The filing of false documents is a non-violent crime classified under white-collar crime in California. The offense is mostly committed by those people with particular positions of power. Filing false documents being a white-collar crime means that filing of a false document can be charged by the California state and the federal government. Other forms of white-collar crimes in California include embezzlement, perjury, insurance fraud, computer crime, and real estate fraud.
The punishment for white-collar crime is severe and can have a life-changing impact. If you are convicted for a white-collar crime in California, you can face up to five years imprisonment in the state prison. You will also pay a fine of up to $150,000 and any other restitution costs involved. The penalties can be added depending on the number of times you have been convicted for the same. Other forms of white-collar crimes in California include embezzlement, perjury, insurance fraud, computer crime, real estate fraud. Real estate and mortgage fraud, workers compensation fraud and insurance fraud, and Medicare fraud.
A good example of the crime is when you forge a property transfer deed and state that you bought it from the rightful owner. After the filing, you then use the false documents to secure another property or even a loan facility. If the police arrest you, they will not only charge you for filing false documents, but also for a fraud case. To evade the harsh penalties that come with the white-collar crimes, contact your attorney to help you fight the charges and have your case dismissed or reduced.
Filing false documents is a severe crime charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on how extreme your charges are. Therefore, the penalties associated with the criminal act are harsh, and you wouldn't like to bear it all alone. You require legal representation from an attorney to defend your case and have it dismissed or reduced.
If the police arrest you for filing false documents, it is important to contact The Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney to see you and defend the case on your behalf. The attorney is well knowledgeable and understands all the legal procedures that should be followed to increase the chances of winning. Many defendants have successfully legal representations from our attorney and have free of charge, and others have had their charges reduced.
Legal Definition of Filing of False Documents
Filing a false document can be defined as when you deliberately offer or procure a forged or fraudulent document to be registered, recorded, or filed in a California public office. The false document does not necessarily have to be filed for you to be convicted. Still, even a mere presentation of the documents for filing to a public office is a crime under California law.
Filing false documents is a crime under California law. You will therefore be charged for a felony conviction if you file false documents with a public office. The documents include probation work referrals, bonds, tiles, and finishing records. For the prosecutor to convict you for filing false documents, they must prove that all the crime elements are met. They include:
- You filed forged or false documents with a public office deliberately.
- You provided false documents to be filed with the public office.
- During the time of filing, you well knew that the documents were forged.
- The false documents were filed in the United States or a California public office.
As said earlier, just a mere presentation of false documents is enough to convict you for filing false documents under the California Law. Legal representation is good so that your attorney can investigate your case and identify the best legal defenses that will help win your case.
Your Constitutional Rights in a Criminal Trial
Even if you are charged for a criminal offense, you have a constitutional right as a Californian citizen. For example, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. Other rights include:
- Legal representation from an attorney of your choice.
- The right to testify
- Right to remain silent
- The right to examine the witnesses to testify
- The right to be considered innocent until proven guilty
- The right to a speedy and fair trial
Penalties for Filing False Documents
Filing false documents is charged as a felony and is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years in the county jail or the state prison. You will also be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000
There is a chance that you will be awarded probation in addition to the other penalties. That will be the case if you have a prior conviction for filing false documents, or you caused a loss to the victim of goods valued more than $100,000.
You will have separate charges depending on the number of fake documents you will have presented or filed. It means that the penalties can be even more severe if you have more than one false document.
You can also face an aggravated white-collar crime enhancement if it is proven that:
- Your actions brought a loss of more than$100,000to the victim.
- Committing felony crimes is a pattern of misconduct.
- You committed a felony crime against more than one person on the same occasion.
- By the time you are being convicted for filing false documents, you had prior convictions about fraud.
Some of the additional penalties that you will face will the enhancement are:
- Payment of a fine of up to $500,000
- You can also pay double the loss you caused to the victim, whichever is greater.
- You behave an additional five years imprisonment in the state prison.
Enhancement of Sentence for Filing False Documents
In addition to the penalties that you face when charged for filing false documents, California courts have the ability to enhance your sentence. If your conviction is enhanced, you face additional punishment if:
- You cause harm to the victim by making them lose more than $65,000. If it proved that you wanted to defraud the victim the amount, your jail term service is increased with four more years.
