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Defenses to Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument30 Jan 2019

Today, it is becoming harder and harder for lawmakers and the technology alike to keep up to speed with ways in which criminals commit white collar criminalities. These days, lawbreakers use whatever they can lay their hands on such as a check, websites, credit cards and much more to perpetuate crime. They use this to get people vital information which they use inappropriately or even extort money from them.


Information is documented and exchanged in a different manner across the world. Therefore, lawmakers in most states have come up with legal terms which account for most documents technologies and avenues whereby a victim’s financial or personal information is recorded. Nonetheless, these tactics may change with time.


Today, criminal possession of forged instruments is a felony. It covers quite a lot of fields too. However, it enables lawmakers to communicate about a specific case without even diving into the specifics.


What does the term criminal possession of forged instruments mean?


In most states today, being in possession of a forged instrument with the intent of defrauding, injuring a person or even deceiving is a crime and is punishable. Under various circumstances, this crime is charged as an offense. Creating a false instrument, otherwise known as forgery is in itself a separate crime. In many states, forged instruments may include, but not limited to


• Credit cards, checks


• Promissory notes


• Money orders


• Driving license


• Securities


• Tiles


• Bonds


• Currencies


• Deeds


• Computer data


There are three degrees of the crime involving being in possession of a forged instrument.


  1. There is the first degree which being in possession of fake money; government-issued security, stamps, bonds, corporate stocks or other corporate instruments
  2. The second degree includes being in possession of forged wills, deeds, contracts, credit cards, commercial instruments, public records that need to be filled with a public entity, being in possession of official government documents.
  3. The third degree is being in possession of fake written instruments.

What are the consequences of being in possession of a forged instrument?


In New York for instance, when one is arrested for being in possession of a forged instrument, they face felony charges. Here, this crime is under class D felony.


When you are convicted and do not have a previous criminal record, you will face up to seven years behind bars. Aggravating factors such as a prior criminal record or any other associated charge will see that you’re charged more than the above sentence of seven years. Therefore, there is a strong need for people accused of this offense to find a strong defense lawyer for forged instruments.


What is being charged with possessing forged instruments with knowledge?


This may also differ from a state to the other. However, to take a case of Kentucky for instance, a prosecutor must prove to the court that you were actually caught with a forged instrument knowingly that is a forged instrument. The defendant who unsuspectingly accepts forged money has not broken this law.


With the intent to defraud or injure someone


Like discussed above, if you are in possession of a fake dollar bill in Kentucky without your knowledge, this is not a crime. If someone gives you a fake currency as a gift or a gag, you are not at risk. The problem is when you knowingly try to pass it over as a real currency to buy anything or better still benefit from it. In Kentucky, it is not a crime of being in possession of any false instrument unless you intend to injure someone with it, deceive or defraud someone.


It is a crime if you, for example, have it in your wallet among your other genuine cash. If you are flagged down by police for overspending, and accidentally they spy a fake note in your wallet among other cards such as your driver’s license, they may arrest and charge you on suspicion that you are in possession of the fake instrument.


Having it with you along with other genuine documents and cash may strongly suggest that you had the intent of using it in illegal ways. Passing it off to an unsuspicious trader would demonstrate that you had the intention of defrauding or deceiving them. The prosecutor, therefore, will have to prove to the court that you knew that you were carrying the forged instrument and beyond any shadow of a doubt use it to benefit yourself.

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