What Are the Three Types of Forgery in Minneapolis?
Allegations of forgery should always be aggressively defended. These charges can bring not only steep monetary fines but also the potential for incarceration. Defending against these charges alone is especially challenging. The state often relies on a team of experts to establish that your document was forged. Without legal counsel, you could struggle to build your own team of experts to help defend your case. No matter what they are specifically for, forgery charges are always serious and a conviction brings with it serious consequences for your future. If you’re facing forgery charges, it is imperative to discuss your case with an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action.
The Three Types of Forgery
Not all acts of forgery are exactly the same. Some forgery cases are based on falsifying documents like checks or bank record. In addition to creating false documents from scratch, this criminal charge also applies to altering a document to make it appear as something it is not. Forgery can even involve the creation or alteration of fake currency. If you are arrested for any type of forgery charge, it is vital that you seek out legal counsel as soon as possible. In the state of Minnesota, forgeries are classified into three main categories:
- Forgery and Aggravated Forgery –Falsifying or altering a document
- Check Forgery – falsifying or altering a check
- Counterfeit Currency – Creating counterfeit money or another form of financial obligation
Forgery and Aggravated Forgery
- A forgery charge is applied when there is criminal intent behind defrauding another person or entity by doing any of the following:
- Intentionally using a false document for purposes of recommendation or identification; for example, a fake driver’s license
- Intentionally dressing merchandise falsely in an effort to present the merchandise as something other than what it actually is
- Intentionally falsifying or altering a membership card for a business, labor union, or any other kind of association, or possessing such a falsified card
- Intentionally falsifying or altering a ticket for a common carrier, such as an airplane, train, or bus
- Intentionally falsifying, destroying, or mutilating a record, account, or any other kind of document that relates to a person or business or is filed in a public office
- Intentionally destroying evidence to keep it from being produced in court
Aggravated forgery refers to the same type of actions as forgery, but the documents involved are more official in nature, including:
- Official seals
- Public records
- Court judgments, orders, or decrees
- Bank records
Check forgery is a common type of forgery that refers to intentionally:
- Forging someone else’s signature on a check. The type of check forgery charge may also be paired with an identity theft charge as well.
- Using a check when there aren’t enough funds in the account to back it up.
- Using a check from an account that is closed, frozen, otherwise inaccessible, or doesn’t exist at all.
- Producing fraudulent checks by either ordering them or manufacturing them. This can also be paired with an identity theft charge.
- Altering checks by fraudulently modifying them, such as altering the amount of money listed on the check.
The Penalties Faced For a forgery charge, an individual can be sentenced to up to 3 years in prison, a monetary fine up to $5,000, or a combination of the two. For an aggravated forgery charge, an individual can be sentenced up to 10 years in prison, a monetary fine up to $20,000, or a combination of the two. Af you are facing forgery charges, you face serious penalties that can have a lasting negative effect on your future. A forgery charge can:
- Make it very difficult o secure employment. Employers are often reluctant or refuse to hire individuals convicted of forgery charges.
- Decrease your earning potential in the future.
- Severely hamper your ability to support your family.
- Permanently tarnish your social standing.
- Inflict damage to your relationships with family members, loved ones, and friends.
- Cause you to lose your professional licensure.
- Diminish your educational opportunities and render you ineligible for many student loans.
- Seriously limit your ability to rent a home. Like employers, landlords frequently decline housing applications of convicted criminals.
If the forgery in question involves currency in Minnesota, the charge is counterfeiting. Counterfeiting refers to intentionally defrauding by falsely making, altering, printing, scanning, or copying any United States currency, postal money order, or Federal Reserve note (or any other kind of obligation or security), and attempting to pass the counterfeit notes off as genuine through purchases and transactions. The penalties associated with counterfeiting convictions are more severe than other forgery convictions, with sentences up to 20 years in prison, a monetary fine up to $100,000, or a combination of the two.
Possible Defenses to a Forgery Charge
Regardless of the type of forgery charge you face, you could have various defense strategies available to you. There are different ways to fight back against forgery allegations, but not all defenses will apply in every situation. Selecting the appropriate defense strategy is one of the most important things your attorney can do for you. Your attorney must review the allegations against you in order to determine the strongest possible defense in your case. Some of the defenses that could be available to you include:
Lack of Evidence
The most straightforward defense in a forgery case is highlighting the lack of evidence against you. You are under no obligation to affirmatively prove your innocence. Instead, the government has to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you have violated the law. If they have failed to make a compelling case, your best option might to be simply highlighting the lack of evidence against you.
Lack of Intent
Forgery is a crime of intent. In other words, you cannot be convicted of accidentally committing an act of forgery. One of the elements the state must prove is that you acted with the intent to deceive the alleged victim. If the state cannot establish you acted intentionally, you could avoid a conviction for forgery.
Lack of Capacity
Your capacity could also come into play during a forgery case. Forgery is a complicated offense, and it could be a viable defense to establish that you lacked the capacity to commit the offense. If you lacked the capacity to understand that you were committing an act of forgery, a criminal conviction could be inappropriate.
Violation of your Rights
You have important constitutional rights that protection you regardless of your guilt or innocence. If the government violates those rights, your attorney could have the evidence against you thrown out. The most common example of this involves unlawful searches and seizures. The government cannot search your home, your vehicle, or your person on a whim. If they lack a warrant or probable cause, the search is illegal. This could result in the court throwing out any evidence seized in that search.
If you only committed an act of forgery due to the coercion of another party, it could serve as a defense to criminal prosecution. Forgery is only a criminal act when you intentionally alter a document with the intent to defraud. If you are only doing so to avoid harm coming to you or your loved ones, you have a viable defense that you were coerced. By proving coercion, you could avoid a conviction for forgery.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Every forgery charge should be taken seriously. While it is often possible to avoid a conviction, forgery charges can result in serious consequences if you are unsuccessful at trial. Experienced legal counsel could help ensure that you build the strongest defense strategy possible in your case. You need professional legal counsel on your side when facing forgery charges, and the formidable criminal defense attorneys at Gerald Miller in Minneapolis have successfully defended the forgery cases of many clients like you. Our dedicated legal team is committed to tirelessly fighting for your legal rights, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 612-440-3212 today.
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