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Chapter 4. Forging, Stealing, Mutilating, and Falsifying Judicial and Public Records and Documents - California Penal Code Section 115

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Penal Code > Chapter 4. Forging, Stealing, Mutilating, and Falsifying Judicial and Public Records and Documents - California Penal Code Section 115

115.  (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.
   (b) Each instrument which is procured or offered to be filed,
registered, or recorded in violation of subdivision (a) shall
constitute a separate violation of this section.
   (c) Except in unusual cases where the interests of justice would
best be served if probation is granted, probation shall not be
granted to, nor shall the execution or imposition of sentence be
suspended for, any of the following persons:
   (1) Any person with a prior conviction under this section who is
again convicted of a violation of this section in a separate
proceeding.
   (2) Any person who is convicted of more than one violation of this
section in a single proceeding, with intent to defraud another, and
where the violations resulted in a cumulative financial loss
exceeding one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
   (d) For purposes of prosecution under this section, each act of
procurement or of offering a false or forged instrument to be filed,
registered, or recorded shall be considered a separately punishable
offense.
   (e) (1) After a person is convicted of a violation of this
section, or a plea is entered whereby a charge alleging a violation
of this section is dismissed and waiver is obtained pursuant to
People v. Harvey (1979) 25 Cal.3d 754, upon written motion of the
prosecuting agency, the court, after a hearing described in
subdivision (f), shall issue a written order that the false or forged
instrument be adjudged void ab initio if the court determines that
an order is appropriate under applicable law. The order shall state
whether the instrument is false or forged, or both false and forged,
and describe the nature of the falsity or forgery. A copy of the
instrument shall be attached to the order at the time it is issued by
the court and a certified copy of the order shall be filed,
registered, or recorded at the appropriate public office by the
prosecuting agency.
   (2) (A) If the order pertains to a false or forged instrument that
has been recorded with a county recorder, an order made pursuant to
this section shall be recorded in the county where the affected real
property is located. The order shall also reference the county
recorder's document recording number of any notice of pendency of
action recorded pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (f).
   (B)  As to any order, notice of pendency of action, or withdrawal
of notice of pendency of action recorded pursuant to this section,
recording fees shall be waived pursuant to Section 27383 of the
Government Code.
   (f) A prosecuting agency shall use the following procedures in
filing a motion under subdivision (e):
   (1) Within 10 calendar days of filing a criminal complaint or
indictment alleging a violation of this section, the prosecuting
agency shall provide written notice by certified mail to all parties
who have an interest in the property affected by the false or forged
instrument, or in the instrument itself, including those described in
paragraph (5).
   (2) (A) Within 10 calendar days of filing a criminal complaint or
indictment alleging a violation of this section, the prosecuting
agency shall record a notice of pendency of action in the county in
which the affected real property is located.
   (B) Within 10 calendar days of the case being adjudicated or
dismissed without obtaining an order pursuant to subdivision (e), the
prosecuting agency shall record a withdrawal of the notice of
pendency of action in the county where the affected real property is
located.
   (3) The written notice and notice of pendency of action described
in paragraphs (1) and (2) shall inform the interested parties that a
criminal action has commenced that may result in adjudications
against the false or forged instrument or the property affected by
the false or forged instrument, and shall notify the interested
parties of their right to be heard if a motion is brought under
subdivision (e) to void the false or forged instrument. The notice
shall state the street address, if available, and the legal
description of the affected real property.
   (4) Failure of the prosecuting agency to provide written notice or
record a pendency of action as required under paragraphs (1) and (2)
within 10 calendar days shall not prevent the prosecuting agency
from later making a motion under subdivision (e), but the court shall
take the failure to provide notice or record a pendency of action as
required under paragraphs (1) and (2) as reason to provide any
interested parties additional time to respond to the motion. Failure
of the prosecuting agency to so notify interested parties under this
subdivision or record a pendency of action as required under
paragraphs (1) and (2) within 10 calendar days shall create a
presumption that a finding as described in paragraph (9) is necessary
to protect the property rights of the interested party or parties.
   (5) If the instrument sought to be declared void involves real
property, "interested parties" include, but are not limited to, all
parties who have recorded with the county recorder in the county
where the affected property is located any of the following: a deed,
lien, mortgage, deed of trust, security interest, lease, or other
instrument declaring an interest in, or requesting notice relating
to, the property affected by the false or forged instrument as of the
date of the filing of the criminal complaint or indictment.
   (6) Any party not required to be noticed under paragraph (1) or
(5) who nonetheless notifies the prosecuting agency in writing of the
party's desire to be notified if a motion is brought under
subdivision (e) to void the false or forged instrument shall be
treated as an interested party as defined in paragraph (1) or (5).
   (7) The court shall set a hearing for the motion brought by the
prosecuting agency under subdivision (e) no earlier than 90 calendar
days from the date the motion is made. The prosecuting agency shall
provide a copy by certified mail of the written motion and a notice
of hearing to all interested parties described in paragraphs (1),
(5), or (6), and all other persons who obtain an interest in the
property prior to recordation of notice of pendency of action no
later than 90 days before the hearing date set by the court. The
notice shall state the street address, if available, and the legal
description of the affected real property.
   (8) At a hearing on a motion brought by the prosecuting agency
under subdivision (e), the defendant, prosecuting agency, and
interested parties described in paragraphs (1), (5), or (6), shall
have a right to be heard and present information to the court. No
party shall be denied a right to present information due to a lack of
notice by the prosecuting agency or failure to contact the
prosecuting agency or the court prior to the hearing.
   (9) (A) At a hearing on a motion brought by a prosecuting agency
under subdivision (e), if the court determines that the interests of
justice or the need to protect the property rights of any person or
party so requires, including, but not limited to, a finding that the
matter may be more appropriately determined in a civil proceeding,
the court may decline to make a determination under subdivision (e).
   (B) If, prior to the hearing on the motion, any person or party
files a quiet title action that seeks a judicial determination of the
validity of the same false or forged instrument that is the subject
of the motion, or the status of an interested party as a bona fide
purchaser of, or bona fide holder of an encumbrance on, the property
affected by the false or forged instrument, the court may consider
that as an additional but not dispositive factor in making its
determination under subdivision (e); provided, however, that a final
judgment previously entered in that quiet title action shall be
followed to the extent otherwise required by law.
   (g) As used in this section, "prosecuting agency" means a city
attorney, a district attorney, the Attorney General, or other state
or local agency actively prosecuting a case under this section.
   (h) An order made pursuant to subdivision (e) shall be considered
a judgment, and subject to appeal in accordance with, paragraph (1)
of subdivision (a) of Section 904.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure.


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Last modified: February 16, 2015