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Counterfeiting Laws & Defense

PC 350, 477, & 478 

Information on the crime of counterfeiting is found at California penal code sections 350, 477, & 478.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of the crime of counterfeiting, the prosecutor must prove the defendant:

  • Intended to, and did make, a fake document of legal significance (money, lottery ticket, check, etc.), and
  • Intended to defraud another person with the fake document 

Penalty & Sentence for PC 350 & 477

Counterfeiting, under PC 350 and PC 477 is generally charged as a felony. When PC 350 or 477 is charged as a felony the defendant could face up to four years in prison (3 years for a violation of PC 350 and 4 years for a violation of PC 477).

When counterfeiting is charged under PC 350 or 477 as a misdemeanor, the defendant may face up to one year in the county jail.

In some cases of counterfeiting it might be possible to reduce the sentence or reduce the charge, or both. It might also be possible to have the counterfeiting charges dismissed depending on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.

Counterfeiting is not considered a serious or violent felony as those terms are defined in California Three Strikes Sentencing Laws. If found guilty and jail time is ordered the defendant is entitled to received good time credits at the rate of 50%, which means two days of jail credit for every one day served. The defendant may also qualify for alternative sentencing options, such as probation only, electronic monitoring (house arrest), or work release. Any sentencing option available depends on the facts of the case along with the defendant's criminal history.

In addition to any jail sentence, criminal convictions in general can lead to other severe consequences such as: Immigration consequences (non-U.S. citizens), probation sentence terms, fines, lawsuits, employment loss, restitution, and more.

Defense to PC 350, 477, & 478

Common defenses to PC 350, 477, and 478 counterfeiting charges include: insufficient evidence to prove the defendant intended to defraud another person, mistake of fact, statute of limitations, and coerced confessions.

If you have been charged with counterfeiting, or penal codes 350, 477 or 478, contact a criminal defense lawyer to learn your rights and options without delay.

Our criminal defense attorneys are experienced and aggressive. We have a successful record and offer aggressive representation. Call today!


More counterfeiting crimes

  • Possession of a counterfeit penal code 478 [Felony]
  • Make or possess counterfeit die/apparatus penal code 480 [Felony]
  • Forgery by altering or counterfeiting document 470(d) [Misdemeanor or Felony]
  • Manufacture of sale of counterfeit mark under $1000 penal code 350(a)(1) [Misdemeanor]
  • Manufacture of sale of counterfeit mark greater tha a $1000 penal code 350(a)(2) [Misdemeanor or Felony]
  • Manufacture of sale of counterfeit mark w/prior penal code 350(b) [Misdemeanor or Felony]

Criminal Defense Attorneys


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Criminal Defense Attorneys Defending All Misdemeanor & Felony Counterfeiting Crimes: PC 350, 477, & 478

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California Counterfeiting Laws & Defense PC 350, 477 & 478


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