Back in 1939, a sociologist first used the phrase “white-collar crime” in reference to those nonviolent offenses that are designed to produce financial gain through deception. One of the most common white-collar crimes is forgery, entertainingly depicted in the 2003 somewhat fictionalized movie “Catch Me If You Can.”
Whether you’re accused of forging only one document or the authorities put you in a league with Frank Abagnale, Jr., securing good legal representation early in the process is crucial to your case. Come to the Kentucky defense attorneys at the Carman Law Firm to discuss the charges, review the circumstances of your arrest, and make a plan for defending your rights.
The founder and managing partner of our firm, Dan Carman, has wide-ranging experience from when he served in the United States Marine Corps as defense counsel, prosecutor, legal assistance attorney, and in-house counsel for an infantry battalion. This background gives him a valuable understanding about both sides of the legal process, which can be very beneficial to his clients. He knows how the Kentucky Criminal Justice system operates and will personally handle your case each step of the way.
Forgery involves the creation, alteration, or publication of a written instrument without the owner’s knowledge or consent and with the intent to defraud. To count for a forgery allegation, the document must have legal significance and it must be false. A simple error is not enough; there must be an intentional fabrication. There are many possibilities as to what constitutes a “writing.” Examples include credit cards, checks, stocks, bond, deeds, wills, and driver’s licenses. The type of writing that is forged determines what degree will be charged.
In Kentucky, the most serious charge of forgery is in the first degree. This Class C felony occurs when a person with intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another, falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument which is or purports to be or which is calculated to become or to represent when completed:
- Part of an issue of money, stamps, securities or other valuable instruments issued by a government or governmental agency; or
- Part of an issue of stock, bonds or other instruments representing interests in or claims against a corporate or other organization or its property.
Forgery in the second degree, a Class D felony, is committed when the written instrument is:
- A deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment, commercial instrument, credit card or other instrument which does or may evidence, create, transfer, terminate, or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obligation, or status; or
- A public record or an instrument filed or required or authorized by law to be filed in or with a public office or public employee; or
- A document officially issued or created by a public office, public employee, or governmental agency.
The penalty that can be imposed for a Class A misdemeanor is up to 365 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500. For a Class D felony, a defendant can be sentenced to between one and five years in prison. A Class C felony is punishable by five to ten years in prison. In addition to jail time, people who are convicted of felonies are sentenced to pay corresponding fines.
Closely related to the crime of forgery, the offense of criminal possession of a forged instrument is also prohibited in Kentucky. Using or possessing a false document with the intent to defraud is illegal and corresponds to the type of document and applicable penalties as listed above.
Each forgery charge turns on the unique facts of the case, which is why you need an experienced and effective KY forgery lawyer by your side. One common defense is that the necessary intent to use the written document to deceive was not present. Another valid defense is that the owner had given consent or that the defendant had good reason to believe he or she had the authority to make the document. Creative defense arguments can also involve elements of mistake, double jeopardy, insanity, duress and procedural issues. At a minimum, a skilled lawyer with the right set of facts may be able to get a reduction in your charge to a less serious offense.
We Can Help
An advocate in your corner who will thoroughly review and investigate the factual and the legal issues in your case can make all the difference. From Kentucky misdemeanors to federal charges and felonies, the Lexington-based Carman Law Firm has the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain the best possible resolution of your criminal charges. KY forgery defense attorney Dan Carman provides aggressive representation with proven results to clients throughout the state in communities such as Richmond, Winchester, Georgetown and Nicholasville. A native of Lexington and a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, Dan is dedicated to helping those in his community who may find themselves struggling with serious allegations. Not all criminal charges have to end in convictions. Contact him today and tell him your side of the story. Call (859) 685-1055 or fill out this online contact form.