Whether you signed credit card receipts or checks without permission, created counterfeit currency or altered passports, you may be charged with Forgery. Even a simple etching or covering up of a birth date on a driver's license is potentially a crime. While it is not likely that this type of Forgery is one that will receive the heavy hand of the law, Forgery is punishable by up to seven years in prison (see our sentencing guidelines and our blog entries below).
To better understand the law (and thereby protecting yourself from running afoul of violating Penal Law sections 170.05, 170.10 or 170.15), we have provided the statutes as follows:
Forgery in the Third Degree - PL 170.05
A person is guilty of Forgery in the Third Degree when, with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, he falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument.
Forgery in the Third Degree is a class A misdemeanor.
Forgery in the Second Degree - PL 170.10
A person is guilty of Forgery in the Second Degree when, with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, he falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument which is or purports to be, or which is calculated to become or to represent if completed:
1. A deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment, commercial instrument, credit card, as that term is defined in subdivision seven of section 155.00, or other instrument which does or may evidence, create, transfer, terminate or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obligation or status; or
2. A public record, or an instrument filed or required or authorized by law to be filed in or with a public office or public servant; or
3. A written instrument officially issued or created by a public office, public servant or governmental instrumentality; or
4. Part of an issue of tokens, public transportation transfers, certificates or other articles manufactured and designed for use as symbols of value usable in place of money for the purchase of property or services; or
5. A prescription of a duly licensed physician or other person authorized to issue the same for any drug or any instrument or device used in the taking or administering of drugs for which a prescription is required by law.
Forgery in the second degree is a class D felony.
Forgery in the First Degree - PL 170.15
A person is guilty of Forgery in the First Degree when, with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, he falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument which is or purports to be, or which is calculated to become or to represent if completed:
1. Part of an issue of money, stamps, securities or other valuable instruments issued by a government or governmental instrumentality; or
2. Part of an issue of stock, bonds or other instruments representing interests in or claims against a corporate or other organization or its property.
Forgery in the First Degree is a class C felony.
Whether you are accused of Forgery, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, Falsifying Business Records, or any fraud related crime, we know that a mere allegation is devastating to your integrity and name. Don't compound an already difficult situation by failing to take the proper steps to rectify a bad mistake. Not only may you have a valid and legal defense, but you need someone on your side to zealously advocate for you and set that defense into motion.
Call us at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.