Forgery is the act of possessing or creating fake documents. For example, if you were in possession of a passport that was not issued by the government, then you could be charged with forgery. The severity of a forgery charge can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, but it should never be taken lightly. As a white-collar crime, a forgery charge is always a serious criminal matter.
If you have been charged with forgery, then you need to contact one of our criminal defense attorneys immediately to protect your interests.The Four Degrees of Forgery
First Degree: When someone commits second-degree forgery and puts the writing to use or offers it to someone else. A person who printed counterfeit money would be committing second-degree forgery, but if they bought anything with that money, it would be first-degree.
Second Degree: When someone makes, alters, or possesses any forged writing other than fake checks. This can include counterfeit money, forged documents, and fake badges and trademarks.
Third Degree: Making, altering, possessing, or passing off a counterfeit check written for $1,500 or more. Possessing more than 10 counterfeit blank checks also qualifies.
Fourth Degree: Making, altering, possessing, or passing off a forged check for less than $1,500 or possessing less than 10 counterfeit blank checks.
In order to be convicted with forgery, you need to demonstrate an "intent to defraud" - this means that you intended to deceive others or better your own position using forgery. To be convicted with second or first-degree forgery, you also need to have knowledge that the writing was forged.
Remember - it is not illegal to create a falsely attributed or fake document. What matters is what you intend to do with it.What are the Penalties for Forgery?
Punishment for forgery will differ greatly depending on which degree you are charged with. If you are charged with first-degree forgery, then you could be facing anywhere from one to fifteen years in jail. Second and third-degree forgery will usually result in one to five years in jail. Fourth-degree forgery is considered a misdemeanor unless you have prior convictions. In that case, you could be facing anywhere from one to five years in jail.
If you have been charged with forgery, you could find yourself facing serious legal consequences. The criminal defense lawyers with the Don Turner Legal Team have years of experience representing clients charged with forgery. Contact us today for a free consultation and see how we can help you with your criminal case.