Denton Forgery Lawyer
Texas Forgery Laws: Forgery Texas Penal Code
Under Texas Penal Code § 32.21, it's illegal for a person to make, use, or possess a fake written document for the purposes of defrauding or harming another. To defraud means to use deception to unlawfully deprive someone of money, property, or services. Such conduct is referred to as forgery, and it's considered a serious offense in the State. A conviction can result in jail or prison time and/or fines. Also, the guilty judgment can stay on a criminal record, which can make it hard for the individual to live their life as they once did. Often, when people see that someone has been charged with or convicted of forgery, they lose trust in that individual, and that perception may influence decisions they make.
Because serious consequences can arise from a forgery charge, it's important to act quickly and retain the services of an experienced lawyer. At Marsala Law Group, our Denton attorneys have over 20 years of combined legal experience and have handled thousands of cases of varying complexity. When you hire us for your defense, we will leverage our knowledge and skills to work toward a favorable result for you. We are a team that honestly cares about the outcomes of our clients' cases, and you can trust that we will deliver the personalized attention you need and deserve.
Legal Definition of Forgery
As mentioned earlier, forgery occurs when someone creates, passes, or has a forged document and intends to defraud another person with it.
Texas law specifically defines "forge" as:
- Altering, making, completing, executing, or authenticating a writing that is not what it’s claimed to be
- Issuing, transferring, passing, or publishing a falsified writing
- Possessing a fake document with the intent to use it to defraud
The definition of forgery refers to the creation or use of a "writing." According to the law, a writing is not only a written document; it can also include coins, money, stamps, credit cards, or symbols of value, among other things. Essentially, if the fake object can be used to deprive another person of something, it may be considered a forgery.
Examples of Forgery
Some examples of forgery include:
- Signing a document with a false name
- Using checks belonging to another person
- Making a false document
- Altering dates, times, or amounts on an official document
Is Forgery a Felony or Misdemeanor in Texas?
In Texas, forgery can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The severity of the punishments is based on the nature of the incident.
The level of charge and potential consequences of forgery include:
- Class C misdemeanor: An individual may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor if they forge a writing to obtain property or services valued at less than $100. A conviction can result in a fine of up to $500.
- Class B misdemeanor: If someone forges a writing to obtain property or services valued between $100 and $750, they may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. The penalties include a jail term of up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
- Class A misdemeanor: This is the level of charge generally levied for a forgery offense. It's also imposed when someone forges a writing to obtain property or services valued between $750 and $2,500. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and a jail term of up to 1 year.
- State jail felony: This is charged when a person forges a will, codicil, deed of trust, credit card, check, or other instrument pertaining to monetary payment or a contract. A person may also face this level of charge when the offense is committed to obtain property or services and the value of the property is between $2,500 and $30,000. Penalties for a state jail felony conviction include between 180 days and 2 years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third-degree felony: A person can be charged at this level if they forge money, securities, postal stamps, a governmental record, or any other state or federal government document. The charge is also levied when the intent of the forgery was to obtain property or services valued at $30,000 or more but less than $150,000. Third-degree felonies carry a prison sentence of between 2 and 20 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Second-degree felony: A person may be accused of a second-degree felony forgery offense if they attempt to obtain property or services valued between $150,000 and $300,000. If they're convicted, they could be imprisoned for up to 20 years and/or fined up to $10,000.
- First-degree felony: If the forgery offense is conducted to obtain property or services valued at $300,000 or more, the alleged offender may be charged with a first-degree felony. The conviction penalties include a prison sentence between 5 and 99 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
How to Get Forgery Charges Dropped in Texas
There are a few possible defenses in Texas which may lead to your forgery charges being dropped. The first is claiming a lack of intention to defraud or injure a person. Criminal intent is key to convicting an individual of forgery in Texas. Additionally, you may be in possession of a forged document in good faith that an individual was authorized to sign a document. Other defenses may include being a minor or mistaken identity.
Reach Out to Marsala Law Group Today
Facing a criminal charge can be frightening. Our Denton forgery lawyers understand how stressful the situation may be, which is why we will provide you with real answers and have a straightforward discussion about your legal options. We'll be by your side, maintaining open communication throughout your case.
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