depend on the nature of the criminal charge.
- Defendant possessed counterfeit goods;
- He/she had the clear intention to defraud and
- Corrupted, falsified or altered any financial instrument or legal document
The prosecution must make strong and cemented points against the defendant to prove that he/she had intentionally committed the counterfeiting crime in California.
California Counterfeit Defenses
An experienced criminal defense attorney of the San Diego law firm of The Hullinger Firm would be your perfect choice to handle any sort of counterfeit charges in California. If you are convicted of counterfeiting in California, you need to hire an attorney who excels in this arena. The possible elements of defense include:
- You lacked fraudulent intent while committing the crime or
- Police created illegal evidence on you;
- Altered product lacks the ability to defraud,
- You were not aware of it.
Counterfeiting Penalties in California
Depending on the nature of the case and criminal history of the convicted person, the California counterfeit law under penal code section 470(a) PC may be considered as “wobbler” offense where the charge can be treated as misdemeanor or felony. The size and scale of the charge often determine the level of punishment. A counterfeit charge is a serious federal offense that demands striking penalties. The possible sentencing and penalties for counterfeit charge in California include:
- Currency counterfeiting results in federal imprisonment penalties where life imprisonment is awarded to the convicted person as the maximum penalty.
- Fines are determined by estimating the damages caused by the counterfeit act.
- Counterfeiting identity card or driver’s license may be charged as misdemeanor where the convicted person have to face imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year and up to maximum fines of up to $1,000. When charged as a felony, you may have to face imprisonment in the California state prison for about 16 months or up to two or three years along with a maximum fine of $10,000.
- If the value of misdemeanor counterfeiting is less than $400, you may receive prison sentence of up to 1 year in the county jail.
- Misdemeanor counterfeit charges are often accompanied with fines of up to $1,000 while felony charges result in $10,000 fine.
Should You Hire a California Counterfeit Lawyer?
Counterfeiting is a critical criminal offense in California and you need an expert lawyer to strongly defend you in the court.
Get your counterfeit case on the right track with the San Diego Defense Attorney of The Hullinger Firm. You deserve first class representation and only an expert lawyer can produce successful results!
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Scott Hullinger, Esq.
Criminal and Civil Attorney