In Florida, counterfeiting and forgery are considered felonies and can consequently result in severe penalties. Such charges have serious ramifications for those accused and should be handled by an experienced Miami criminal lawyer. So, if you or someone you know is being investigated for forgery, you should immediately schedule a free consultation with a reputable Miami criminal attorney. They will be able to assist you in building a defense.
What constitutes a Forgery Charge?
To be accused of forgery, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged offender:
- Has copied, changed or otherwise created a false version of a written document.
- Has made false claims that they are, or represent someone or an entity which they are not or do not represent.
The accused must also:
- Have done so in a document of legal significance which
- Has demonstrated intent to harm or defraud another person.
The definition of forgery requires the intent to harm somebody. However, it’s not necessary for harm to result in order for the prosecutor to bring forward forgery charges. Fraud charges can be based on intent alone.
Documents Which Are Protected by Law
The type of document used as evidence for forgery is also crucial when prosecutors determine whether a forgery charge can be supported. These documents must be legally protected documents items such as the following:
- Certificates, court clerk or notary public attestations, public records, (but only when such documents are available for legal proof in court.)
Here are some specific examples of the types documents protected by law:
- Deeds, charters, bonds, wills, insurance policies, bills of exchange for promissory notes, power of attorney documents;
- Acquittances, Orders, documents of discharge (for properties or money);
- Bill of exchange, payment acceptance notes or promissory notes (for the acceptance of money or goods or property received);
- Tickets issued for transportation by common carriers.
Here are some of the most commonplace examples of forged documents:
- ID cards;
- Marriage and Birth Certificates;
- Historical documents;
- Deeds for property
Offering a document for payment which is forged is also considered a crime. To sustain such a conviction, intent to defraud another individual on the part of the alleged forger must be proven.
Possible punishments and defenses
If government documents are forged, the charges are usually not enforced on the state level. The punishment becomes subject to federal charges as a third-degree felony.
Our law firm has an experienced Miami criminal lawyer who is ready to help improve your chances of avoiding the five-year prison sentence and $5000 fine generally imposed for such a felony.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.