If you are accused of stealing, you should speak with a theft attorney at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC right away. Some instances of theft are charged as minor crimes and have minimal punishments. However, the crime of theft is quickly elevated to a felony if the property was valuable, specifically protected by law, or you are accused of hurting or threatening someone during the act. A one-time mistake or misunderstanding could have you facing a serious felony punishable by years in prison.
It is up to you to do everything you can to protect and defend yourself, and the best thing you can do is hire an experienced and aggressive theft attorney. Call the Greensbrug criminal defense lawyers of Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC at (412) 483-1802 right away.
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Pennsylvania Forgery Attorney Near You
It is illegal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to forge money, government-issued documents, legal documents, and other types of writing.
Forgery is by definition a form of fraud. It means you intentionally tried to defraud someone else using writing or printing. For example, if you create fake payroll checks on your computer and then deposit them in your checking account, you can be found guilty of forgery. The punishment for forgery can be quite severe, especially depending on the type of forgery you commit. If you are questioned by the police or charged, it is essential that you hire an experienced forgery criminal defense attorney to provide you with a strong case.
WHAT IS FORGERY?
In Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States, it is illegal to use forged documents to facilitate a fraud or injury with intent or knowledge. Forgery charges should be taken seriously and in some cases can even be considered a felony.
Types of Forgery That Are Punishable By Law Include:
- Altering the writing of another without their authority. For example, adding another zero to the birthday check your mother wrote you and then depositing it in your bank account.
- Making, completing, executing, authenticating, issuing, or transferring a piece of writing so that it appears to be the act of someone else who didn’t authorize it. Or completing a piece of writing that has already been started when the original does not exist. In other words, claiming a written item is real when it’s a forgery. For example, creating fake credit cards and then using them to buy electronics.
- Using writing you didn’t create and you know is fake, as if it were genuine. For example, you watched your friend create a fake car title and registration with their new design software, and although you know it is phony you use it to sell a car.
It is not only paper writings in which a forgery charge could be laid. There are a number of items that fall under the jurisdiction of forgery,
- Checks or Money Orders
- Currency, both Paper Money and Coins
- Bonds or Securities
- Credit Cards
- Identification Cards such as Driver’s Licenses
- Academic Transcripts
- Titles or Deeds
- Contracts and other Corporate Documents
- Stamps or Seals
- Promissory Notes
- Medical Prescriptions
- Electronic Signatures
- Artwork or Creative Writings
UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENT FORGERY CHARGES
Because there is such a wide-ranging amount of items that might be susceptible to forgery, there are different levels of forgery with which you could be charged. Forgery crimes can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors depending on the severity of the crime, and some forms of forgery can actually be prosecuted at both the state and federal level. For example, if you forge a government document such as an immigration form. If you are being charged with a federal forgery it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney near you. If you live in the Pittsburgh or Greensburg areas of Pennsylvania don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Worgul, Sarna & Ness.
PENALTIES FOR FORGERY CONVICTIONS IN PENNSYLVANIA,/span>
The statute of limitations on forgery cases is 5 years, however, if you are convicted of forgery the punishments for committing this crime in the state of Pennsylvania are determined by the level of offense with which you have been convicted. Typically an individual can expect to pay fines, possible restitution to the victim, and there is the possibility of jail time or having assets seized.
In PA the following stands as the sentencing guidelines for a person convicted of forgery. These punishments could be altered depending on whether it is a first offense forgery, as well as the mitigating circumstances surrounding the actual forgery case.
- Forgery Summary Offense: A lesser misdemeanor, for example cashing a forged check under $200. The penalty for this offense would be up to 90 days in jail.
- Third Degree Forgery Misdemeanor: Applies to forged or bad checks cashed between $200-$500 dollars. The penalty for this offense is up to one year in prison.
- Second Degree Forgery Misdemeanor: Writing or cashing a fraudulent check between $500-$999 dollars. The penalty for this offense is up to three years in prison.
- First Degree Forgery Misdemeanor: Forging personal checks or cashing checks that a person is aware are bad, at a value of over $1000, usually fall under this category in the state of Pennsylvania. The penalty for this forgery offense is up to five years of jail time and a $10,000 fine.
- Third Degree Forgery Felony: Any person convicted of creating or using forged documents that involve a legal relationship of some kind, such as a will, contract, deed, or bank check will be sentenced under this level. The penalty for this forgery offense is up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
- Second Degree Forgery Felony: This penalty applies to forgeries involving legal documents issued by the government including but not limited to immigration forms, customs forms, postage stamps, or money (ie. counterfeiting), or if the forged documents involve bonds, stocks, or other securities of some kind. The penalty for this forgery offense is up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Contact an Experienced Greensburg Forgery Attorney
If you are charged, you will have forgery either a misdemeanor or felony on your criminal record. This can make it particularly hard to get a good job. It will be especially difficult for you to have a career in government or banking. It is important to try to get all forgery charges against you dismissed if possible. Hiring an experienced theft crimes lawyer near you to defend your case is your best chance. These allegations can mean losing your job or having a hard time finding a new one, since a conviction can mean substantial fines, jail time, and a stain on your criminal record. You will also want to speak with your attorney prior to speaking with law enforcement, federal or police investigators, and the prosecutors. If you live in the Pittsburgh or Greensburg areas of Pennsylvania and are currently dealing with forgery charges contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness for your free confidential case evaluation.