California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)
1902. Forgery of Handwriting or SealDownload PDF
1902.Forgery of Handwriting or Seal (Pen. Code, § 470(b))
The defendant is charged [in Count ] with forging [or
counterfeiting] the (handwriting/seal) of another person [in violation of
Penal Code section 470(b)].
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
1. The defendant forged [or counterfeited] the (handwriting/seal) of
another person on <insert type[s] of document[s]
that could defraud; see discussion in Related Issues>;
2. When the defendant did that act, (he/she) intended to defraud.
Someone intends to defraud if he or she intends to deceive another
person either to cause a loss of (money[,]/ [or] goods[,]/ [or] services[,]/
[or] something [else] of value), or to cause damage to, a legal, ﬁnancial,
or property right.
[For the purpose of this instruction, a person includes (a governmental
agency/a corporation/a business/an association/the body politic).]
[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 People allege that the defendant forged [or counterfeited] the
following documents: <insert description of each document
when multiple items alleged>. You may not ﬁnd the defendant guilty
unless all of you agree that the People have proved that the defendant
forged [or counterfeited] at least one of these documents and you all
agree on which document (he/she) forged [or counterfeited].]
New January 2006
The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction deﬁning the elements of
If the prosecution alleges under a single count that the defendant forged multiple
documents, the court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on unanimity. (See People v.
Sutherland (1993) 17 Cal.App.4th 602, 619, fn. 6 [21 Cal.Rptr.2d 752].) Give the
last bracketed paragraph, inserting the items alleged. (See also Bench Notes to
CALCRIM No. 3500, Unanimity, discussing when instruction on unanimity is and
is not required.)
Give the bracketed sentence that begins with “For the purpose of this instruction” if
the evidence shows an intent to defraud an entity or association rather than a
natural person. (Pen. Code, § 8.)
Give the bracketed sentence that begins with “It is not necessary” if the evidence
shows that the defendant did not succeed in defrauding anyone. (People v. Morgan
(1956) 140 Cal.App.2d 796, 801 [296 P.2d 75].)
If the prosecution also alleges that the defendant passed or attempted to pass the
same document, give CALCRIM No. 1906, Forging and Passing or Attempting to
Pass: Two Theories in One Count.
• Elements. Pen. Code, § 470(b).
•Applies to Document Not Listed in Penal Code Section 470(d). People v.
Gaul-Alexander (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 735, 741–742 [38 Cal.Rptr.2d 176].
• Intent to Defraud. People v. Pugh (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 66, 72 [127
Cal.Rptr.2d 770]; People v. Gaul-Alexander (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 735, 745 [38
• Intent to Defraud Entity. Pen. Code, § 8.
• Unanimity Instruction If Multiple Documents. People v. Sutherland (1993) 17
Cal.App.4th 602, 619, fn. 6 [21 Cal.Rptr.2d 752].
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against
Property, §§ 148, 159–168.
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85,
Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.02[a][i] (Matthew Bender).
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 143,
Crimes Against Property, § 143.04 (Matthew Bender).
LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSES
• Attempted Forgery. Pen. Code, §§ 664, 470.
Documents Not Speciﬁcally Listed in Penal Code Section 470(d)
Adocument not speciﬁcally listed in Penal Code section 470(d) may still come
within the scope of the statute if the defendant “forges the . . . handwriting of
another.” (Pen. Code, 470(b).) However, not all writings are included within the
scope of this provision. (Lewis v. Superior Court (1990) 217 Cal.App.3d 379,
398–399 [265 Cal.Rptr. 855] [campaign letter with false signature of President
Reagan could not be basis of forgery charge].) “[A] writing not within those listed
may fall under the part of section 470 covering a person who ‘counterfeits or
forges the . . . handwriting of another’ if, on its face, the writing could possibly
defraud anyone. [Citations.] The false writing must be something which will have
the effect of defrauding one who acts upon it as genuine.” (People v. Gaul-
CALCRIM No. 1902 CRIMINAL WRITINGS AND FRAUD
Alexander (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 735, 741–742 [38 Cal.Rptr.2d 176].) The
document must affect an identiﬁable legal, monetary, or property right. (Id. at p.
743; see also Lewis v. Superior Court, supra, 217 Cal.App.3d at pp. 398–399.)
CRIMINAL WRITINGS AND FRAUD CALCRIM No. 1902