Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

While any degree or arrest for Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in New York is a crime punishable by incarceration and a permanent criminal record, the real danger begins when the offense is a felony. While your criminal lawyer can explain the difference between a felony or misdemeanor in New York, one of the significant differences is that you lose certain rights as a convicted felon. In the realm of fraud crimes involving Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, that lowest felony offense is New York Penal Law 170.25. Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree is a "D" felony punishable by up to seven years in prison for even a first time offender. Although “low,” a conviction for Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument is far from trivial. A defendant with a prior felony record in the previous ten years would also face a minimum of two to four years in state prison.

Defining New York Penal Law 170.25

Much like its "kid sister" offense of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree, NY PL 170.25 has the same basic premise and legal elements. First, you must possess an instrument that you know to be fake or false (forged) with the intent to defraud or deceive another person. Unlike the misdemeanor variety crime, only specific types of instruments qualify for a felony prosecution.

The following is a brief and general list of these types of purported instruments that must be in your possession. For a full description and understanding of these instruments and how they "bump" up the crime against you to a felony, consult with a New York criminal attorney or Forged Instrument lawyer.

  • A deed, will contract, commercial instrument, credit card or any instrument that may create, transfer or terminate or otherwise affect a legal right, interest or obligation. This category of instruments that may be felonious is extremely broad.
  • A public record or any instrument filed or required to be filed by law with a public office or with a public servant.
  • A written instrument officially issued or created by a public office or government instrumentality. "Fake ID" cases routinely fall into this category of felony Forged Instrument crimes.
  • Certificates or other types of instruments, such as a MetroCard (manipulation of the physical card is often enough for a felony), manufactured and designed for use as a symbol of value useable in place of money for the purchase of property or services.
  • A physician's prescription or similar instrument used for the taking or administering of drugs.

Crimes Associated with Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

The instrument that you are alleged to have possessed that is fraudulently created or manipulated may fall into one or more of the NY PL 170.25 subsections. Practically speaking, prosecutors may be able to charge you with multiple crimes for the same possession. Even if they do not, this felony often time is associated with other felony crimes that may be even more serious than a Forged Instrument crime depending on the nature of the alleged scheme. These offenses can include:

Regardless of the number of counts you may face in an arrest, indictment or trial for Criminal Possession of a Forged Instruments or other felony fraud crimes in New York, two things must be clear. Prison and a permanent non-expungeable felony record are strong possibilities. Do you have a defense to the charges? If not, can you mitigate your conduct? If all else fails, how will you convince a court or the prosecution that you should not be incarcerated in state prison?

The founding New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC understand that each case is as unique as the individual accused of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree. Not only do we have the courtroom experience and legal training to confront these offenses on our client's behalf, we diligently work to identify what we believe to be the best defense and to put that defense into motion. Make no mistake. It is not just your liberty that is in jeopardy, but your future, integrity and livelihood.

Call our criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.