near me
California Penal Code 115 PC - Filing A False Or Forged Document


Los Angeles Criminal Defense LawyerCalifornia Penal Code Section 115 PC outlines the offense of filing a false or forged document, which involves knowingly submitting a forged or false document to a California government office.

California Penal Code Section 115 outlines the offense of filing a false or forged document, which involves knowingly submitting a forged or false document to a California government office.

An illustrative scenario of a Penal Code 115 charge involves the forging of a property transfer deed, falsely indicating the purchase of a home from a family member. Subsequently, this forged deed is submitted to the county recorder’s office, followed by the acquisition of a substantial loan using the home as collateral. Such actions could lead to charges of filing a false document under Penal Code 115, as well as mortgage fraud charges.

It is important to recognize that a conviction under Penal Code 115, classified as a felony, may result in severe penalties. Notably, the burden of proof lies with the prosecutor, who must demonstrate your awareness of the document’s falsity or forgery at the time of filing.

The act of “offering” a document does not necessitate its successful filing to incur conviction. This code encompasses a wide array of document types filed in a California government office.

“Penal Code Section 115 PC: (a) Every person who knowingly procures or offers any false or forged instrument to be filed, registered, or recorded in any public office within this state, which instrument, if genuine, might be filed, registered, or recorded under any law of this state or of the United States, is guilty of a felony.”



To secure a conviction for filing a false document under Penal Code 115 (PC), the prosecutor must prove all the elements of the crime, as outlined in CALCRIM 1945 Jury Instructions. These elements include:

  • You either offered a false document to be filed or registered, or you caused a false document to be filed or registered.
  • The defendant willingly stated information as true, despite knowing it to be false.
  • The false document must have been filed in a public office, either in California or the United States.
  • You knew that the document was false or forged at the time of filing.

It’s important to recognize that even if the false or forged document does not actually get filed, you could still be convicted. In other words, the attempt to file the document is sufficient for a conviction.

The key factor that the prosecutor needs to prove is that you knowingly altered or misrepresented information with the intent to defraud.

The term “document” in California Penal Code 115 has been interpreted broadly by courts and prosecutors. While the statute is commonly used to prosecute the filing of false property deeds in real estate fraud schemes, it can also extend to various other types of documents that can be legally filed in a public office.

For example, individuals can face charges under this statute for filing false bail bonds or probation work referrals. Even seemingly unrelated documents, such as fishing records, can potentially be the basis for Filing a False Document charges if they are intentionally falsified and filed.

It is important to note that the range of documents that can fall under this statute is broad, and individuals should exercise caution to avoid engaging in any fraudulent or deceptive filing practices.


John, a disgruntled employee, is angry with his employer for not giving him a raise. Seeking revenge, he decides to fabricate evidence against his employer. John drafts a false resignation letter that appears to be from his boss, stating that she secretly embezzled company funds and plans to flee the country. He signs his boss’s name without her knowledge or consent.

Intent on exposing his boss and causing her trouble, John submits the forged resignation letter to the police, claiming he found it accidentally. The police launch an investigation based on the false information, and John’s boss is subject to harassment and unnecessary questioning.

Upon discovering John’s deceit, the police charge him with a violation of the California Penal Code 115, specifically “Filing a False or Forged Document.” Since John knowingly and willfully created a false document and filed it with the intent to deceive and cause harm, he can face criminal charges. If convicted, John may face penalties including fines and potential imprisonment.


When convicted of filing a false document under Penal Code 115 (PC), you could face serious penalties, including:

  • Up to three years in a California state prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Formal felony probation

For individuals accused of filing multiple forged documents, each false document filed may result in separate punishment. This means that for every false document submitted, an additional three-year prison sentence could be imposed. Furthermore, restitution may be ordered to compensate any victims who suffered losses due to the fraudulent filings.

In cases where the false filing leads to losses exceeding $65,000 for a property holder, an extra 1-4 years can be added to the sentence. Moreover, an additional 1-5 years may be included in the sentence if the defendant defrauded a property holder of more than $100,000 and was convicted of two or more felony-level fraud offenses during the same criminal proceeding.


A conviction under Penal Code 115 for filing a false document can have additional sentencing enhancements and consequences. For example:

  • Additional Fine: If the false document impacted a family home mortgage, you may face an extra fine of up to $75,000.
  • Increased Prison Sentence: If your actions resulted in a loss exceeding $65,000 for the victim, and the prosecution can prove your intent to cause the loss, you could face an additional prison term of one to four years.
  • Aggravated White Collar Crime Sentencing Enhancement: If your felony offense demonstrates a pattern of criminal conduct, involves two or more victims, and you have been convicted of two or more felony fraud or embezzlement crimes, an additional sentencing enhancement may apply. This enhancement could result in an additional prison term of one to five years, a fine of up to $500,000, or double the amount of fraud involved.


With a track record of success in handling various fraud-related crimes, our criminal defense lawyer Cyrus Tabibnia can employ a range of strategies to secure the best possible outcome for you.

He will meticulously analyze the details of your case to determine the most effective defense approach. Some common defenses against Penal Code 115 charges include:

  • No Intent to Defraud: The prosecution must prove that you willfully intended to defraud someone. An argument can be made that there was no specific intent to defraud, and the act was simply a mistake or a “mistake of fact.”
  • Accident Defense: In cases where multiple draft documents are prepared before an official filing, it may be possible to argue that you accidentally filed the wrong draft copy instead of the intended official document, suggesting that it was not an intentional act of filing a false document.
  • Consent: Penal Code 115 cases often involve allegations of deceiving a homeowner into signing a property deed. However, if it can be demonstrated that the homeowner initially consented to signing and later forgot about or decided to withdraw their consent for filing the deed, this defense strategy can be utilized.

