Forgery is often considered signing another person’s name but involves the falsification of many other legal documents. Technological advances have allowed for increased ways for people to forge documents.
A person who is accused of forgery may not have known that the documents they were presenting were forged. Any criminal charges will need to be taken seriously as forgery can be a felony in some cases.
Denton Forgery Attorney
Were you or your loved one recently arrested for alleged forgery in the greater Denton area? You should not speak to police until you have legal representation.
Forgery Charges in Denton County
Texas Penal Code § 32.21 establishes that a person commits forgery if they forge a writing with intent to defraud or harm another. The term forge is defined as meaning:
- To alter, make, complete, execute, or authenticate any writing so that it purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act, to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case, or to be a copy of an original when no such original existed;
- To issue, transfer, register the transfer of, pass, publish, or otherwise utter a writing that is forged within the meaning of the paragraph above; or
- To possess a writing that is forged within the meaning of the first paragraph with intent to utter it in a manner specified in the second paragraph.
Writing is defined as including:
- Printing or any other method of recording information;
- Money, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges, and trademarks; and
- Symbols of value, right, privilege, or identification
An intent to defraud or harm another is presumed if the alleged offender acts with respect to two or more writings of the same type and if each writing is a government record listed in Texas Penal Code § 37.01(2)(C). This statute provides that a government record includes:
- Anything belonging to, received by, or kept by government for information, including a court record;
- Anything required by law to be kept by others for information of government;
- A license, certificate, permit, seal, title, letter of patent, or similar document issued by government, by another state, or by the united states;
- A standard proof of motor vehicle liability insurance form, a certificate of an insurance company, a document purporting to be such a form or certificate that is not issued by an insurer authorized to write motor vehicle liability insurance in this state, an electronic submission in a form described by Texas Transportation Code § 502.046(i), or an evidence of financial responsibility;
- An official ballot or other election record; or
- The written documentation a mobile food unit is required to obtain.
Forgery Penalties in Texas
Forgery is a state jail felony if the alleged writing is or purports to be any of the following:
- Deed of trust;
- Security instrument;
- Security agreement;
- Credit card;
- Authorization to debit an account at a financial institution; or
- Similar sight order for payment of money, contract, release, or other commercial instrument.
A conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to two years in state jail. Forgery is a third-degree felony if the alleged writing is or purports to be:
- Part of an issue of money, securities, postage or revenue stamps;
- A government record listed in Texas Penal Code § 37.01(2)(C); or
- Other instruments issued by a state or national government or by a subdivision of either, or part of an issue of stock, bonds, or other instruments representing interests in or claims against another person.
A conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison, All other forgery crimes are Class A misdemeanor offenses punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
When a forgery offense is committed against an elderly individual (a person 65 years of age or older), the offense is increased to the next higher category. In other words, a Class A misdemeanor becomes a state jail felony, a state jail felony becomes a third-degree felony, and a third-degree felony becomes a second-degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison.
Forgery Defenses in Denton
The intent to defraud or harm another party is one of the more difficult aspects of a forgery case for a prosecutor to prove. Some people might have unknowingly possessed forged documents.
There can be other innocent explanations for alleged forgery offenses. Some people may also be able to use claims of duress or coercion in which they were forced to commit acts of forgery out of fear of harm to themselves or their loved ones.
Denton Forgery Resources
Easy Access to FBI Arrest Statistics | Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) — According to FBI statistics, the 56,800 people arrested for forgery and counterfeiting in 2014 was the lowest number of the period dating to 2008. Forgery and counterfeiting arrests declined each year. There were 90,100 arrests in 2008, 85,800 arrests in 2009, 78,100 arrests in 2010, 70,200 arrests in 2011, 67,000 arrests in 2012, and 61,000 arrests in 2013.
18 U.S. Code Chapter 25 | Counterfeiting and Forgery — View the federal laws relating to forgery. Learn more about counterfeit acts committed outside the United States, obligations or securities of United States, and deterrents to counterfeiting of obligations and securities. You can also find information about statutes relating to foreign obligations or securities, possessing counterfeit foreign obligations or securities, and fictitious obligations.
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Denton Forgery Lawyer
If you or your loved were arrested for alleged forgery in Denton or a surrounding area of Denton County, you must not delay in seeking legal representation. Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy as quickly as you can.