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Fake documents created by computers and sophisticated programs are becoming more and more common. It does not matter if a person uses a pen or the latest state-of-the-art software for design. Should someone be convicted of defrauding another person using a written method, Pennsylvania will subject them to serious punishment.
A person may have resorted to forgery because they felt tremendous pressure to pay overdue bills. It is important people realize if they are charged and found guilty of forgery, they will face serious consequences. It could involve them going to prison, being given hefty fines and having a criminal record. Anyone charged with forgery will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to get the best possible result for their situation.
A person has committed forgery when they intentionally attempt to defraud or injure another person with the use of printing or writing. The items that people have been charged under Pennsylvania’s forgery statute are fake money, faked documents, credit cards, trademarks, electronic signatures and more.
Committing Forgery in Pennsylvania
There are three defined ways someone can commit a criminal forgery offense in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
*Knowingly passing off a document as authentic when the person knows it is not authentic. It was created by them, or they know it was forged.
*Intentionally altering a person’s writing when they haven’t been given permission. An example would be if someone hand-wrote a check for $100 and the person who received it used the same color ink to change the dollar amount to a higher number. They then take the check with the altered amount to their bank and deposit it.
*Intentionally completing a document that someone else created or creating a document from scratch that is false. Forgery happens when someone claims a forged document is authentic. An example would be taking a blank check, forging a signature on it and then trying to use the check with a forged signature to purchase items. Another example is creating a forged gift card. This can be done using a design program people can put on their computer. It is illegal for people to take a forged gift card to a store and attempt to redeem it for merchandise.
Should anyone in Pennsylvania be convicted of forging money or something used as money, or a document provided by the US government, they may be charged with a felony in the second degree. Should anyone be convicted of forging legal documents including a deed or will, they may be charged with a felony in the third degree. All other types of forgeries may be charged as third-degree misdemeanors.
If Charged With Forgery
It is important when a person is charged with forgery, they cooperate with the arresting officer. A person should not discuss their case with law enforcement. This is not a time to claim innocence. Discussions with law enforcement or a prosecutor should not happen unless someone has their attorney by their side. What a person says to them will likely be taken out of context. It will then be used against them. Should law enforcement or a prosecutor attempt to discuss their case, a person should be polite. They must refuse to speak with them until their attorney arrives.
How Lawyers Work
*An attorney can carefully review every legal aspect of a person’s case. They can determine if the evidence is valid for a charge of forgery.
*It is possible for an attorney’s client to not have intended to commit forgery. An attorney will know how to prove this is true.
*An attorney will know how to discredit any evidence that does not favor their client.
*It is possible for an attorney’s client to honestly believe they had been given permission to create the item alleged to have been forged. An attorney will know how to find proof that supports such a claim.
*The majority of what an attorney can do for someone accused of forgery will depend on the details surrounding the circumstances of the case.
Anyone who is facing a charge of forgery is going to be dealing with a dedicated prosecutor. It is a time when a person wants to have an attorney who will stand with them during each step of the legal process. They will work hard to discredit the prosecution’s evidence. They will also try to provide convincing proof of their client’s innocence. An experienced attorney can provide a successful a legal defense and obtain the best possible outcome.