I Have Been Accused of Forgery, What Should I Do?

If you are facing criminal charges for forgery, you should meet with a criminal defense lawyer to discuss defenses that might apply to your case.

In the absence of other malicious actions, possessing or creating fake documents is far from the most harmful thing you can do. Despite the fact that forgery is not a violent crime and that, by itself, does not always cause someone else to suffer financial losses, it is still a felony in most cases, and certain types of forgery are likely to result in criminal charges in federal court. In any criminal case, you have the presumption of innocence, and you have the right to be represented by a criminal defense lawyer. There is no one-size-fits-all defense to charges of forgery, but your lawyer can help you choose the most appropriate defense for your case. The Atlanta white-collar crimes defense attorneys at Zimmerman & Associates can help you if you are being charged with forgery.

How Serious a Crime is Forgery?

The term forgery refers to knowingly presenting false documents as if they were genuine, with the intent to defraud the recipient of the documents. Therefore, you can be convicted of forgery if you possess or present fake documents, even if you did not create them. The least serious form of forgery is check forgery. If the face value of the check is less than $1,500, then forgery is a misdemeanor, but if the value is at least $1,500, then it is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The most serious forgery charge is counterfeiting of currency, which is a federal offense with a maximum penalty of a 20-year prison sentence. Forgery of any other types of documents, such as diplomas or signatures on business correspondence, carries a maximum penalty of 15 years.

Defenses to Forgery Charges

You can only be convicted of forgery if you knew that the document was fake and you intended to persuade someone else that it was real. Therefore, one possible defense to forgery is that you also believed that the document was genuine. This defense only works if the document looks real and if you are not the one who produced it. For example, if you held a yard sale and many customers paid with small bills, you might not notice that one of them is fake before you deposit the money in the bank and the teller notices the suspicious-looking bill. Another possible defense is that you knew that the document was fake, and you never intended for the recipient to believe otherwise. For example, you will not be charged with counterfeiting money if there is a wallet in your backpack full of green rectangles, pictures of your coworker’s face, the words “Old Fogey Bucks,” and some symbols similar to the ones on the dollar bill. Your plan was to give the fake money to your coworker as a retirement present and for him to find it amusing, not to spend it.

Contact Zimmerman & Associates About Forgery Cases in Georgia

An Atlanta criminal defense attorney can represent you in a forgery case. Contact Zimmerman & Associates in Norcross, Georgia, to set up a free consultation.