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There are numerous forgery crimes with which one can be charged under the New York Penal Code. Unfortunately, the crime is commonly misunderstood and often leads to unforeseen legal complications for an accused individual. In general, forgery is the creation, possession, use, and alteration of objects, documents or statistical data with the intention to deceive, defraud or cause harm to other individuals or entities.
Often, forgery looks like a small act or prank, but it is a grave offense within all the fifty states. The crime is punishable by law, and the offender will be subject to state and even federal laws. Forgery legal cases are often complicated, confusing and challenging. Most alleged criminals find themselves overwhelmed by the circumstances. If this is your situation, you should consider consulting a Long Island forgery lawyer to provide guidance.
Statutes in the New York Forgery Law
In New York, there are three degrees of laws in forgery. If you are dealing with legal issues involving this form of fraud, it is important to understand the statutes.
Forgery in the Third Degree
Forgery in the third degree refers to general forging. In simple terms, if an individual makes, alters or illicitly completes a simple document with the intent to defraud or cause harm, they will be guilty of this offense at this level. This type of charge is considered a class A misdemeanor. The penalty imposed on an offender is up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $1000. If the crime goes beyond these actions, the degree will be elevated.
Forgery in the Second Degree
The difference between forgery in the second degree and the third depends on the forged instrument. An individual will be guilty of the offense if they alter, make or complete the outlined documents.
• Any material which creates, terminates, transfers or affects legal interests, obligations, status, and rights. These documents include wills, codicils, credit cards, and contracts.
• Public records which have been authorized for filing with public offices.
• Written material which is issued or created by the government.
• Tokens or documents which are created for use as valuable symbols in place of money.
• Physician prescriptions for drugs which cannot be issued without said document according to the law.
Forgery in the second degree is more severe and is classified as a Class D felony. The sentence for this offense is up to 7 years in the prison. The fine can be up to double the gains from the forgery or up to $5000.
Forgery in the First Degree
Like forgery in the second degree, the first-degree offenses involve the alteration, completion, and creation of specialty documents. One will be guilty of the crime when the forged instrument can be considered to be money, securities, stamps and other similar valuable items issued by the government. The same applies to instruments which represent corporation interest such as stock, bonds and similar valuable assets. A forgery offense at this level is a Class C felony. The penalty can be up to 15 years in prison as well as up to $5000 or twice the amount gained from the forgery.
Typical Examples of Modern Forgery
The offense of creating or using a false document occurs when an individual falsifies a particular document or modifies the content of an existing one. The purpose of the forged document is often for financial gain. When an alleged criminal is accused of forging a false document, the accuser must prove that the forger or holder made or used the paper with the intention to defraud. Standard forged documents include identity material like passports, literature, and checks.
Counterfeiting is an offense which involves the production of fake products or unauthorized copies. These are fabricated with the intention to take advantage of the originals. Creation and use of counterfeit money is a common issue associated with criminal organizations. Other goods related to counterfeiting include medication, watches, mechanical parts such as unapproved airplane parts and general consumer goods.
The complexity of art forgery makes the crime less prevalent, but the higher rate of success makes it attractive. In essence, this process involves creation and sale of artwork which is credited falsely to another person, usually a famous artist. If successful, the forgery can be lucrative. However, there are numerous ways in which experts can detect fakes with modern technology. Historical artifacts, archaeological items, music sheets and collector’s items like stamps are also forged.
Defending Against Forgery Charges
If you have been accused of forgery in New York, you should consult a Long Island forgery lawyer to provide legal counsel and protect your rights.