The law stipulates that someone commits forgery when he “falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits” a legal document, public record, check, or other important document or record with the purpose of defrauding or causing injury. Forgery is a serious type of theft crime in the state of Florida, punishable by up to five years in prison. If you are facing forgery charges in St. Petersburg, call Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900 to speak to a criminal defense attorney.
What can lead to forgery charges in Florida?
Forgery charges are detailed in Florida Statute §831.01. The statutes provide a long, detailed list of the types of documents that merit criminal charges for those alleged to have forged them. Below are a few examples of documents that can result in criminal charges and convictions if the defendant is accused of forging them.
- A public record
- Certificate issued by a clerk of the court
- A document signed by a notary public
- An event ticket
- Promissory notes
- Letter of attorney
- Legal wills
- A discharge for money
- Insurance policies
- Bank checks
- Public or private transportation passes
How is forgery punished in Florida?
In the State of Florida, forgery is a third-degree felony. Penalties can mean up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Then there are the residual consequences to consider. You stand to lose your career, your incarceration will affect your family, and you will have a criminal record.
Further, there are several other charges those facing forgery charges might also be exposed to, such as identify theft, insurance fraud, and uttering (offering a forged document as true), among others. Naturally, potential penalties and outcomes become more severe with the accrual of charges.
How does the federal government punish forgery?
Federal forgery can entail much more severe punishments than forgery at the state level. For example:
- Dealing in, selling, or uttering counterfeit obligations or securities can result in fines and/or up to 20 years in prison. [18 U.S. Code §§ 472-473]
- Connecting parts of different monetary notes to “produce one instrument” can result in fines and/or 10 years in prison. [18 U.S.C. § 484]
Get Criminal Defense Help from Goldman Wetzel
Given the gravity of a conviction, it is vital to work with an attorney at Goldman Wetzel as soon as possible to start discussing the best ways to handle your case and fight to have the charges dropped or reduced.
We handle all types of criminal cases in Florida, including those involving forgery charges. Contact our office to discuss your case and start working on your defense. Call us today at 727-828-3900 to speak to a criminal defense attorney.