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The legal definition of forgery is a broad term that covers a range of criminal charges involving the intentional falsification of information on documents or records. A forgery conviction can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the specific charges brought against you.
The judicial system does not treat forgery charges lightly, which is why it’s essential to prepare your case well in advance with the assistance of an experienced defense attorney. The professional attorneys at Raiser & Kenniff can help you build a good case to defend yourself from charges that could have life-altering consequences in the years ahead.
The Three Degrees of Forgery
While all types of forgery charges carry serious penalties, there is a significant difference between the three degrees. A person can be charged with third degree forgery if they falsely make, complete or change a written document with the intent of defrauding, harming or deceiving another party. This type of offense is considered a class A misdemeanor and carries a punishment appropriate for the classification.
Forgery charges are elevated to the second degree when the individual is accused of making such alterations to certain types of legal documents, including deeds, wills, contracts, licenses and public records. Falsifying a prescription from a doctor or other medical professional also falls into this category. Individuals convicted of second degree forgery face the punishments associated with a class D felony.
As a class C felony, first degree forgery carries the harshest penalties of the three types. A person can be charged with forgery of the first degree if they falsify or alter documents related to money, stamps, stock, bonds or other financial instruments. Individuals charged with any type of forgery may also face related charges under Article 179 of the New York Penal Law code, including possession of a forged instrument and criminal simulation.
Defending Against Forgery Charges
Since forgery law encompasses a wide range of activity, there are several avenues of defense that your attorney can help you pursue. Individuals who are suffering from a mental illness or similar debilitating disorder can use their disability as a defense. Also, children under the age of 16 may also be able to avoid conviction based on grounds of infancy.
Individuals may also be in possession of a forged document or unintentionally provide false information, which are both defensible positions. You can fight the charges by proving that you did not intend to defraud, deceive or harm another individual through your actions, or if you were not aware that the document had been forged at all. Matters of intention require careful planning and research to properly defend, which is why you should contact Raiser & Kenniff right away to discuss your options.
Fight Forgery Charges with Expert Trial Attorneys
If you are facing charges of forgery in the first, second or third degree, you need the assistance of a professional legal expert to guide you through the process. Our team of lawyers is made up of experienced and seasoned attorneys who know the system inside and out. Founded by attorneys who have worked on both sides of the court room, you can trust Raiser & Kenniff to handle your case magnificently. Give us a call to learn more about our firm and how we can help you overcome your current legal challenges.