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Is Forgery a Felony in MN?

While we typically think of forgery as one person signing another person’s name on a document or check, there’s actually a lot more to it than that. The most salient point to remember is that forgery often reaches the level of a felony crime and comes with the penalties to match. If you’re facing forgery charges, it’s in the best interest of your case and your future to consult with an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney today.

The Necessary Elements of Forgery

In order for a charge of forgery to stick, the prosecution must be able to show all of the following:

• The accused made, altered, used, and/or possessed a falsified writing.
• The writing in question must have both legal significance and be falsified (not every false document qualifies).
• The accused must have intended to defraud the victim. If you accidentally sign a falsified document, in other words, it doesn’t meet the legal standard of forgery. Intent is often the issue upon which forgery charges hinge.

Forgery is a complicated charge that requires a carefully orchestrated defense strategy.


Forgery is defined as intending to defraud someone else by the creation of (or the alteration of) any of the following:

• Creating a falsified document that is used for the purpose of official identification or recommendation, such as a driver’s license or professional licensure
• Creating a falsified membership card for a business, a labor union, or another kind of association (or knowingly possessing such a card)
• Creating a falsified or altered ticket for travel on a common carrier, such as an airline ticket
• Falsely identifying a product by using a stamp or label that associates the product with an entity or person that it is not associated with
• Destroying, falsifying, or mutilating a document, account, or record without having the legal authority to do so
• Destroying a document or object to prevent it from serving as evidence in court

Aggravated Forgery

Forgery is a serious crime, but aggravated forgery is even more serious due to the fact that there is an aggravating factor involved, which can include the alteration or falsification of any of the following:

• An official seal
• An official certificate that serves as evidence of the contents within
• Any orders, judgments, processes, or decrees emanating from the court
• Records or accounts emanating from an office, officer, or public body
• Records or accounts associated with a bank or official with whom state funds are entrusted or deposited

Penalties for Forgery

If you are facing forgery charges, you’re also facing serious attendant penalties. These include up to 3 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines for a forgery conviction and up to 10 years behind bars and up to $20,000 in fines for an aggravated forgery conviction. A forgery charge is too serious to face on your own. If you have been accused of forgery, it’s in your best interest to retain a dedicated criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.

Forging Checks

The most common type of forgery charge is check forgery, and this is what usually comes to mind when we consider the charge. Check forging comes in a wide range of offenses that include all of the following:

• Forging someone else’s signature on his or her check
• Fraudulently altering the amount of the check or the recipient of the check
• Counterfeiting checks by creating fake checks that appear genuine and passing them off as the real deal

From here, things tend to get more complicated, including:

• Kiting checks by writing checks for more than an account’s balance and scrambling to make up the difference by floating money from another account that also has insufficient funds
• Embezzling by writing bad checks that the perpetrator knows are bad and has no intention of rectifying
• Embezzling by writing a bad check and withdrawing the funds before the bank discovers the error and then abandoning the account
• Check washing by intercepting a check and chemically washing it of all pertinent information save the signature then altering to the washed check to suit one’s own needs

Seek the Experienced Legal Counsel of a Dedicated Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer

Forgery is a serious crime that can often be charged as a felony. If you’re facing forgery charges, the dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Gerald Miller in Minneapolis are committed to harnessing their vast experience and skill in defense of your legal rights and bringing your case to the most favorable resolution possible Our experienced legal team is here for you, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 612.440.3212 for more information today.

About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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