Documents are legal instruments that dictate everything from the terms of a contract to our estate plan, and we depend on their authenticity to make them enforceable. However, documents which are not authentic, but instead created by someone with the intent of using them to defraud another, can be seriously damaging, particularly if they are accepted as real. These forged documents are known as “written instruments,” and creating one or altering an authentic document with fraudulent intentions constitutes the crime of forgery.
Forgery is considered a “wobbler” crime, which means simple charges are misdemeanors, but could be escalated to a felony level in more serious situations. This means any conviction could warrant serious criminal consequences, and that you should not hesitate to speak with a Nassau County criminal defense attorney from Foley & Griffin, LLP as soon as possible. Since 1997, our firm has faithfully served and gave back to the community by helping those who are facing the harshness of the criminal justice system to have a fair trial. We are proud of our track record of substantial success, earned through our unique approach that prioritizes thorough preparation and an aggressive strategy. Our integrity and dedication to our practice and our clients has earned us numerous accolades, including a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo.
Have you been accused of forgery? Get help fighting back! Call Foley & Griffin, LLP now at (888) 966-8480 to request a free case evaluation and get started creating your hard-hitting defense.
Forgery is an extremely broad crime, and as such the laws are written expansively in order to encompass as many different actions as possible. The definition of a “written instrument” is also fairly vague in order to include a growing list of forged items in our electronic age. As such, a written instrument can include things like contracts, identifications, and legal documents, but also includes electronic property like computer data, programs, and even electronic currency like bitcoin.
Further still, some types of property automatically elevate forgery charges to the felony level, and you’ll face a much harsher sentence if you are convicted. In New York, felony forgery is broken down into two levels—first degree and second degree—with both containing serious penalties. In all cases, you should speak with an attorney immediately if you find yourself answering to charges of this white collar crime.
Simple forgery is considered a Class A misdemeanor in New York, which means you will face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Because this is a high-level misdemeanor, it’s not uncommon for prosecutors to push for these maximum penalties. Having an attorney on your side can help you fight back against your charges and work to reach a resolution to your case that reflects your best interests.
Second degree forgery is the first felony-level classification and the penalties become much more serious. Second degree forgery is a Class D felony, which means a conviction could warrant up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Finally, first degree forgery is a Class C felony, meaning you could face a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $5,000, or double your gain from the acts for which you are convicted, whichever is higher.
Those who are convicted of criminal acts have additional consequences to consider as well. Criminal convictions stay on your personal public record for the rest of your life, and could make it difficult to seek employment, obtain a loan, and more. Those convicted of a felony also could lose some of their rights, including the right to vote and the right to own a firearm. Don’t face these intense consequences without first obtaining assistance from a skilled lawyer.
Contact Foley & Griffin, LLP today to get high-quality counsel for your forgery charges!