Individuals in California sometimes attempt to make forged documents appear legitimate by stamping them with a faked public seal. California Penal Code Section 472: Forging or Possessing a Fraudulent Public Seal is used to prosecute individuals who take this action.
Go over the definition of public seals right here with the Simmrin Law Group. You can consider the legal applications of PC 472 charges. Review the penalties for a conviction for forging or possessing a fraudulent seal and consider some common legal defenses with this article.
Public Seals in the State of California
Before we dig into the facts surrounding PC 472, let’s get specific about what public seals are in the state of California. According to the legal system, public seals can include:
- The Seal of the State
- The Seal of the Court of Record
- The Seal of Any Corporation
- The Seal of a Public Officer (When Authorized by the Law)
This law also covers all public seals that are given recognition or authorization by the laws of:
- Other States
- Other Countries
- The Federal Government
Forging or possession a fraudulent copy of any of these seals can lead to PC 472 charges in California.
The Legal Definition of Forging or Possessing a Fraudulent Public Seal
We’ve reviewed the public seals that are covered by PC 472. An individual can be charged with a criminal act if they:
- Forge or Counterfeit Any of These Seals
- Forge or Counterfeit the Impression of Any of These Seals
- Possess a Counterfeited Seal or the Impression of a Counterfeited Seal
Individuals must carry out these actions with the intent of defrauding another person to face PC 472 charges. This means that not all acts of forging or possessing a fraudulent public seal should be prosecuted as a criminal act.
Other Charges Like PC 472 in California
Penal Code Section 470: Forgery is the basic legal code used to handle acts of forgery in California. However, the state also uses a number of other specific charges to prosecute acts of forgery, including:
- Penal Code Section 132 and 134: Offering or Preparing False Evidence
- Penal Code Section 470a: Forgery of a Driver’s License
- Penal Code Section 476: Check Fraud
Forgery is often tied very closely to fraud charges, including bank fraud. You can boost your understanding of fraud and forgery charges in California by speaking with a white collar crimes lawyer in Los Angeles. A legal professional can help you focus on the unique aspects of different forgery and fraud accusations.
Results of a Conviction for Forging or Possessing a Fraudulent Public Seal
California’s court system can prosecute PC 472 as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The penalties are generally more severe for felony charges. However, in both cases forging or possession a fraudulent public seal can result in:
- Up to $1,000 for a Misdemeanor Conviction
- Up to $10,000 for a Felony Conviction
- Up to One Year in Jail for a Misdemeanor Conviction
- Up to Three Years in Prison for a Felony Conviction
Defenses for Forging or Possessing a Fraudulent Public Seal in California
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you deal with PC 472 accusations in California. Getting professional help on your side quickly can increase your odds of beating a forging or possessing a fraudulent public seal charge. Your lawyer can go over all the facts of your case and may be able to build your defense by arguing that:
You Did Not Intent to Commit Fraud
PC 472 charges require individuals to misuse a forged public seal or it’s imprint in order to commit fraud. If you had no intention to commit an act of fraud, you should not be convicted for forging or possessing a fraudulent public seal.
You Thought the Public Seal or Impression Was Legitimate
Sometimes, individuals in California make use of a public seal – or the impression of a public seal – that they believe to be legitimate because someone else misled them. If you thought the seal or impression your possession was legitimate, you shouldn’t be convicted under PC 472.
Speak with a Lawyer About Forging or Possessing a Fraudulent Public Seal Charges
You can start working on a defense for California Penal Code Section 472: Forging or Possessing a Fraudulent Public Seal accusations now. Let the Simmrin Law Group go over your legal options today. Fill out our online contact form or call (310) 997-4688 so we can get to work.
Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can provide you with a FREE consultation today.