White collar crimes are viewed as serious felonies. Is forgery considered a white-collar crime and how is it charged and punished in Texas?
When you hear someone mention a white-collar crime, your first thoughts probably wander to someplace that involves embezzlement or money laundering. The most serious white-collar crimes, at least the ones we read about in the news, often involve large sums of money. While these are the types of crimes that headlines are made for, they fail to convey the scope and seriousness of other white-collar crimes – such as forgery.
Forgery is a serious white collar crime and according to the Dallas federal criminal defense lawyers at Broden & Mickelsen, it’s also one that is punishable as a felony in every state and at the federal level. Here is what you need to know about forgery, especially if you’ve been accused of committing it.
Definition of Forgery
The definition of forgery as a criminal act can best be summed up as the illegal, unauthorized reproduction or use of another person’s signature. It is also used to describe criminal acts that involve the alteration or falsification of written documentation with the intent to defraud or financially harm another person or organization.
Like other types of white collar crimes in Texas, forgery is a non-violent criminal act. Because of its “quiet” nature, forgery can go on undetected for some time with the person who committed the crime often thinking that they are either in the clear or that the offense wasn’t that serious.
While there is usually financial motivation behind forgery, it’s a crime that sometimes occurs when there is something else of significant nature at stake. For instance, forgery of evidence might involve tampering with or falsifying evidence, including documentation, used in a trial. In this case, the motivation would be less financial and focused on producing a specific outcome in the verdict and final judgment of a trial.
Is Forgery Considered a Serious Crime?
Less significant, yet still illegal, acts of forgery are committed on a daily basis by people in all types of situations. In most cases, a person might not think it’s such a big deal if they sign their spouse’s name to a check or make a minor change to a document. While seemingly insignificant in the scope of the types of white-collar crimes in Dallas, these acts are still considered forgery and very serious crimes.
As mentioned above, forgery is punishable as a felony in every state of the nation and at the federal level. The level of charges depends on the circumstances of the incident involved. For instance, it is possible for forgery to be charged as a misdemeanor. However, any act of forgery in Texas that is committed against an elderly person is automatically elevated to the next level. This means that even a misdemeanor act of forgery can be prosecuted as a state jail felony. (1)
Criminal acts of forgery are not taken lightly in any circumstance. Anyone who has been accused of or involved in an act of forgery needs to be aware of the potential penalties and should consult with an experienced Dallas white collar crime lawyer as soon as possible.
Penalties for Forgery
The penalties for forgery depend on the elements of the alleged crime. Excluding federal charges, forgery in the state of Texas can be charged as a misdemeanor, state jail felony or third-degree felony.
Charges of third-degree felony forgery apply if the crime includes paper money, government records, postage, or stocks and bonds. In Texas, a third-degree felony carries either a potential sentence of two to ten years in prison or a fine not to exceed $10,000, or sometimes possibly both.
Charges of state jail felony forgery apply if the crime involves checks, credit cards, mortgages, deeds, contracts or false authorization of payment or transfer of money into a financial account. In Texas, a state jail felony carries either a potential sentence of 18 months to two years in jail or a fine not to exceed $10,000, or again the possibility of both sentences.
Charges of Class A misdemeanor forgery apply when the crime involved any instrument of deception not listed under the classification for either a third-degree felony or state jail felony. In the state of Texas, a Class A misdemeanor carries a potential sentence of either up to one year in jail or a fine not to exceed $400, or sometimes both sentences.
Defending Yourself Against Charges of Forgery With a White Collar Crime Defense Attorney in Dallas
There are certain key elements that must be proven for a charge of forgery to stick. If you’ve been accused of forgery in Texas or are concerned about your involvement in a specific act, your best course of action is to contact an experienced white collar crime defense attorney in Dallas.
Working with a legal team that is experienced in building a defense against forgery is key to winning your case, maintaining your freedom, and avoiding a damaging criminal record. Don’t hesitate to seek out and connect with the experienced white collar defense team at the Broden & Mickelsen, LLP in Dallas. Their attorneys are ready to discuss your case or answer your questions today.
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Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case.