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What Happens When Someone Is Charged with Counterfeiting?

  • Counterfeiting has become more complex as the years have passed. That means states take counterfeiting charges seriously, with jail time and hefty fines real possibilities for those found guilty. 

    Because of this, it’s important to act right away if you’re charged with counterfeiting. Your Sacramento counterfeiting lawyer is ready to help those accused of such a serious crime build a defense and get those charges reduced or dropped. 

    What Is the Difference Between Counterfeiting and Forgery? 

    Counterfeiting is the deliberate manipulation or duplication of an item with the intent to defraud a business or person. It often involves trademark theft, with an identifiable word, phrase, or symbol used on items created fraudulently by a separate entity. This is meant to defraud others into believing the result is a genuine product and thus holds an equivalent cash value.  

    Counterfeiting is done without the trademark holder's permission. The punishment for counterfeiting also varies depending on state law, but most states prosecute counterfeiting charges as felonies. 

    Counterfeiting can harm a company’s reputation by sowing distrust in the quality of its brand, product, or goods. If allowed to continue, counterfeit products can severely impact consumer confidence, damaging the company’s profitability and future credibility. 

    Forgery is similar to counterfeiting in many ways, and the two often happen together. Forgery is defined as the alteration or false signing of a document with intent to defraud another business or individual. Prosecuting forgery cases relies on the prosecutor’s ability to prove that the defendant’s actions showed an intent to defraud. 

    What Happens If You Are Charged?

    U.S. federal law dictates that those who commit acts of counterfeiting in California can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the case's specifics.

    Misdemeanor charges can result in up to a year in county jail. Felony charges may result in sentences of up to three years. Both offenses often result in an accompanying fine ranging from $1,000 for a misdemeanor charge and $10,000 for a felony charge.

    If you’re charged with counterfeiting, an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate reduced charges. They can also defend you on grounds of false accusations or a lack of intent to break the law. The prosecutor in your case must prove that you had criminal intent, something your lawyer will work to prevent with relevant evidence and the right argument.

    Find the Right Counterfeiting Lawyer in Sacramento

    If you’re facing a counterfeiting charge and need more information on the process, contacting a Sacramento counterfeiting lawyer should be your first step. Speak to a member of the team at Crowell Law Offices for advice and guidance on how to proceed in your case. 

    If need clarity or legal representation, the lawyers at the Crowell Law Offices are happy to help. Reach out by visiting our website or give us a call at 916-303-2800.