If you have been charged with a forgery or counterfeiting crime, it’s important to contact an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney right away. Forgery encompasses a wide variety of offenses and is generally defined as altering or signing a document for purposes of committing fraud or harming another individual.
A person commits forgery by using a false name to sign a document, using another person’s checks, changing the date or money amount on a document, altering a will, or using a fake ID. People have also been charged with forgery or counterfeiting when they have engaged in copying or altering prescriptions for the purpose of obtaining pharmaceuticals.
Whether you create, alter, or disguise an item or a document with the intent to defraud someone, you can be found guilty of forgery or counterfeiting.
Penalties for Forgery
Although forgery is typically known as a “white collar crime,” the penalties are nevertheless quite serious and can alter a person’s life forever.
Depending on the severity of the fraud, the penalties for forgery can be very serious. For example, an individual who fraudulently uses a credit card or forges a check will face a felony charge, which can result in up to two years of jail time, a maximum fine of $10,000, and a permanent criminal record.
Some forgery charges, including those that involve printing fake currency, are generally prosecuted at the federal level, which can mean extremely tough penalties upon conviction.
Even a misdemeanor conviction can result in life-changing penalties, including jail time, fines, and a criminal record that can stop you from getting a job, renting an apartment, or obtaining a professional license.
Defending a Forgery Case
If you have been charged with forgery, you need an experienced attorney on your side. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer knows how to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. For example, your lawyer may be able to show that you did not intend to defraud anyone – an essential element the prosecution must prove to win its case.