Forgery basically involves forging, creating, imitating, or modifying a document with the intention of defrauding another individual or entity. Signing for another individual without permission or leading another individual to sign a document with the intent to deceive is also considered forgery. While forgery laws differ widely from one state to another, they all essentially require the offender’s intent to deceive or defraud.
Most Commonly Forged Documents
In general, both federal and state laws govern only documents that have legal weight or significance. These documents usually include the following:
1. Personal checks
2. Property titles and deeds
3. Court records and seals
4. Securities, bonds, and stocks
5. Money or currency, commonly known as counterfeiting
7. Documents relevant to a person’s identity like IDs and credit cards, commonly known as identity theft
8. Promissory notes and money orders
State laws might likewise govern the forgery of commercial instruments, public records, contracts, and wills. Additionally, Feldman & Lee PS, a law firm of reputable defense lawyers in Kent, stresses that federal law has a database of documents that if forged would lead to severe federal charges. For instance, it is a federal offense to forge treasury checks; so is utilizing a forged military identification card to mislead airline officials.
How Is Forgery Proven?
When the court is trying to determine if an individual is guilty of forgery, it takes into account the following elements:
1. The intent to defraud or deceive – The offender should have used the document with the intention to deceive another individual or entity.
2. Alteration of the document – The offender should have altered the existing original document.
3. Creation of a false document – The offender should have created, handwritten, typed, engraved, or printed the forged document.
4. Ability to defraud – The forged document should look realistic enough to be able to defraud another individual.
5. The legal significance of the forged document – The document should have legal significance or weight to violate another individual’s rights. Forging an ID to commit identity theft is a concrete example
Essentially, a forgery charge would boil down to the intent of the offender to defraud. That said, if you are facing a forgery charge, your best recourse is to seek help from an experienced defense attorney to help build the best possible defense for your case.