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California Penal Code 115 PC Filing A False Document

Mar 21, 2019 | Criminal Defense

Under California Penal Code 115 filing a false document states, anyone who intentionally procures or offers a false or forged instrument to be filed, registered, or recorded in a California public office is guilty of a felony crime.

The Element “To Offer” in California Penal Code Section 115 Charges

“To offer” means to cause or present the document to a government agency, but the document does not actually need to be filed for being convicted of violating California Penal Code Section 115.

Prosecutor Must Establish The Following to Convict Defendant Under PC Section 115

Prosecutor must establish the following element for convicting a person under PC Section 115.

  • Defendant either offered or procured a document for filing, recording or registration with any public office in California
  • Defendant was aware that the document was false or forged when filed it
  • Defendant intentionally altered or misrepresented factual information such as monetary amounts, prices, description of events, ownership, etc with intention to defraud another person
  • The document, if genuine, was one which could be legally filed

Examples of False or Forged Documents for Purposes of Penal Code 115

Though the crime of filing false instruments is most often associated with filing of false property deeds in connection with real estate fraud, California Penal Code Section 115 applies to almost any type of document filed with a state government office. Here are some common examples of forged instruments.

  • Bail bonds
  • Tax returns and income statements
  • Lien for money
  • Bank account records
  • Fishing records
  • Personal checks
  • Identification cards and birth certificates
  • Immigration documents

What are the Penalties for California Penal Code 115 Conviction?

Under California Penal Code 115, filing a false document is a felony. In case the defendant filled or recorded multiple documents, he can be charged with separate counts of California Penal Code 115 violations for each document, even if the documents had similar matters or were closely related. The potential penalties for each count are the following:

  • Sixteen months, two or three years in state prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Felony probation

Situations where Defendant Wont Be Given Probation in Penal Code 115 Cases

The defendant won’t be given probation under Penal Code 115 PC in Cases where

  • He had previously been convicted for violating PC Section 115 or
  • One instance of filing of false or forged documents caused more than $100,000 damages to the victim

Sentencing Enhancements for Penal Code Section 115 PC

In some particular circumstances the defendant can receive additional punishments to the sentence, known as “Sentencing Enhancements”:

  • The defendant can face an additional fine of up to $75,000 in case the forged or false document affected or encumbered the title or mortgage to a single family residence with up to four residential units.
  • The defendant can face an additional sentence of one to four years if a victim is harmed by a loss of more than $65,000 and the prosecution can prove that he intended to cause such a loss.

Can a Defendant Face Aggravated White Collar Crime Enhancement in Penal Code 115 Charges?

Defendant can also face an aggravated white collar crime enhancement, in case:

  • He was already convicted for two or more felonies connected with fraud related crimes
  • He committed felonies  against two or more victims or against one victim but on more than one occasion
  • Felonies represent a pattern of criminal conduct
  • His actions brought more than $100,000 damage to victims

What Are the Penalties for Aggravated White Collar Crime Enhancement

The penalties for aggravated white collar crime enhancement are the following:

  • Additional one to five 5 years in state prison
  • A fine up to $500,000 in fines or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater

Penal Code 115(a) Filing A False Document Defense Lawyer

For answers to any other questions you may still have about California Penal Code 115(a) charges or to discuss your case confidentially with our team of experienced California criminal defense attorneys give us a call at 310-933-5171. Our lawyers in Glendale, Los Angeles County, CA, are highly dedicated to serving the needs of our clients.