Is Counterfeiting A Felony in California? | Know Your Rights
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Is Counterfeiting a Felony in California?

The penalty an individual may receive for counterfeiting varies depending on the state they reside in. California Penal Code 350 makes it a crime to knowingly possess, sell, or manufacture counterfeit items, such as fake versions of branded sporting gear, clothing, jewelry, and other items.

At the Crowell Law Offices, we know it can be tough to fight these charges alone. That’s why we’re here to help. Read on for more information on how California addresses those prosecuted on counterfeiting charges and what to do should you find yourself facing these charges yourself.

What Is Counterfeiting?

Counterfeiting is the intentional manipulation, creation, or duplication of items or documents to defraud a business or individual, as laid out in Section 470 of the California Penal Code. Currency is often subject to counterfeiting, with those involved producing imitation money, coins, tickets, and documents to exchange for legitimate currency.

Counterfeiting often goes hand in hand with forgery, the alteration or false signing of an existing document with intent to defraud.  According to California State Law, counterfeiting may result in felony charges, but this is often dependent on the scale of the operation, with the counterfeiting of items such as trading cards or tickets sometimes prosecuted as misdemeanor offenses.

How Is Counterfeiting Punishable?

Under the California Penal Code, individuals charged for counterfeiting may face prison sentences. For a misdemeanor, there is a maximum sentence of one year to be served in county jail.

Those facing felony charges may be sentenced to imprisonment in county jail for up to three years. Those found guilty may also be required to pay a substantial fine, ranging from $1000 on a misdemeanor charge to $10,000 on a felony, dependent once more on the scale of the charge.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I’m Charged with Counterfeiting?

If you’re facing counterfeiting or forgery charges, you should consult an experienced lawyer for advice on how best to proceed. Your lawyer will help you prepare the best defense possible and negotiate with the prosecution in the hopes of reaching an agreement regarding sentencing.

They’ll also work to modify your charges where possible, to have felony charges reduced to misdemeanors or dismissed entirely. Common defenses when challenging counterfeiting charges include the following:

  • You did not know about the crime
  • You had no intent to defraud
  • You were falsely accused

Any evidence for these defenses will be taken into account by your lawyer. Your lawyer will then present your defense in court to get your charges reduced or dismissed completely.

Finding the Right Lawyer in California

If you’re facing counterfeiting charges and need legal advice or representation, the first step is finding the right lawyer for you. Contact our team at the Crowell Law Offices to discuss your case and see what we can do to help.

We strive to offer the guidance or representation our clients need, so give us all call today on 916-303-2800 or fill out the online contact form below. We’ll do everything we can do to help, so don’t hesitate—reach out to the team today.