Basic Laws on Forgery: Is It Forgery or Not?

gavel on top of a law book

In general, forgery involves a counterfeit or fake signature, document, or other imitations of valuable objects utilized with the intention of deceiving another individual. Forgers are usually charged with fraud, but majority of states require a crime of forgery to involve the intention of committing larceny or fraud.

One of the most common forgery crimes is using another individual’s signature for a check. Forged documents commonly include legal certifications, IDs, contracts, historical papers, licenses, and diplomas; while the most commonly forged objects are work of arts, usually paintings. Although consumer goods and currencies are likewise commonly forged, this crime is usually separate and falls under counterfeiting.

Deception and Forgery

In the majority of states, courts won’t charge forgery unless the crime was committed with the intention of deceiving or an attempt of committing larceny or fraud, explains a top white collar criminal law attorney in Houston. To illustrate, an individual could freely replicate or copy a painting without being charged with forgery unless the artist or another individual attempts to sell and/or pass off the replica as an original, he adds. Another example would be an individual who photocopied the signature of another individual and then placing the signature artificially on a legal document without that individual’s consent or knowledge.

Identity Theft and Forgery

The crime of identity theft involves an individual who illegally acquired and used another individual’s personal information in a manner that involved deception or fraud, most usually for economic gain. Traditionally, state laws considered identity theft as theft by deception, forgery, or false impersonation. Nowadays, however, while some states continue to use similar laws for punishing identity theft, more states now use separate, more specific laws, including cyber crime laws involving identity theft. Generally speaking, however, it’s considered identity theft if an individual misuses another individual’s personal identifying information or PIN, whether for financial or personal gain.

If You’re Charged with Forgery

As previously mentioned, forgery charges usually boils down to committing the crime with intent. If you’re facing a charge of forgery, your defense would significantly focus on disproving intent as it is naturally challenging to prove it. A white collar crime lawyer experienced in forgery cases could aid you in establishing supporting facts and building the best possible defense for your case.