If you are accused of forgery, you may be facing jail or prison time, along with steep fines if you are convicted. The basis of a forgery charge is the belief that you forged some type of document, often a check or other financial document. Forgery involves an act to alter and falsify information on a document, or use of such a document, and includes the following:
- Altering, creating, completing, or executing a document as being the act of another who didn’t authorize the action, such as check or another financial instrument.
- To issues transfer, register, pass, or publish a forged document.
- To alter time, place, or number sequence of a document.
- Altering a will, deed, trust deed, mortgage, security instrument, security agreement, credit card, check, or authorization to debit an account.
- Acting with the use of a forged document.
- Owning a forged document with the intent to use it for gain.
Conviction for Forgery: State and Federal Penalties
A forgery case may be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony offense, based upon the facts in the case. Under Texas state law, the forgery of a will, deed, mortgage or any other contract as a felony that can lead to penalties imposed of a maximum of two years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Forging federal funds (money) or postage stamps are filed as third-degree federal felony crimes, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines.
Defending Forgery Cases
Anyone accused of forgery charge must seek help from a highly-skilled, experienced criminal defense lawyer to review the evidence and establish a strategy for the defense. Some defense strategies that may be effective in criminal charges of forgery include:
- Establishing that the accused person unknowingly possessed forged documents and did not commit forgery intentionally.
- Establishing a lack of intent to commit the crime if the forgery was completed in good faith and the accused individual assumed that he or she possessed the authority to execute the written change to a legal document.
- Establishing that the altered documents were not the work of the accused, but another party.
- Accused persons who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the forgery occurred may be able to offer what is termed a “guilty knowledge” defense to reduce the level of the charge. Essentially, the impact of drugs or alcohol could cause a person to act in an uncharacteristic manner.
- A “res judicata defense” establishes that the details of the forgery for which a person was arrested differ from the details the prosecution has presented in court. The contradictions or flaws in the prosecution’s argument can be revealed to the jury for the benefit of the accused.
Contact the Law Office of James Alston in Houston Today
Your defense starts now. The consequences of a conviction are extreme, including incarceration, fines, and a criminal record that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Call today for assistance from a criminal defense lawyer in Houston who has a reputation as being among the most qualified and experienced in his field. Call now.