- You have committed an aggravated white-collar crime. There will be an additional five years in the state prison and payment of a fine of up to $500,000.
- The documents you have falsified affect a mortgage or a title of a single-family.
- You will be a subject to the enhancement if:
- You have two or more prior convictions for a fraud-related case.
- The prior felony convictions have a pattern of a particular criminal record.
- The crimes you have committed before were against the same victim or two or more victims on more than one occasion.
- The crime you committed led to the damage of goods worth $100.000.
Immigration Consequences after Being Charged for Filing False Documents
If you are charged for falsifying any document to cause a fraud, then you face immigration consequences, in addition to the misdemeanor or felony penalties. If you have been admitted to a county and the police arrest you for filing false documents, you will face deportation. Deportation will affect you if you have committed the crime within the first five years of admission in that country. You will also be deported if you have been charged for filing false documents, and you had prior convictions of a different criminal offense.
If the prosecutor finds you guilty of filing false documents in your country, your movement to other countries will also be limited. Therefore, your freedom of movement to different countries will be limited, and you cannot obtain citizenship from any other country apart from your own.
Legal Defenses for Filing False Documents
Every crime has its unique elements that need a thorough investigation from a qualified attorney. The attorney will investigate the evidence and facts and determine the best option to defend your case. The attorney will do so by presenting some legal defenses that will prove that you did not file false documents deliberately or did not know that the documents you filed were false. Some of the common legal defense that your attorney will present before the court is:
Lack of Intent
As said earlier, before the prosecutor convicts you for filing false documents, they must prove that you deliberately filed the documents in the California public office, knowing that they were fake. Your attorney will defend your case by arguing that you did not have an intention to defraud anyone. The attorney will also prove that it was an honest mistake that you filed the fake documents. If the prosecutor is content with the defense, your charges will be reduced or dropped.
The Filing of False Documents was Accidental
For the prosecutor to convict you for filing false documents, they must prove that you did it intentionally. If arrested by the police due to the filing of false documents, you can have your case dismissed if you involve a qualified attorney. The attorney will argue that it could be a mistake with the documents since there is a lot of paperwork, and there could be a mix-up of documents.
The Filing was Not in A Public Office
For you to be convicted for filing false documents, it has to be proved that the filing was done in a public office. If charged for filing false documents, you can have your charges reduced or the case dismissed if you contact an attorney to defend the case on your behalf. The attorney will argue that you did not present the documents for filing in a public office. If you filed the fake documents in a private office, you would be charged, but then the penalties will be modified.
You Did Not Have the Consent That the Documents Were Fake
There are some instances that the legal owner of the document may deceive you into signing. You may end up signing a forged document without your consent. In this case, you will not have committed a crime because you had the owner's permission to sign the documents. If the owner files charges against you for forgery, there is a likelihood that the police will arrest you, and you will get charged for the offense.
Legal representation is essential because you are sure that you did not do any misconduct and are not supposed to be charged. Your lawyer will do a thorough investigation to prove that you were deceived into signing the documents. If the evidence presented by the attorney is enough to prove your innocence, the case will be dismissed.
Crimes Related to Filing of False Documents
It is a crime under California law to abuse anyone above 65years of age. The abuse, in this case, is emotional and physical abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect. Therefore, you will be charged if you have filed false documents that may lead to an older person's economic exploitation. Some of the examples of the crime include:
- Ridiculing an elderly who is bound in a wheelchair
- Refusing to feed an older person who cannot feed on themselves
- Fraudulently convincing an older person to make yourself the beneficiary of their will.
The crime is charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the evidence provided for your case. Misdemeanor conviction penalties are serving a jail term of up to one year in the county jail. A felony conviction penalty is an imprisonment for up to four years in the state prison. In addition to that, you will undergo either a felony or misdemeanor probation.
Some of the legal defenses that will help reduce your charges or dismiss your case are:
- You are falsely accused.
- You did not commit the crime and
- You did not commit the crime intentionally.
Hiring an attorney will help defend your case, and you will likely walk free from the courtroom.
