CA PC Section 115

Filing A False Document; Forgery

Filing a False Document

Filing a ‘False Document’ under California Penal Code Section 115 PC makes it a felony to file any forged or false document with a public office.

The law states:

(a) Every person who knowingly procures or offers any false or forged instrument to be filed, registered, or recorded in any public office within this state, which instrument, if genuine, might be filed, registered, or recorded under any law of this state or of the United States, is guilty of a felony.

Furthermore, it is important to note:

(b) Each instrument which is procured or offered to be filed, registered, or recorded in violation of subdivision (a) shall constitute a separate violation of this section.

The crime of ‘Filing a False Document’ is considered a white collar crime, and is most often associated with filing of false property deeds in connection with real estate fraud. However, as the law states it can apply to any filed, registered, or recorded document in any public office.

Some common examples of a ‘forged instrument’:

  • Real Estate Property Deeds
  • Lien for money
  • Bail Bonds
  • Fishing Records
  • Tax returns and income statements
  • Personal checks
  • Bank account records
  • Immigration documents (such as visas, passports, etc.)
  • Identification cards and birth certificates
  • Documents at the courthouse

Prosecuting CA PC 115

In order to bring charges; successfully convict someone of committing the crime of filing a false document, the prosecutor must prove to the judge all of the following:

  1. The defendant knowingly procured or offered a false or forged instrument
  2. The false or forged instrument was to be filed, registered, or recorded in a public office in California or the United States
  3. The instrument, if genuine, was one which was proper to file, register, or record
  4. The defendant knew that the instrument was false or forged

In essence, it MUST be proven beyond a doubt that the accused person knowingly altered or misrepresented factual information such as prices, monetary amounts, ownership, description of events, etc with the intent to defraud another. If this intent cannot be proven, then a conviction should not take place.

Penalties

A violation of PC section 115 is a felony, therefore the stakes are high.

Felony Penalties

  1. Felony (formal) probation;
  2. 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in California state prison; and/or
  3. A fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000)

Most people have a false perception that white-collar crimes are less serious than violent crimes or drug offenses, when in fact, in the eyes of the law they are treated as serious felonies. Do not make the mistake of taking these charges lightly, protect your freedom and rights.

Defending CA PC 115

As with most white-collar crimes these cases can be very paper-intensive, and the devil either is or isn’t in the details.

The primary aspects of the charge is that the defendant acted willfully in committing an act of fraud, and that you did or did not intend to defraud anyone with your actions. Another important detail to note is that the document filed must actually have the power to defraud.

We cannot stress enough consulting a licensed criminal defense attorney to discuss the details of your case. We invite you to call us to speak directly to our expert forgery defense lawyer immediately.

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