Penal Code 470 – Fake Driver’s License

Possessing or Displaying False, Altered, or Counterfeit Driver’s License (Pen. Code, § 470b)

Possessing or displaying false, altered, or a counterfeit driver’s license pursuant to Penal Code § 470b is a wobbler.  This means that the prosecuting agency can either file the case as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the gravity of the circumstances.  When the defendant is charged with altering, or falsifying, forging, or duplicating, or reproducing, or counterfeiting a driver’s license or an identification card, the People need to prove that the

1.The defendant altered, falsified, forged, duplicated, reproduced, or counterfeited the driver’s license or government-issued identification card; and

2.When the defendant did that act, he intended that the it be used to help commit forgery.

A person intends to commit forgery if he or she intends to use a forged, counterfeit, altered, falsified, duplicated, or reproduced document to deceive another person in order to cause a loss of, or damage to, a legal, financial, or property right. A person alters a document if he or she adds to, erases, or changes a part of the document that affects a legal, financial, or property right.   It is not necessary that anyone actually be defrauded or actually suffer a financial, legal, or property loss as a result of the defendant’s acts.

The jury may not find the defendant guilty unless they all agree that the People have proved that the defendant not only altered the document but also intended to defraud.  Some defenses are that you did not alter the document, you did not intend to commit forgery, or that the item did not belong to you.  A mitigating circumstance would be if the incident was isolated, such as using the identification card to go to a night club as oppose to manufacturing and selling fake IDs on college campuses for student or using a fake ID to obtain funds from a bank account or misappropriate funds from a corporate account.  

If you have been arrested, cited or under investigation for manufacturing or duplicating a fake identification for the purpose of committing forgery pursuant to Penal Code 470b, call attorney Arthur Khachatourians for a defense consultation.