Forgery Defense Lawyer Serving Fort Worth, Texas
Texas prohibits forgery, which involves altering a document in a way that is deceitful or affects another person’s legal rights. Forgery often includes imitating another person’s signature or creating falsified documents. The penalties are serious if you have been accused of forgery in Texas. Contact the Law Office of Steven Jumes today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more about how we can protect your legal rights.
What Constitutes Forgery in Texas?
In Texas, it is illegal to forge any type of writing. The prosecution needs to prove that you intended to harm or defraud another person by forging a document or signature. As a result, they will need to prove that you knowingly intended to create or use fake or falsified documents to deceive or defraud an individual or a group of individuals.
Texas’ forgery statute Under the law, the definition of writing is different than many people presume it to be. When it comes to forgery, the definition of a “writing” includes all of the following:
- Money or coins
- Any type of recorded information or printing
- Credit cards or trademarks
- Badges or stamps
- Any symbols of privilege or value
Specifically, forgery means to alter, make, or authenticate writing, so it purports:
- to be the act of another who did not authorize that act;
- to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was the case; or
- to be a copy of an original when no such original existed;
- to issue, transfer, register the transfer of, pass, publish, or otherwise utter a writing that is forged; or
- to possess writing that is forged with intent to utter it in a manner specified above.
Forgery of Two Or More Documents
When a defendant has been charged with forging two or more documents, the prosecution does not have to prove specific intent. In other words, if the prosecution has obtained two different documents that are allegedly forged by the same person, they will not have to prove that the defendant knowingly intended to use fake or falsified documents to defraud someone. The prosecution will still need to prove that the documents were forged.
The Penalties for a Forgery Conviction in Texas
Forgery is a crime that prosecutors can charge as a misdemeanor or a felony. The circumstances of the alleged crime will determine how serious the charges against you will be. Another key factor is the type of legal instrument or document that was allegedly forged by the defendant. For example, if the alleged victim was an incapacitated person or an elderly person, the penalties may be harsher. In Texas, the penalties for being convicted of forgery can include the following:
- Forging a will, deed, or check: 18 months to two years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines
- Forging postage, paper money, or bonds: Two to 10 years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines
- Forging any other instrument: up to one year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines
If the forgery affected an elderly person, the prosecution could raise the offense to a first-degree felony, punishable by between five and 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The consequences for forgery are harsh, which is why you need excellent legal representation.
State Jail Felony
When the alleged forgery involves checks, wills, deeds, credit cards, contracts, and other financial instruments, the defendant can be charged with a state jail felony offense. This charge carries a maximum prison sentence of two years.
Felony of the Third Degree
Some forgery penalties are considered serious third-degree felony charges. When the forgery involves stocks, bonds, cash, or any other type of government documents or records, you will face a third-degree felony offense that carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
When the forgery involves any other type of document, it can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor charge. While a misdemeanor charge for forgery is a less serious offense than felony charges, it could still result in a county jail sentence of up to one year.
Defenses to Forgery Charges in Texas
The best defenses to forgery charges depend on the facts of your case. There are many defenses you can make to fight against forgery charges. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to argue that you did not have the necessary intent to harm or defraud another person. Unless you are accused of forging more than one document, the prosecution will need to prove that you knowingly intended to fraud a person or group of people with the forged document. Other legal defenses to forgery include:
- Mistaken identity
- Good faith belief that the defendant had the authority to sign or create the document
- Lack of altered or falsified written documents
- The defendant lacked the intent to defraud the alleged victim
We can argue that you did not intend to defraud or harm another person in your case. Depending on the facts in your case, you may be able to argue that the writing involved was not forged. In other cases, police officers may have violated your constitutional rights during the search and seizure process. We recommend reaching out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so your attorney can begin investigating and preparing your defense.
Discuss Your Case With a Texas Forgery Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with forgery, you will need a competent and dynamic criminal defense attorney on your side. Attorney Steven Jumes will carefully review the facts of your case and develop an effective legal strategy on your behalf. Whether you are facing minor forgery charges or you are facing years behind bars, if convicted, you can count on Steven Jumes to provide you with an excellent legal defense. Contact the Law Office of Steven Jumes today to schedule your free case evaluation.