Forgery: Understanding the Crime, Its Consequences, and How to Protect Yourself (State of Washington)
To define Forgery, it is when a person with the intent to injure or commit fraud falsely makes, completes, or alters a “written instrument” or document knowingly. It can also include possessing, disposing, or offering to another a falsified document that you knew to be forged. Generally written instruments must have some sort of legal significance for them to be punishable by Forgery. Some examples of this may include notaries, driver’s license, passports, works of art, letters of recommendation and/or any documents of significant importance. Additionally, registered devices include checks, contracts, deeds, wills, and any other document that has legal significance. In addition to these traditional forms of Forgery, Washington recognizes electronic and digital forms of imitation, such as altering or creating electronic records, passwords, or digital signatures.
What can happen if I get charged with Forgery?
In the State of Washington Forgery is a serious offense that involves the manufacturing of false documents, or the altering of existing documents with intent to deceive or defraud. Forgery takes many forms, including but not limited to the creation of fake passports, IDs, currencies, checks, wills, and other documents of legal significance. Other items such as letters of recommendation and works of art can also be punishable by being charged with Forgery.
Forgery is considered a class C felony in the State of Washington. As such it is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally a conviction may affect your personal rights and future as it will automatically restrict your right to possess or purchase firearms, and difficulty in finding employment, housing, or educational opportunities may arise as well.
What are possible defenses?
When it comes to defending forgery cases, there are a couple of possible defenses that could be utilized. Lack of intent or knowledge, and coercion are a couple of examples.
Lack of intent or knowledge:
Intent is one of the big pieces of Forgery cases that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Some examples could include not knowing that the document you were making alterations to was legally significant, or lacking an intention to defraud anyone.
You could also have been coerced into forging a legally significant document. Coercion in the State of Washington is defined as using threats to compel someone into engaging in activities that they have a right not to participate in, both legally or not. In this manner someone who was forced to forge documents under threats could potentially not be guilty under the State of Washington laws if proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Hire an Attorney Today
If you are charged with Forgery in Washington, it is essential to take the matter seriously and seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can help you understand your rights and options, negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf, and build a strong defense strategy. It is essential to seek the advice of a qualified attorney to help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights. As with any crime, prevention is vital, so be vigilant about protecting your personal information and documents, and report any suspected instances of forgery to the authorities. The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer would be happy to assist you in your case in order to seek the best possible outcome.
Contact us today and schedule a free consultation at the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer. Don’t wait, take the step to protect your freedom and future now.