You will be charged with committing a forgery if you falsify a signature or alter any information in any document that doesn't belong to you. According to the California law, it is a crime to:
- Forge or counterfeit the handwriting or the seal of another person
- Sign someone else’s name
- Falsify, corrupt, or alter any information in a legal will or judgment
- Forge, change, counterfeit, or falsely make certain types of documents to look like bonds, cheque, or money orders.
Forgery is a wobbler offense meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If your criminal act is charged as a misdemeanor, you serve a jail term of up to one year in the county jail. If charged as a felony, you will serve a jail term of up to three years in County jail. In addition to that, you will be put on a mandatory misdemeanor or felony probation.
There are some legal defenses that your attorney will present to prove your innocence. The common defenses include:
- You had no intention to cause the fraud.
- You were forced to confess that you committed the crime.
- You were falsely accused of forgery.
Perjury As Relates to Filing False Documents
Perjury can be defined as giving false testimony deliberately while under oath. For example:
- Giving false information about an accident for you to gain favor under the personal injury law
- Providing false information on the material matter in any signed legal document
- Giving false information about a suspect
Perjury is charged as a felony whose penalties are felony probation and imprisonment for up to four years in the state prison.
To have your perjury charges reduced or case against you dismissed, you should have an attorney who will present the legal defenses to prove your innocence. The defense include:
- The perjury was not intentional.
- The person involved is not under oath and
- The subject matter is not material.
- Falsifying Reports for Auto Theft
It is a crime under the California law to file or make a false report of any stolen vehicle to cause a fraud. If it is your first time to commit the crime, your case will be charged as a misdemeanor, where you will serve a jail term of up to one tear in the county jail.
Convictions for Filing False Documents and Gun Rights
If you are charged for filing false documents, then your gun rights are also affected. It is a requirement under the California law that, once convicted as a felony, you should relinquish any firearm that you own or possess. You are also prohibited from purchasing one if you did not have one. You should return the gun to a law enforcement agency or an authorized firearm dealer until your charges are over.
Therefore, it is a good reason to involve your attorney if your charges will deny you your right to own a gun.
Expungement of Your Conviction
Expungement is a process that is aimed at removing your criminal records from the public database. Your criminal histories will be eligible for expungement if:
- In your prior offenses, you did not serve a jail term
- You completed your probation term as required
- You served imprisonment that would otherwise be served in the county jail.
Filing false documents is a criminal offense charged as a felony and is punishable by imprisonment. Therefore, it means that you cannot have your records expunged because imprisonment reduces your chances of the record removal.
The Trial Process
For your case to be concluded, there are steps for the court proceeding you will have to follow. They are:
The Arraignments Process
Arraignment is the first process of your trial, where you are supposed to appear before the judge after your arrest. It is at this stage that the charges filed against you are read out. You also have an opportunity to contact your attorney if you have one. In case you do not have, you have a right to get a public defender to see you through the process. During the arraignment process, you are considered innocent until you are proven guilty.
It is the second step in your trial process. At this step, the prosecutor makes a preliminary version of your case. The judge will argue that you committed the crime, and there is a probable reason for your arrest. The information provided at this step is the one that the judge will have to prove for you to be convicted.
The second arraignment will come fourteen days after your first appearance in court. In the second hearing, you will be responding to the preliminary hearing that there was a probable cause that led to your arrest. At this step, you will be put in custody to defend the charges against you.
A motion, which is a legal request, is written to the presiding judge to make a rule on the legal matter. At this stage, various issues are resolved, and you will therefore be required to have your attorney with you to guide you through the process.
The Trial Process
The verdict of your criminal case will be determined at this stage, by a jury. At this stage, the prosecutor is supposed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you indeed filed false documents to a public office. On the other hand, you are supposed to prove to the prosecutor that you did not commit the crime. Your defense will be made possible with the help of a qualified attorney.
Find A Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Filing false documents in California is a severe offense whose penalties can affect your life. The penalties range from serving a jail term, imprisonment, and payment of fines. Therefore, you need legal representation from a qualified attorney to handle your case and evade the harsh penalties. The Los Angeles criminal defense attorney is knowledgeable and has dealt with different white-collar crimes, and the defendants have had their case dismissed or charges against them reduced.
If the police arrest you or your loved one for filing false documents, contact The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney to defend the case on your behalf. Contact us on 310-564-2605 and get the legal representation from an experienced attorney.