What are the Consequences for Forgery in Georgia?
If you forge a check, the maximum possible sentence is 5 years in prison, but if you forge any other kind of document, the maximum possible sentence is 15 years in prison.
A note home from the teacher about classroom misbehavior or a poor grade on an assignment has stricken fear in the heart of many an elementary school student, especially the part at the bottom where the student’s parent must sign the note before the student returns it to the teacher. These notes become a lot less scary by middle school, when students realize that they can just fake their parents’ signatures. If you and your friend get caught sharing answers on your homework, you do not think twice before signing each other’s parents’ names on the teacher’s note and hoping that the teacher is none the wiser. In most contexts, though, faking someone’s signature is a crime, as is faking many other kinds of written material. Creating a fake check or other fake document is known as forgery, and the Atlanta white collar crimes defense attorneys at Zimmerman & Associates can help you if you are being charged with this crime.
Forgery of Checks
According to Georgia law, forgery of checks is fourth-degree or third-degree forgery, depending on the value of the check. Fourth-degree forgery is defined as forging a check for less than $1,500 and is a misdemeanor. If the value of the check is $1,500 or more, it is third-degree forgery, which is a felony. The penalty for a third-degree forgery conviction is imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years. The penalty for a fourth-degree forgery conviction is imprisonment for up to one year.
Forgery of Documents Other Than Checks
The forgery of a document other than a check can be prosecuted as second-degree or first-degree forgery, depending on the number of financial losses caused by the deception. You can be charged with forgery if you created the forged document or if you did not create the forged document, but you presented it under false pretenses, trying to convince the recipient that the document was real even though you knew it was fake. The penalty for a first-degree forgery conviction is imprisonment for not less than one year and nor more than fifteen years. The penalty for a second-degree forgery conviction is imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.
These are some examples of first-degree and second-degree forgery:
- Producing counterfeit currency.
- Spending banknotes that you know are fake.
- Presenting a fake birth certificate or passport when applying for a driver’s license.
- Presenting a fake diploma when applying for a job.
One possible defense to a charge of forgery is that you did not know that the document was fake. For example, you get charged with forgery when you pay for a pair of boots using a fake $20 bill you earned as tips from your waitressing job. You could argue that you did not know the bill was fake. Likewise, if the police find a fake banknote in your wallet, along with some genuine ones, you could argue that the police illegally searched your wallet.
Contact Zimmerman & Associates About Financial Crimes Defense
An Atlanta financial crimes defense lawyer can help you avoid a long prison sentence if you are facing criminal charges for forgery. Contact Zimmerman & Associates in Norcross, Georgia to set up a free consultation.