When people speak of forgery, they are referring to the attempt to defraud someone through the use of a false written document. Forgery does not only refer to handwriting. It also includes the production or alteration of any legally significant document by use of a printer, typewriter, or engraver.
Although forgery happens with some
regularity, not all of it is criminal. For example, if you created something silly like a ticket to Mars or wrote a check for a zillion dollars and gave them out to people, no one would take that seriously. Criminal forgery must include the intent to defraud and includes documents such as:
- Negotiable notes
- Deeds to property
Essentially, criminal forgery happens when someone creates a false document that has legal value. The crime can also include documents commonly used in business, such as a letter of recommendation that is false. If you’ve been accused of trying to use a forged document to commit fraud, a Daytona criminal attorney may be able to help.
Penalties for Forgery
In Florida, forgery is considered to be a third-degree felony. As such, it is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000.00 fine. Forgery is a white-collar crime and is assigned a severity risk level of 1.
A Florida judge has the discretion to sentence a person up to the maximum extent or sentence them to probation.
Check forgery in Florida does not always result in a third-degree felony conviction. In instances where the amount of the forged check was $150.00 or less, the offender is guilty of a first- degree misdemeanor and can be sentenced to jail for up to a year.
If the amount of the check is more than $150.00, the crime is a third-degree felony subject to the punishments listed above.
Get Help from a Daytona Criminal Attorney
Forgery in Florida is a serious crime. If you forged a check in Florida that is involved with business across state lines, you may also be charged with a federal crime. This is no time to take the criminal justice system lightly and simply hope for the best.
A qualified Daytona Beach criminal attorney can help you understand the charges against you. Depending on the facts in your case, a strong defense could help lessen the severity of your punishment or get the charges dropped altogether.