Known as the “counterfeit money” statute, first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument is one of the most serious forged instrument crimes in New York. A felony that can lead to fines and a lengthy prison sentence, it is also considered serious enough of a crime that in addition to being investigated by New York police detectives, the U.S. Secret Service will also likely be involved. Thus, if you find yourself facing severe consequences associated with New York Penal Code 170.30, it is to hire a defense attorney who has experience handling these cases, such as a lawyer from the firm of Raiser and Kenniff.
Defining New York Penal Code 170.30
Since these cases involve numerous complexities, it is important to understand the details of New York Penal Code 170.30 in order to properly fight the charges against you. To begin with, it states you must possess an instrument you know is fake, which can include being falsely created, altered, or changed in some manner. Along with this, you must be in possession of this instrument with the intent to trick or deceive another person. However, it is important to note that to be charged with this crime, you must be in possession of an instrument of value issued by the U.S. government or a government agency, such as money, securities, or stamps. If you are found to be in possession of items such as credit cards, passports, deeds, or similar items that provide a legal right, you will likely face felony or misdemeanor charges that are not considered first-degree offenses.
Penalties and Punishments
Since this is considered a Class C felony, it is not mandatory the court sentence you to prison if convicted. However, since courts often take a dim view of defendants in these cases, if you are given a prison sentence, it will likely be for anywhere between five and 15 years. But as your defense attorney will realize, the judge will have the option to hand out a prison sentence of only one to three years, or perhaps even put aside a prison sentence and instead sentence you to probation, fines, community service, or a conditional discharge. However, unless your case is dismissed or a violation is found to have occurred regarding your case, you will have a permanent criminal record.
While at first it may seem to you as if there is no choice but to plead guilty to the charges, your defense attorney from Raiser and Kenniff will know there are numerous strategies that can be used in your defense. For example, in attacking the District Attorney’s case, your lawyer will challenge how police recovered the counterfeit items, which in some instances can result in unreasonable search and seizure. In other cases, your attorney may argue you had no knowledge the items in your possession were fake, which would mean you never had any intent to defraud anyone. And in some situations, your lawyer will move to have any statements or admissions made by you be inadmissible in court, which can be effective if the statements were made without your attorney being present, or if they were made under duress or before you were read your Miranda rights.
Related Crimes and Offenses
In addition to the examples mentioned earlier, there are other crimes and offenses that also fall under this category. Two of the most common are Grand Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, which must involve counterfeit money being used to make the purchases, and Enterprise Corruption, which means law enforcement and the district attorney believe you are either part of or the leader of a criminal organization. In these cases, which are all felonies, penalties can range from up to four years in a city or county jail to 25 years or more in a state prison.
If you find yourself facing these charges, be prepared to have the district attorney fight hard for a conviction against you. Because of this, you will need the services of a skilled defense attorney from Raiser and Kenniff to ensure your legal rights are protected each step of the way. Otherwise, you may be facing many years in jail or prison.