Filing a False Document
“White collar crimes” are nonviolent offenses usually committed to seek financial reward. California criminalizes certain acts, such as bribery, extortion, or filing a false document. Imprisonment, heavy fines, and permanent harm to your reputation may follow a conviction for filing a false document, a felony under California law. At the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, we successfully handle white collar crimes, including money laundering, insurance fraud, identity theft and blackmail. Attorney Comings is committed to providing aggressive defense for clients throughout Riverside and nearby areas, and has helped many people get their charges reduced or dismissed.Filing a False Document Is a Crime According to California Law
According to Penal Code 115 PC, filing, recording, or registering a false or forged document is against the law. If you are charged with this crime, the prosecution must prove the following elements to secure a conviction: you provided a filing or recording with a public office in California; knowing that the document was false or forged when it was filed, and; the document was one that, if genuine, could be legally filed.
In terms of “document” the courts have held that it may cover most any kind of papers that may be filed or recorded in public office. This can include bail bonds, fishing records, and often, false property deeds. Property deeds include deeds of trusts, quitclaim deeds, and others. A document could also include a timesheet filed for a public employer, including the government.
A conviction can lead to imprisonment of up to three years, and a fine up to $10,000. In some situations the judge may provide for the defendant to complete felony probation instead of prison time. There may be aggravated enhancements if the defendant has been convicted of two (or more) felonies that involve embezzlement or fraud.Raising a Legal Defense of Filing a False Document
Challenging charges for Penal Code 115 may include different strategies, from arguing a lack of intent to demonstrating that your constitutional rights were violated. As a Riverside criminal defense lawyer, Gregory H. Comings first looks at the specific facts of your case. For example, if the facts show there was no intent to defraud anyone, it may be appropriate to assert “mistake of fact” as a defense.
False accusation, or failing to file the document with a public office is another potential defense. According to law, to be convicted of the white collar crime of filing a false document, the defendant must have provided a document for filing that they knew was forged or false. If the defendant did not have this required knowledge at the time they filed, then a conviction cannot stand. In terms of filing the document with a public office, it is also possible to assert the defense this element was not met. For instance, a defendant may have filed their document with a private company. However, presenting false documents can lead to charges under other statutes.
In some cases, the defense of accident may be appropriate. The facts must support this defense, for example, if you accidentally filed the wrong copy in public office. This would not support the intentional element of the crime.
Additionally, all defendants are entitled to constitutional protections. These include freedom from illegal search and seizure, the right to due process of law, and the right to avoid self-incrimination. An experienced attorney will be capable of determining whether a specific constitutional protection applies in your case.Contact a White Collar Crime Lawyer Helping People in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties
If you or a family member has been charged with a white-collar crime, contact the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings to schedule a free consultation. We can help you understand your next steps and how to assert a strong defense to reduce or even dismiss charges. Riverside white collar crimes attorney Gregory H. Comings represents people throughout Southern California, including the areas of Riverside, San Bernardino, Chino Hills, Palm Springs, Rancho Cucamonga, and Victorville. Our office can be reached by phone at (951) 6896-3457 or online.