In the state of Minnesota, the term forgery generally refers to creating and using a false document while presenting it as the genuine article. A forgery conviction can bring serious consequences that can negatively affect your future in ways you probably haven’t even considered. If you’re facing forgery charges, it’s in your best interest to working closely with an experienced Minnesota criminal defense lawyer. In some cases, an attorney may be able to have the charges against you dropped, allowing you to move forward with your life as if the incident never happened in the first place.
Check Forgery Charges
A common form of forgery is check forgery. Check forgery charges often involve one or more of the following accusations:
● Forging the signature on a check – If you are accused of forging someone’s signature on their check to use for your own purposes, the charge will likely be check forgery. It is important to keep in mind that this crime can also be considered identity theft, making the charge more serious and more complicated.
● Using bad checks – Using a check from an account that you know is nonexistent, closed, frozen, insufficiently funded, or otherwise inaccessible is considered forgery in Minnesota.
● Producing checks fraudulently – In addition to a check forgery charge, ordering or producing fraudulent checks for someone else’s account can also be considered identity theft. Checks produced in under these circumstances are also known as counterfeit checks (in the same vein as counterfeit bills).
● Fraudulently Altering Checks – It is against the law to alter a finished check from someone else’s account to serve your purposes. This type of check forgery may involve changing the recipient’s name (for example, to your name so you become the check’s recipient), the date on the check (for example, changing it to a future date so the check cannot yet be used), or increasing the amount of money the check was set to pay (for example, adding an extra zero to change $100 to $1000).
To be charged with aggravated forgery, one of the following types of documents must have been altered or fraudulently produced:
● An official governmental seal or a corporation’s seal
● A public record
● A court order, process, decree, or judgment
● An official proof of return or certification of evidence contained within
● The records or accounts of a public officer, office, or body
● The records or accounts of either a bank or an individual with whom state funds are deposited or otherwise entrusted
Penalties for a Check Forgery Conviction
If you are convicted of check forgery, you face a sentence of up to 3 years behind bars, a monetary fine of up to $5,000, or a combination of the two. If the charges you face, however, are for aggravated forgery, the strength of the sentence increases considerably and can include up to 10 years behind bars, a fine of up to $20,000, or a combination of the two.
Getting Forgery Charges Dropped
In order to charge you with forgery, the prosecution must demonstrate that there was criminal intent in the act. If your criminal defense attorney can prove that you had no intention of defrauding or injuring anyone, the prosecution must take this information into account; it could lead to your charges being dropped. For example, if you were in possession of a fraudulent document but were unaware the document was false, you cannot be charged with forgery. Other defense strategies that can lead to your forgery charges dropped or lessened include all of the following:
● The fraudulent actions in question can be traced to someone other than you.
● Your intention wasn’t to defraud (as above).
● You didn’t know that your check wouldn’t be honored (if, for example, you have overdraft protection that failed to kick in).
The nature of your forgery charge is specific to your situation, but bringing the strongest defense is always in your best interest. A seasoned and able criminal defense lawyer will be able to formulate a defense strategy that best serves the circumstances surrounding your case, and may even be able to get the forgery charge against you dropped.
Don’t Put Off Consulting with an Experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re facing forgery charges, the dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Gerald Miller, P,A. in Minneapolis are committed to building you the strongest defense in pursuit of your case’s most positive resolution. Forgery charges are serious, but you don’t have to tackle them, or the state court system, on your own. Our formidable and ready legal team is here to help. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 612.440.3212 today.