What Happens When You Get Charged with Forgery in Minnesota?
Facing allegations of forgery can be worrisome—especially if you have already been charged with a crime. If convicted, forgery charges can result in serious consequences including time behind bars.
In order to build a strong defense, it is helpful to understand what happens when you get charged with forgery in Minnesota. Unlike many arrests, the police will not typically catch a person in the act of committing forgery. Instead, these arrests come after months or even years of investigation.
If you have been charged with forgery in Minnesota, you have the right to an attorney. Hiring legal counsel with a track record of dismissing forgery charges could be in your best interest. Reach out to the attorneys of Gerald Miller today.
What are the Forgery Laws in Minnesota?
In order to have a clear picture of what happens after a forgery arrest, it is helpful to understand what these charges are and what it takes for the state to secure a conviction. In Minnesota, the offense of forgery is governed by Minnesota Statute Section 609.63. Instead of providing broad language to cover this behavior, the Minnesota forgery statute sets out seven specific circumstances which are treated as forgery. These specific factors generally involve the falsification of a document in order to defraud another person. The seven examples provided by the statute include:
- uses a false writing, knowing it to be false, for the purpose of identification or recommendation; or
- without consent, places, or possesses with intent to place, upon any merchandise an identifying label or stamp which is or purports to be that of another craftsperson, tradesperson, packer, or manufacturer, or disposes or possesses with intent to dispose of any merchandise so labeled or stamped; or
- falsely makes or alters a membership card purporting to be that of a fraternal, business, professional, or other association, or of any labor union, or possesses any such card knowing it to have been thus falsely made or altered; or
- falsely makes or alters writing, or possesses a falsely made or altered writing, evidencing a right to transportation on a common carrier; or
- destroys, mutilates, or by alteration, false entry or omission, falsifies any record, account, or other document relating to a private business; or
- without the authority of law, destroys, mutilates, or by alteration, false entry, or omission, falsifies any record, account, or other document relating to a person, corporation, or business, or filed in the office of, or deposited with, any public office or officer; or
- destroys writing or object to prevent it from being produced at a trial, hearing, or other proceeding authorized by law.
Forgery vs. Aggravated Forgery
As the name suggests, aggravated forgery is a more serious offense than standard forgery. While both offenses are treated as felonies under state law, a conviction for aggravated forgery can lead to many more years behind bars as well as much larger monetary fines.
Aggravated forgery involves the act of falsifying certain legal documents that are considered to be highly authoritative. The nature of these documents alone will determine if a person is charged with forgery or aggravated forgery. Some of these documents can include bank records, loan documents, and official court orders. Court orders in particular are likely to lead to aggravated forgery charges. It is not necessary to replace the documents entirely to face felony charges. Simply modifying a single page or even a single monetary figure in a court order could lead to aggravated felony charges.
How Are Forgery Arrests Different?
Allegations of forgery are handled differently compared to many other charges. In many cases, the police will make a criminal arrest after witnessing the crime occur. This is common in cases like assault or DWI, where the police apprehend the accused while the offense is happening or shortly after it occurs. Other criminal arrests are made after a short investigation. For example, domestic violence charges are often filed the same day the alleged abuse occurs.
Forgery is different, as the police will typically not catch a person in the act. Instead, some forgery investigations take months or even years before they ultimately lead to criminal charges. This is due in part to the complex nature of forgery. In some situations, it requires the testimony of an expert to establish that forgery occurred in the first place.
Unlike many criminal charges, those accused of forgery often are informed of a criminal investigation before an arrest is ever made. This is helpful, as it gives you an opportunity to seek out a Minneapolis forgery lawyer to advocate on your behalf. In some cases, the right attorney could persuade the police not to pursue charges at all.
What Happens After a Forgery Arrest in Minnesota?
An individual arrested under suspicion of forgery will face the same process that most other people accused of a crime will go through. Following an arrest, a person charged with forgery is often held in custody until their arraignment.
The first court appearance in a criminal case is known as an arraignment. The arraignment hearing serves multiple purposes, and each of them is important. First, the court will ask you to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. By pleading not guilty, the case will continue and you will have the opportunity to develop a defense. The judge will also determine your bail amount if you have not yet been released. This amount determines how much you will need to pay in order to secure your freedom pending trial.
If you have been held in custody following your arrest for forgery, you will be brought by law enforcement to your hearing. However, if you secure release from jail pending trial your attorney could appear at your arraignment on your behalf. The attorneys of Gerald Miller could appear at most of your court dates, ensuring you do not have to miss work or other obligations to be there.
There are often many different hearings that occur following your arraignment. Many of these are known as status hearings. As the name suggests, a status hearing allows the court to get updates about the status of the case from all parties involved. Having these dates set prevents the case from being lost in the shuffle.
Not all hearings are set for the purpose of status updates. Many hearings are set in order for the judge to consider motions filed by your defense counsel. These motions could cover a range of issues, but they are frequently related to the exclusion of evidence in your case. The court will also hear motions for the dismissal of the charges against you.
Like with civil lawsuits, there is a discovery aspect to criminal cases. The state must provide you with copies of or give you access to the evidence it intends to use against you. This could include copies of the alleged forgery as well as the identity of the witnesses against you. There are also frequent motions related to discovery disputes in forgery cases.
The final stage of your case—assuming it is not dismissed or you do not enter a guilty plea—is the trial. Forgery cases are typically tried in front of a jury of your peers. However, you have the right to instead seek a trial before a single judge. In either case, your trial is your opportunity to fight back against these allegations with your own evidence and witnesses. This could include any witness that strengthens your case, from experts to those with testimony that might point to your innocence.
Reach Out to Attorney Gerald Miller to Discuss Your Forgery Case in Minnesota
If you have been arrested for allegations of forgery, it is safe to assume law enforcement has implied that the evidence against you is overwhelming. In reality, forgery cases are difficult to prove. With the right legal counsel, it might be possible for you to obtain a dismissal of the charges you currently face.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller know how to fight back against the state and win. We are proud to advocate for the accused, and we will work tirelessly to help you get a fair outcome in your case. Call immediately for a free consultation. –
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