Eisenberg Law Offices Criminal Defense Lawyer For Forgery
Fight Forgery Charges With Help From A Criminal Defense LawyerForgery is a felony in all 50 states and at the federal level as well. Although considered a “white collar crime”, forgery is a serious offense that may involve any of the following: making, altering, using, or possessing false writing in order to commit a fraud. We often think of forgery as signing another person’s name on a check, but it also includes things like using another’s credit card, creating counterfeit money, or even writing a bad check. For a society like ours that relies on the use and exchange of trustworthy documents, forgery is a serious crime. It affects businesses, individuals, and government agencies. It’s because of the far-reaching consequences of forgery that it is so severely punished across the entire country. Definition Of Forgery Forgery is defined in several ways under the Wisconsin State Statutes. The statute covers written and oral falsities with the key qualifying criteria being “intent to defraud” another person or entity.
Forgery Charges And PenaltiesForgery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the situation and the amount of money involved. Penalties range from 9 months in jail and a $10,000 fine for misdemeanors to 6 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for felonies. Even people who don’t actually alter the item, but who try to use it can be charged and convicted of forgery. Proving Forgery Prosecutors must prove several facts in order to get a forgery conviction. They must prove that the person or persons: made, altered, used, or possessed a false writing in an effort to defraud. Let’s break that down:
- Made, Altered, Used, Or Possessed. This is the first element of forgery. It’s more all encompassing than what we typically think of as forgery, which is often just making false writings. Altering documents can misrepresent the person whose name was used and altering the documents can affect the legality of them – both of which have serious consequences. Using or possessing forged documents is illegal for obvious reasons.
- A False Writing. It’s important to note that not all writings will meet the definition of forgery. To be considered a forged document, the writing must have legal significance and be false. To have legal significance the item must affect legal rights and/or obligations. So while signing a doctor’s name on a prescription would be considered forgery, signing a friends’ name on a letter likely would not.
The writing must also be false. It must be made up or altered so that the changes represent something the writing actually isn’t.
- In An Effort To Defraud. The final piece of the puzzle is the intent or effort to defraud another person or entity. This qualification actually helps to protect people who unknowingly pass forged items or documents from liability. Without intent, there can be no conviction.