California Vehicle Code Section 13004.1 VC: Manufacturing Or Selling Counterfeit Identification Cards

counterfeit identification crime

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

DMV issued driver’s licenses and identification cards serve many important functions in everyday life and may be highly sought after items. As a result of this, a number of people try to manufacture or sell counterfeit DMV identification cards. However, under California Vehicle Code Section 13004.1 VC, it is a crime to manufacture or sell counterfeit DMV identification cards.

In order to prove that a defendant is guilty of manufacturing or selling counterfeit identification cards in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 13004.1, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant manufactured or sold
  2. An identification document of a size and form substantially similar to, or that purports to confer the same privileges as
  3. The identification cards issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

2. Related Offenses

Similar offenses include the following:

  1. Forgery of a Driver’s License California Penal Code Section 470A PC
  2. Possessing a Fake Driver’s License - California Penal Code Section 470B PC
  3. Unlawful Use of Identification Cards - California Vehicle Code Section 13004 VC
  4. Forging or Possessing a Fraudulent Public Seal California Penal Code Section 472 PC

3. Examples

A man uses expensive printing equipment and design software to manufacture nearly flawless counterfeit California driver’s licenses and identification cards. The man usually sells these cards to those who are under the age of 21 who want to go out to clubs and purchase alcohol. In addition to the more serious felony offenses of forgery of a driver’s license pursuant to California Penal Code Section 470A PC or forging or possessing a fraudulent public seal in violation of California Penal Code Section 472 PC , this man could additionally be prosecuted under California Vehicle Code Section 13004.1 VC for manufacturing and selling counterfeit DMV identification cards.

In another example, a man runs a novelty store that sells a number of gag identification cards. The store will take a customer’s photograph and affix it to a realistic looking card entitled “World’s Best Dad,” “Bride to Be” and various other joke titles. The man would not be guilty of manufacturing or selling counterfeit identification cards under California Vehicle Code Section 13004.1 VC because there was no fraudulent purpose behind his act and the cards were obviously different than those actually issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

In another example, a man has a complex design and printing operation that produces fake driver’s licenses. However, the man avoids producing California driver’s licenses and instead only produces counterfeit identifications from states that are easy to replicate. This man would not be criminally liable under California Vehicle Code Section 13004.1 VC because he did not create counterfeit cards similar to those produced by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. However, he could be prosecuted for one of the forgery felonies listed above.

4. Defenses to Manufacturing or Selling Counterfeit Identification Cards

As described above, if the defendant did not manufacture or sell identification cards that were similar to the ones issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, or if the cards were produced without a fraudulent purpose, there would be no criminal liability for manufacturing or selling counterfeit identification cards under California Vehicle Code Section 13004.1 VC.

5. Penalties

Manufacturing or selling counterfeit identification cards under California Vehicle Code Section 13004.1 VC is a misdemeanor offense that is punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum court fine of $1,000. While most people convicted of this offense are placed on summary probation and would serve little to no jail time, anyone convicted under this statute must pay a minimum fine of $250 and complete at least 24 hours of community service. No part of the fine or community service can be suspended or waived.

6. Criminal Defense for Manufacturing or Selling Counterfeit Identification Cards

If you or a loved one have been accused of manufacturing or selling counterfeit identification cards, it is very important that you speak with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who has extensive experience in defending individuals charged with crimes of this nature. Mr. Kraut is highly regarded in his field as a tough litigator who fights diligently on his clients’ behalf.

For more information about manufacturing or selling counterfeit identification cards, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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