Forgery is defined in Florida Statutes Section 831.01. To prove the crime of forgery, the State must prove:
- You falsely made, altered, forged, or counterfeited a document, and
- you intended to injure or defraud some person or firm.
What kind of documents that you can be prosecuted for forging?
- a public record,
- a certificate,
- a return or
in relation to a matter wherein such certificate, return or attestation may be received as a legal proof, or
- a charter,
- writing obligatory,
- letter of attorney,
- policy of insurance,
- bill of lading, bill of exchange
- promissory note, or
- an order, acquittance, or discharge for money or other property, or
- an acceptance of a bill of exchange or promissory note for the payment of money, or
- any receipt for money goods or other property,
- any passage ticket, pass or other evidence of transportation issued by a common carrier.
The crime of forgery is complete once the making, altering, forging or counterfeiting of the document (i.e. a check) is done with the intent to commit fraud. What happens with the document after that is irrelevant. If you do cash the check, you could also be prosecuted for uttering. But if you sign someone else's name to a check from their account, and you intend an accomplice to go to the bank, tender it and withdraw cash, then you could be prosecuted for forgery, even if the accomplice never makes it to the bank.
Forgery is a Third Degree Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Common defenses to forgery are that you never intended for the document to be uttered or to be used to injure the listed victim, or that you were not the one who created the forgery, or that you had permission of the person who is alleged to have been injured. There are also always unique factual defenses. Give us a call to discuss your forgery case that possible viable defenses.
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