What is going to happen if I have been charged with forgery in California? 11 Answers as of January 28, 2011

I am being charged with 40 counts forgery. The total amount of all the checks $5,000. I cannot afford a to pay the money and hire a lawyer. What should I do. I just want to avoid jail time. This is my first offense and I am 40 years old with 4 kids

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Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz

If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney, then you will obviously request appointment of the Public Defender. Hopefully, there is one in your area, and not just an appointment panel. My experience is that some defendants in counties that do not at least have a primary Public Defender's Office often get short shrift from the appointed private attorneys on the panel, who sometimes seem to be in a big hurry to move the cases along without proper preparation. Hopefully, you are not in King's County.

Your bail is very low for forty counts of forgery. The total loss is relatively small, however. Still, you could potentially be looking at a maximum, theoretically, of 29 years (at 50%; a maximum of three years on one count, and up to 8 months consecutive on every count after that). That is not going to happen however, so do not worry. You need to be advised,however. With such a low level of financial loss, I would definitely expect to negotiate probation for you. The District Attorney will probably be pretty sticky about reducing the plea charge to a misdemeanor. Now, can you not pay the money and also hire an Attorney, or can you can you just not afford to do both? You should save your money for restitution (paying back what you received illegally), if you have any. Paying back the money is your best shot at negotiating a favorable disposition. Any decent assigned Deputy Public Defender (and most of them are) could handle
this for you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
You should request the services of the public defender. You will be charged with a felony based on the amount of the checks. This is something you need legal help on as they will be serious charges.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/27/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Happen? You face charges that could put in jail/prison, and most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative'. If it is not already too late, I advise you to exercise 5th Amendment rights to SHUT UP and call a lawyer, as every cop show on TV correctly teaches. If you cant afford private counsel, then apply for the Public Defender as soon as possible, to represent you and defend against the charges.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/27/2011
Mettias & Associates
Mettias & Associates | Jimmy Philip Mettias, Esq
Thank you for submitting your question to our firm, Mettias & Associates, in regard to your forgery charges. The basic idea behind forgery is the use of a writing or a false document to commit fraud, which damages or defrauds another out of money, rights or legal interests. While there are few defense to forgery, an attorney can assist you in reducing your charges, jail time and fines or restitution. Contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/27/2011
Law Offices of Philip P. De Luca
Law Offices of Philip P. De Luca | Philip De Luca
If you are charged with 40 counts of forgery, this is a crisis situation and you should hire a skilled defense lawyer immediately upon learning of the filing, considering that you have 4 children and these charges could lead to jail time. Call a family member or friend to help you with financing the services of private counsel. Also, if you absolutely do not have a means to pay for private counsel, you may be eligible to have the public defender represent you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/27/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    If you can't afford a lawyer, get the Public Defender. DO NOT deal with this alone or your kids will be visiting you on Sundays.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/26/2011
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy | Ryan P. Murphy
    Apply for the Public Defender in your county. You need to: 1. Show up 15 minutes early to court,2. Get the documents to apply for a Public Defender and fill them out,3. Make sure you are honest because they are signed under penalty of perjury,4. Stand up when your case is called, and5. Hand the documents to the bailiff. If the court feels you qualify, a Public Defender will be appointed.

    Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office at your earliest convenience.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/26/2011
    Desert Defenders
    Desert Defenders | John Jimenez
    The court will appoint a public defender to represent you. Follow their advice and you won't go to jail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/26/2011
    West Themis Law, A Professional Law Corporation
    West Themis Law, A Professional Law Corporation | Sally S. Chan, Esq.
    I am very sorry for your predicament. That is the beauty of the US, if you cannot afford an attorney, you may qualify for free legal counsel with the public defender's office.

    I am sure that there will be highly competent attorneys that can help you there.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/26/2011
    Steven Mandell
    Steven Mandell | Law Offices of Steven Mandell
    When you get to court, ask to speak to a public defender. They are criminal lawyers who do nothing but criminal law every day. They are provided to people who can't afford to hire their own lawyers. Best of luck to you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/26/2011
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