In school, you may have tried to copy your parent’s signature when you forgot to get something signed. Copying your parent’s name on a report card or permission slip may pale in comparison to the charges you are now facing if authorities have accused you of fraud-related forgery.
Texas and federal laws impose harsh penalties on those convicted of this crime and its many facets. Understanding the law and learning how it applies to your case is your first step to building a strong defense strategy.
What is forgery?
In its simplest form, forgery is a lot like you may remember from your school days. You sign or alter someone else’s name on an official document, such as a check, a credit card authorization or mortgage application. However, forgery can include many other forms of fraud, such as:
- Printing or pressing false currency
- Cutting fake credit cards
- Entering false information on official records or documents
- Creating fake documents with the purpose of committing fraud
You may also face charges of forgery if you have in your possession a forged document that authorities believe you intended to pass off as authentic or the materials necessary to create a forgery. The actual act of passing a forged item may constitute a separate charge.
What charges might I face?
Depending on the type of document involved, the value of the property and other factors, you may face misdemeanor or felony charges at the state or federal level. Federal charges may result if the alleged forgery involves government documents, such as money, stamps or government records. You may face 10 years in prison and fines that reach $10,000.
Forgeries related to credit cards, contracts, mortgages, wills and those legal documents under state authority can result in felony charges at the state level. A conviction for one state felony can lead to two years behind bars and a $10,000 fine. Charges for lesser types of forgery may lead to a misdemeanor charge.
You have a great deal at stake whether you face federal or state charges, a misdemeanor or a felony count. The penalties are harsh, and a conviction on your record is a stain that can affect many areas of your life for years to come.
Fortunately, there are a number of defense strategies to consider when facing forgery charges. After discussing these with a skilled attorney, you may have a better idea of the best way to proceed for the most positive outcome possible.