What to Do If You Are Accused of Forgery

Florida law is jam-packed with provisions related to forgery and fraud-related offenses, including a whole chapter devoted to the matter in the Florida Statutes. Many of these offenses not only constitute felonies, resulting in prosecution for creating and possessing forged or fraudulent documents, but are also subject to some of the Sunshine State’s harshest recidivist sentencing statutes, able to drastically increase the maximum penalty. Being arrested or charged with a forgery- or fraud-related offense is no laughing matter. 

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 federal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg 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. Below, we’ll provide a general overview of some of the most common examples of forgery crimes and the possible defenses to these charges. 

Related: Fraud Cases Could Spike Due to COVID-19

Common Forgery Crimes

When you think of forgery, your mind most likely jumps to the white-collar crime of forging check signatures; however, the actual definition of forgery extends much further than that. While checks are perhaps the forged document most people are aware of, many other types of documents are commonly forged and counterfeited, including:

  • Money orders
  • Deeds
  • Currency
  • Court seals
  • Securities
  • Titles
  • Corporate documents 

Any person who falsely alters, makes, forges, or counterfeits a document of this type can be guilty of a felony of the third degree. Simply possessing these forged notes, bills, checks, or drafts can also land you in some pretty serious trouble. These charges change depending on whether or not certain factors or elements are in place. For example, simply falsifying a letter or document does not constitute forgery unless the person has done so in an attempt to defraud a person or entity. The same goes for simply possessing a forged document without the knowledge that the document is false. 

Related: 8 Ways You Can Be Accused of Fraud

Defenses Against Forgery Charges

If you have been accused of forgery, reach out to the best federal defense attorney in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm who will review your case and immediately get to work on crafting a strong defense. Possible defenses to your forgery charges include the following: 

  • Lack of Intent: In order to be found liable for forgery, you must have intended to commit deception. Some forgery crimes require specific intent, meaning that if you only create the document or the item but do not use it to deceive others, you may have a lack of intent to carry out the crime. This can be a difficult defense to prove, however, in situations in which there is financial gain as a result. 
  • Consent: This is, by far, one of the simplest defenses to forgery. If you can demonstrate that you received consent from another person to sign a document on their behalf, then you have not committed forgery. 
  • Illegally Obtained Evidence: If the police obtained evidence against you in violation of your constitutional rights, then there may be a means to prevent the prosecution from using that evidence in a court of law. 

For a free consultation with a federal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. 

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