Florida law treats forgery very seriously. According to Florida Statutes Chapter 831, forgery occurs when someone falsely makes, alters, forges or counterfeits a variety of documents. Forgery often brings to mind forging a check, however there are several types of forgery of which you may be accused. It is important to understand what forgery is and what you can do if you are accused of forgery.
If you have been charged with a fraud or forgery offense, or if you think you might be in the future, you must contact an experienced, aggressive fraud defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm as soon as possible. Only prompt intervention by a qualified attorney on your behalf will have the potential to increase the likelihood of these charges being dropped or reduced
In short, forgery is always a type of fraud in the eyes of the law. As we mentioned earlier, forgery occurs when a document is altered, marked, or counterfeited. This white collar crime can occur on a variety of documents, including:
Public record, or a certificate, return or attestation of any clerk or register of a court, public register, notary public, town clerk or any public officer, in relation to a matter wherein such certificate, return or attestation may be received as a legal proof
A charter, deed, will, testament, bond, or writing obligatory, letter of attorney, policy of insurance, bill of lading, bill of exchange or promissory note, or an order, acquittance, or discharge for money or other property
Money order, checks, or securities
An acceptance of a bill of exchange or promissory note for the payment of money, or any receipt for money, goods or other property, or any passage ticket, pass or other evidence of transportation issued by a common carrier, with intent to injure or defraud any person
In short, if a document is falsified for personal or financial gain, it is a type of forgery. These forgeries all constitute fraud, which is a very serious accusation
If found guilty, forgery is a type of fraud which is a felony in the third degree. In Florida, forgery is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine. Forgery is assigned a Level 1 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.
With each accusation of forgery, the punishment may increase from probation all the way to prison time. Having an aggressive white collar defense attorney in Tampa will help you prove your innocence and negotiate for a reduced sentence should you be found guilty.
In order to be found guilty of forgery, a prosecutor must prove intent, which means that you knowingly intended to deceive others. If your act of forgery was on someone else’s behalf, for example, signing a check, for which you had their permission which they then denied, a prosecutor must prove that consent was not actually given. Additionally, all evidence against you must be legally obtained.
If you have been charged with forgery or fraud, we cannot stress enough the seriousness of this allegation. In order to ensure that your case results in the best possible outcome, our attorneys will closely assess the circumstances of your case, answer any questions, and offer you knowledgeable legal advice.