By utilizing these and other effective defense strategies, Cyrus Tabibnia will work diligently to challenge the charges against you and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.


Felony offenses like filing false documents under PC 115 are considered crimes involving moral turpitude. As a result, undocumented immigrants may face deportation or other immigration consequences. If you or someone you know is charged with this crime, it is strongly advisable that you also consult with an immigration lawyer. If you do not have or know of an immigration lawyer, the Tabibnia Law Firm can refer you to one.


A conviction for violating California Penal Code 115 can potentially be expunged under certain circumstances. In California, expungement is available for some felony convictions, including violations of Penal Code 115, under Penal Code section 1203.4. This provision allows individuals who have completed their probation and met other eligibility criteria to petition the court to have their conviction dismissed.

Upon successful expungement, the individual is deemed not to have been previously convicted of the offense. Expungement does not completely erase the conviction from the individual’s record, but it does change the conviction to a dismissal, which can offer various benefits such as improving employability. However, the conviction may still be accessible in background checks in certain circumstances.


  • Forgery – California Penal Code Section 470 PC
  • Perjury – California Penal Code Section 118 PC
  • Grand Theft – California Penal Code Section 487 PC
  • Senior Fraud – California Penal Code 368 PC


If you are facing charges for filing a false document under California Penal Code 115, it is crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who specializes in handling complex white-collar cases. Cyrus Tabibnia, a highly skilled and respected attorney, has a wealth of experience defending clients against various fraud-related crimes.

By contacting Cyrus Tabibnia, you can benefit from his extensive knowledge of the law and his exceptional litigation skills. He will thoroughly review the specific details of your case and explore all available options to mount a robust defense on your behalf.

With a proven track record of success, Cyrus Tabibnia understands the gravity of such charges and is dedicated to protecting your rights and securing the best possible outcome for your case.

If you or a loved one is currently under investigation or has been charged with filing a false or forged document, do not hesitate to call Cyrus Tabibnia at 866-713-2159 for expert legal representation and guidance.


Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

    Get A Case Review Today

    Please prove you are human by selecting the tree.

    EXCELLENT rating
    Based on 39 reviews
    I would like to sincerely thank my attorney Cyrus Tabibnia and the Tabibnia Law firm for everything you have done for me and my family. Highly satisfied customers and excellent service is what you want when you hire an attorney. I was always treated with respect, if I needed anything or had any questions or concerns Mr. Tabibna was always available. I give a five-star rating as one of his clients and would honestly give a ten-star review if I could, because he is an awesome attorney worth every penny. I would highly recommend to anybody looking for a criminal defense attorney that Cyrus Tabibnia and his law firm be the one you consider
    Pharroh Knight
    Pharroh Knight
    2 April 2024
    Thank you for being so generous with your time and expertise and providing a legal consult! We really appreciate it
    Eli Elay
    Eli Elay
    6 February 2024
    My family had an urgent matter late on a Friday night. Cyrus took our call at 10p, listened to our situation, and answered all our questions. He was thorough in his explanations and addressed our concerns. What we appreciated the most was that he was not pushy and walked us through different approaches for our situation. We have not needed legal representation yet, but with Cyrus’ flexibility, transparency, and straight forwardness, we would highly recommend him.
    14 December 2023
    I had a DUI charge where I was having difficulties having an attorney give me the time of day to hear me about my case. I called different places and finally found Cyrus Tabibnia Law Firm a criminal Defense Attorney. I called him and he promptly returned my call. He sat down with me and listened to me, he understood my situation and gave me the peace of mind that lifted the stress I was going threw off my shoulders. He took control and walked me through everything. He explained the process of what to expect and what to do. Whenever I needed to talk to Cyrus, he made himself available to me. I was happy with the outcome of my case and would definitely recommend anyone to give Cyrus Tabibnia a call if they need a dependable criminal attorney to represent them.
    E T
    E T
    19 November 2023
    Mr. Cyrus Tabibnia has been outstanding in his knowledge and work related to legal matters. I have very much appreciated working with you.
    14 November 2023
    I have appreciated working professionally with Mr. Cyrus Tabibnia and his law firm on various cases that will assist his clients.
    Roxanna Rahban
    Roxanna Rahban
    14 November 2023
    Excellent Attorneys AND Customer service. They were patient, kind, and incredibly clear in their communications regarding my case and followed up promptly at each step of the process. I felt seen, heard and valued as a client and highly recommend this firm to anyone who is looking for kindness, professionalism and great results.
    Alexandra Sophia Marsalis
    Alexandra Sophia Marsalis
    14 November 2023
    Dedicated Attorney I have had the privilege of knowing attorney Cyrus Tabibnia since 2010, when he used to be a dedicated Board member at our local Bar Association in Los Angeles. He has always been respected by his colleagues for his legal contribution to the members of the Bar Association. While interacting with him professionally, I have found him to be a man of integrity, a competent counsel and zealous advocate for his clients in a variety of civil and criminal cases. Despite his busy professional schedule, Cyrus adheres to his family values and keeps his precious friendship with the rest of us. I am honored to call Cyrus a colleague and endorse him for the services that he offers to the public.
    Zaher Fallahi
    Zaher Fallahi
    14 November 2023
    I endorse the Tabibnia Law Firm. Mr. Tabibnia is colleague and staunch professional. He is clearly dedicated to his clients, craft, and practice. Do not hesitate to reach out to Mr. Tabibnia for services.
    Daniel Forouzan
    Daniel Forouzan
    10 November 2023

    Recent Posts

    Practice Areas

    Locations We Serve