When documents are forged, there can be significant consequences to the individual who forged them—as well as to businesses, government entities or other groups who are impacted. Because of this, forgery is a very serious crime around the Washington area.
WHAT IS FORGERY?
A counterfeit crime is a type of fraud that involves what the criminal law calls a “written instrument” – a document, form, petition, or application or any device, token, symbol, or badge of authority or identification.
Forgery occurs when someone creates, alters, or uses a false document with the intent to injure or defraud someone. The way that this law is defined means that even if someone uses or intends to use a document that they know to be falsified with the intent to injure or defraud someone, that person can be charged with forgery. It does not matter whether the individual was the one to actually create the false document. Usually, counterfeit cases involve signing a fake signature or dishonestly changing another part of a document for monetary gain.
If you face criminal charges for forgery in the Seattle area, contact experienced Seattle forgery lawyer Kevin Trombold at once. Defense lawyer Kevin Trombold has over than two decades of experience representing clients who are accused of forgery and other financial crimes. He can examine the charges against you and fight to bring your counterfeit case to the most ideal outcome.
ELEMENTS OF FORGERY
To prove that the defendant has committed forgery, the prosecution needs to prove each element of forgery. First, the prosecutor must show that the defendant falsely made or altered a document or knowingly possessed or attempted to use a falsified document.
Next, the prosecutor must show that the document that was allegedly falsified was of legal significance and that the writing on the document was false. To be legally significant, the document must have affected a person’s legal rights or obligations in some way. For example, signing someone else’s name on a birthday card is not forgery because the card is not legally significant. However, a marriage license is of legal significance because it alters a person’s legal rights. Therefore, falsifying a marriage license would be considered counterfeit.
To show that the writing was false, the prosecution must prove that the writing was intentionally altered or fabricated to make the victim believe that the document represented something it did not.
Finally, the prosecution needs to prove that the defendant acted with the intent to defraud or injure the victim. The definition of forgery only requires that there is an intent. This means if you intended to defraud someone through forgery, but were not successful, you may still be charged with forgery. This protects people who are unaware that a document is falsified from being charged, since these people have no intent to defraud anyone.
If the defense can show that the defendant did not have the knowledge that the document was falsified or the intent to defraud, charges may be dropped. The defendant may have been unaware of the consequences of falsifying a document and did not have intent to defraud or injure anyone. Or, the defendant could have been unaware that the document in his possession was falsified and shouldn’t be charged with forgery. Another strategy would be to show that the defendant was coerced into falsifying the document under the threat of harm to themselves or their loved ones.
The defense strategy that will be used for you will majorly depend on your specific circumstances involving your case.
FIGHTING ON YOUR BEHALF
Forgery is a Class C felony in Washington state. When convicted of counterfeit and it’s your first criminal offense, a fine of up to $10,000, along with the potential of serving sixty days in jail. However, if you have prior convictions, you could serve up to eighteen months in prison on a forgery conviction.
Criminal consequences aren’t the only ones that you will have to face if you have a conviction of a felony. Following a conviction, it may be almost impossible to find a job since employers will not want to be willing to take a chance on someone with a previous conviction of falsifying important legal documents.
If you are convicted of forgery, the victim may also file a civil lawsuit against you to recover damages. This means you will not only face criminal penalties, but also the possibility of having to pay the victim restitution for the crime that you have committed.
Forgery is considered to be a crime of dishonesty. Because of this, forgery carries a social stigma that could alienate you from friends, family and co-workers. Just being charged with forgery could lead to your loved ones treating you differently.
Remember, of course, that a prosecutor must prove your criminal connection to forged documents – your guilt, that is – beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction, and experienced Seattle forgery lawyer Kevin Trombold will fight to cast doubt on the state’s evidence and witnesses.
SERVING THE SEATTLE AREA
A forgery charge can ruin your life for years to come unless you get help quickly from the right criminal defense attorney. Knowledgeable Seattle criminal defense attorney, Kevin Trombold and his legal team work strategically to investigate criminal cases, along with protecting the rights of clients. With a good reputation and over two decades of experience for legal excellence respected by Seattle-area judges, peers, and prosecutors criminal lawyer Kevin Trombold continuously wins dismissals, reduced charges, and not guilty verdicts. If you receive a charge with forgery or any other criminal offense around the Seattle area, call the Law Offices of Kevin Trombold at 206-382-9200.