Have you been charged with forgery? A criminal conviction for forgery can have many consequences including imprisonment, fines, and the loss of your job. If you have been charged with this offense it is important to speak with an experienced NJ criminal attorney. Commonly forged documents include birth certificates, checks, driver’s licenses, credit cards, passports, and prescriptions.
Usually, forgery is a crime of the fourth degree. If found guilty of forgery in the fourth degree you can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months.
Forgery can, however, constitute a crime of the third degree if the writing is or purports to be part of an issue of money, securities, postage or revenue stamps, certificates or licensees issued by the government, blank New Jersey prescriptions or part of an issue of stock, bonds or other instruments representing interest in or claims against any property or enterprise, personal identifying information or an access device. It will also be a crime of the third degree if the writing purports to be a check or if 15 or more forged or altered retails sales receipts or universal product code labels. If convicted of forgery in the third a term of up to 5 years in New Jersey State prison may be imposed.
If you make or possess materials that can be used to produce forged or false government documents which could be used as a means of verifying a person’s identity or age such as a driver’s license, birth certificate or social security card it is a crime of the second degree. Here, the penalty is up to 10 years in New Jersey State prison.
The statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1, provides:
- A person is guilty of forgery if, with purpose to defraud or injure anyone, or with knowledge that he is facilitating a fraud or injury to be perpetrated by anyone, the actor:
- Alters or changes any writing of another without his authorization;
- Makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues or transfers any writing so that it purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act or of a fictitious person, or to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case, or to be a copy of an original when no such original existed; or
- Utters any writing which he knows to be forged in a manner specified in paragraph (1) or (2).
"Writing" includes printing or any other method of recording information, money, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges, trademarks, access devices, and other symbols of value, right, privilege, or identification, including retail sales receipts, universal product code (UPC) labels and checks. This section shall apply without limitation to forged, copied or imitated checks.
As used in this section, "information" includes, but is not limited to, personal identifying information as defined in subsection v. of N.J.S.2C:20-1.
Grading of forgery. Forgery is a crime of the third degree if the writing is or purports to be part of an issue of money, securities, postage or revenue stamps, or other instruments, certificates or licenses issued by the government, New Jersey Prescription Blanks as referred to in R.S.45:14-14, or part of an issue of stock, bonds or other instruments representing interest in or claims against any property or enterprise, personal identifying information or an access device. Forgery is a crime of the third degree if the writing is or purports to be a check. Forgery is a crime of the third degree if the writing is or purports to be 15 or more forged or altered retail sales receipts or universal product code labels.
Otherwise forgery is a crime of the fourth degree.
- Possession of forgery devices. A person is guilty of possession of forgery devices, a crime of the third degree, when with purpose to use, or to aid or permit another to use the same for purposes of forging written instruments, including access devices and personal identifying information, he makes or possesses any device, apparatus, equipment, computer, computer equipment, computer software or article specially designed or adapted to such use.
If you have been charged with forgery it is important to speak with an attorney right away. The experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at LS&P Lawyers can discuss possible defenses that may apply to your case. For example, if you committed this crime under duress, incapacity, or while intoxicated you may have lacked the ability to form the intent to commit the crime. In addition you may have been coerced into doing something you otherwise would not have done. Just because you have been charged does not mean that you will be found guilty. However, time is of the essence. Don’t wait; contact us today and speak with a knowledgeable and aggressive attorney.