Forgery requires more than signing someone else’s name. It requires that the person do so with a fraudulent intent.
A “fraudulent intent” means that the person seeks to deceptively cause harm to another, cause them to lose money, cause the act to gain the defrauder money, or any other act that causes the defrauder personal gain.
Some examples of acts that would amount to forgery are as follows:
- Submitting a California Driver’s License written test using another’s social security number and name.
- Signing someone else’s check with a simulation of their name so it can be cashed without their consent.
- Submitting an application for a credit card using someone else’s name.
Punishment for Forgery
Forgery is punished as a misdemeanor if the amount of damage or injury to the victim is $950 or less. If it is punished as a misdemeanor, then the sentence exposure is up to one year in county jail.
If the forgery is punished as a felony, you are exposed to up to 3 years in state prison.
Forging or altering a medical document is always charged as a misdemeanor and exposes the defendant to up to 6 months in county jail.
If punished as a felony, current California law provides that any sentence of state prison may be served in county jail pursuant to Penal Code section 1170(h)(1).