If you tempered with any document or device designed to provide evidence of current car registration, or fraudently altered a smog certificate you may have violated this offense.
The Vehicle Code Section 4463 essentially defines the offense as the intentional fraudulent altering forging of car registration, license plate, or registration stickers, or intentionally displaying false forged license plate, registration stickers, or car registration …1
- Displaying a fake registration sticker
- Altering your originally issued license plate
- Carrying and presenting a counterfeit license
- Fraud involving smog test certificates2
To prove that you are guilty of this offense, the prosecutor has to prove the following facts or elements.3
- You have committed any of the acts with the intent to prejudice, damage, or defraud4:
- Altered, forged, counterfeited, falsified any of the following documents: certificate of ownership, registration card, certificate, license, license plate, special plate, registration card, certificate, license, license plate, or permit provided for by a foreign jurisdiction; OR
- Displayed or caused or permitted to be displayed or have in his or her possession a blank, incomplete, canceled, suspended, revoked, altered, forged, counterfeit, or false: certificate of ownership, registration card, certificate, license, license plate; OR
- published, passed, or attempted to pass, as true and genuine, a false, altered, forged, or counterfeited any of the documents listed above, knowing it to be false, altered, forged, or counterfeited.
If you did not intend to defraud, you have a defense to this allegation.
If the prosecutor does not have sufficient evidence to show that you had intent to defraud, you cannot be convicted of this offense. However, keep in mind that the prosecution can use both sufficient indirect and direct evidence to convict you5.
This offense can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the facts of the case and the criminal history of a defendant.
|Fine||$500 – $1,000||Up to $10,000|
|County Jail or State Prison||Up to 1 year jail||16 months, 2 or 3 years prison|
False Statements to DMV or CHP: Under Vehicle Code 20 , If you used a false or fake name at the DMV, you may have violated this section of the Vehicle Code. Likewise, if you knowingly made false a statement, or knowingly concealed any material fact in a document that you filed with the DMV, you may be found guilty of this offense. If convicted, you face being charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Providing False Information to a Peace or Police Officer: Under Vehicle Code 31 , if you have given false information to a peace officer, either in writing or orally, you probably violated this offense. If convicted, you face being charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Forgery or Counterfeiting of Seals: Under Pen. Code, §472, if you forged or possessed a forged California DMV “seal” on an official registration document such as car registration, you may be guilty of this offense. If convicted of this offense, you face the same penalties as listed above for violating Vehicle Code section 4463.
Forgery of Drivers License: Under Pen. Code, §470, if you possess a driver’s license or ID that has been forged, and you do so with the intent that the driver’s license or ID be used to facilitate forgery, you may be charged with this offense. If convicted, you face imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
If you would like to speak to an attorney about a pending case contact the Aizman law firm at 818-351-9555 for a free consultation.
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- Vehicle Code 4463 [↩]
- See also People v. Avanessian (1999) 76 Cal.App.4th 635, 641. (“A smog certificate is a certificate within the meaning of Vehicle Code section 4463 so that defendants’ fraudulent production of smog certificates violated that section.” [↩]
- Elements. Vehicle Code Section 4463 [↩]
- The intent required for this offense is essentially intent to commit fraud in order to avoid paying for car registration renewal, smog check, or some other related car registration expense [↩]
- Direct evidence can prove a fact by itself. For example, if a witness testiﬁes he saw it raining outside before he came into the courthouse, that testimony is direct evidence that it was raining. CALCRIM 223 [↩]