Counterfeiting goods and items is a crime in the state of California. It is also illegal to possess counterfeit items for the purpose of defrauding someone else. This crime is prosecuted using Penal Code 475.
You can be convicted under PC 475 as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Convictions can result in fines and/or incarceration. The Simmrin Law Group can help you learn more about how to fight a possession of counterfeit items charge. Call us at (310) 997-4688 to learn more.
The Possession of Counterfeit Items in California
The possession of counterfeit items is a type of forgery under California law. The state prosecutes violations of PC 475 as white-collar crimes. Individuals can be convicted of this crime if they acted to defraud someone else. Defrauding someone involves using dishonesty to trick them.
However, the possession of counterfeit materials only applies to certain acts of forgery. PC 475 charges are enforced if a person intends to defraud someone else by means of a forged item or by way of an unfinished or completed check.
Individuals must have a counterfeited item in their possession to face a PC 475 conviction in California. They must also know the item is forged. The possession of counterfeit items is a crime of intent.
Crimes of intent focus on just that—the intent of the person committing the crime. Individuals must intend to defraud someone to face a PC 475 conviction. PC 475 charges should not apply if someone accidentally passed on a forged item or check.
Similar Charges to PC 475
California uses a host of charges to prosecute white-collar crimes. Many of these crimes are similar to the crime of the possession of counterfeit items. Examples of other charges you could face include counterfeit marks or seals and forgery.
These charges prosecute individuals who counterfeit or forge items. You do not have to forge or counterfeit the item yourself to face PC 475 charges. This charge only applies to those who possess fraudulent items.
Legal Penalties Associated with PC 475
Individuals can face either misdemeanor or felony charges for a PC 475 violation. PC 475 is a “wobbler” charge. Prosecutors look at an individual’s criminal record when deciding how to prosecute the possession of counterfeit items. They also consider the facts of the current crime.
Misdemeanor and felony charges are not handled the same way in California. A misdemeanor conviction under PC 475 could result in one year of jail time, while individuals convicted of a felony face up to three years of prison time.
The court may also order probation in certain cases involving the possession of counterfeit items. Reach out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles for help handling these charges by calling (310) 997-4688.
Legal Defenses Available Under PC 475
You have options available to you if you’re accused of the possession of counterfeit items. The team at the Simmrin Law Group can help you construct your defense and argue that:
You Didn’t Know You Had a Forged Item in Your Possession
PC 475 is a crime of intent. This means that you had to have known you had a counterfeit item. You must also intend to defraud someone else with that item. If you thought you had a legitimate item, your lawyer may be able to help you avoid a PC 475 conviction.
You Were Falsely Accused
Not all criminal accusations made in California are legitimate. Sometimes, people are accused of crimes they didn’t commit. This can occur either by malice or as a case of mistaken identity. In either case, your lawyer can help you fight back.
You Didn’t Mean to Defraud Anyone
You must deliberately act to defraud someone out of money or goods in order to be convicted under PC 475 in California. If you accidentally offered someone a counterfeit item, your lawyer can help you fight this charge.
Fight Penal Code 475 Charges with the Simmrin Law Group
Were you accused of possession of counterfeit items in California? The Simmrin Law Group can help you build your legal defense. Reach out to our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles now for help at (310) 997-4688. You can also fill out our online contact form.
Contact us today for a free consultation.