Creating, Distributing, or Selling Falsified Citizenship or Resident Alien Documents – Penal Code Section 113

The controversial Proposition 187 ballot initiative of 1994 created a felony crime for any person convicted of manufacturing, distributing or selling false documents intended to:

• Conceal the true citizenship status of any person;
• Conceal the true resident alien status of any person.

Elements of the Crime:

To convict you of a Section 113 violation, the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
(1) You manufactured, distributed, or sold false documents;

(2) When you manufactured, distributed or sold the false document(s), you had the intent to help another person conceal his true citizenship or resident alien status.

Punishment:

A violation of Penal Code Section 113 is a felony punishable in the following manner:

• A five year local prison sentence served in a county jail facility pursuant to Penal Code Section 1170(h);

• Felony probation and a local jail term of up to 365 days;

• A fine of up to seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000);

• A misdemeanor with up to 365 days in jail, and a fine.

Commentary:

A conviction under Penal Code Section 113 is a “wobbler” in that the offense may be reduced to a misdemeanor by the Court.1

The misdemeanor crime of for manufacturing documents under Penal Code Section 112 was created by the California Legislature the same year that the voters passed Proposition 187. Proposition 187 specified a felony crime under Penal Code Section 113 for the same or similar conduct. Courts have ruled that the statutes are not inconsistent and that prosecutors and the courts have the discretion to punish defendants under either section.2

Sources Cited:

(1) Penal Code § 17(b).
(2) See People v. Valladares (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1388, 1392-1393.

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