The crime of forgery is an act where a person uses writing to complete or otherwise misrepresent a document or work in order to harm or defraud another party. Charges for forgery vary. If you should become involved in a forgery case, you should know what factors contribute to harsher charges and punishment.
Since people often use forgery to obtain services or property, state law will tie the severity of a charge to the value of the property or service acquired. Texas law explains how a prosecutor may charge someone suspected of forgery based on value.
Values contributing to misdemeanors
A person who uses forgery to obtain property of a low or modest dollar amount may face a misdemeanor charge. If the government suspects you of using forged documents to gain something only worth less than $100, you may incur a Class C misdemeanor charge.
As the dollar amounts rise, the misdemeanor degrees will rise as well. If the property has a value more than $100 but no higher than $750, the state may charge you with a Class B misdemeanor. The charge can ascend to a Class A when the dollar amount reaches $750 or up to just under $2,500.
Values contributing to felonies
Once the property value reaches $2,500, Texas law may begin charging you with a felony. You may end up with a state jail felony conviction if the property value is $2,500 but is less than $30,000. The felonies will then progress through third, second and first degrees depending on the value, with first degree reserved for high dollar amounts of $300,000 or greater.
Forging government documents
You could also incur a felony punishment if law enforcement suspects you have used forgery to imitate or complete certain works issued by the federal or state government. These may include the following:
- Postage stamps
- Court records
- Other government records
Under Texas law, a prosecutor could charge you with a third class felony if they believe you are guilty of forging any of the aforementioned works or any instrument that the state or federal government issues. To sum it up, dollar amounts of property acquired through forgery and the nature of forged documents are important to forgery charges and may be critical factors in contesting these kinds of charges.