In white collar crimes, forgery involves imitating, making, or creating documents in order to deceive others for criminal purposes. In cases involving real estate, banking, or corporate fraud, forgery can involve falsifying documents by changing numbers, altering existing records, or signing someone else’s name on a contract, check, or legal document. Under §32.21 of the Texas Penal Code, attempts to alter, authenticate, or make complete any writing in order to make it appear to be that of someone else who did not actually authorize it, constitutes forgery. Under §32-21, the act of forgery also applies to the creation of documents, the making of coins, seals, stamps, credit cards, badges, trademarks, or symbols associated with certain rights and privileges.
Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Check Forgery
Cases involving forgery range from Class A misdemeanors to third degree felonies. Felony charges are usually reserved for the forgery of money, postage stamps, securities, wills, mortgage documents, or a deed of trust. Depending on the circumstances of a case and the amount of money involved, even though check and credit card forgery can carry a misdemeanor charge, jail time is usually assigned.
Typically, check forgery involves filling in, signing, and cashing in a check that does not belong to you or stealing unsigned checks and using them as if they were yours. In Texas, you don’t have to be the one who stole a check in order to be charged with check forgery. Additionally, if you accept a check you know was stolen, you can be charged with fraud as well. While each case is different, stealing or receiving stolen checks is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by 180 to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Proving Intent – Not always a Straightforward Matter in Forgery Cases
In order to be convicted of forgery, the prosecution must prove that a defendant knowingly and intentionally acted in such a way so as to mislead or defraud others through his or her actions. While ignorance of the law is not a defense, changing contracts, endorsing a check for a business partner, or adjusting numbers on a report may be honest mistakes or instances of miscommunication. Problems arise when zealous state or federal prosecutors are convinced you’re guilty of forgery based on circumstantial evidence or hearsay testimony of others under investigation or indictment for other criminal offenses.
Contact Dallas – Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys Clancy & Clancy
If you’ve been accused of forgery or are under investigation for forgery, contact Dallas forgery criminal defense attorneys at Clancy & Clancy today. The sooner a criminal defense attorney gets involved on your behalf, the better – even if you haven’t been charged yet. Protect your rights – give us a call today at (214) 550-5771 to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your case.