Forgery

Forgery Forgery is a serious crime and is charged as an indictable offense or felony as it is known by most people. New Jersey forgery under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1 will also potentially include pre-trial monitoring and pre-trial conditions. If you have been accused of criminal forgery a judge may sentence you to pay exorbitant fines and serve a substantial amount of jail time. It is important that you retain an attorney to fight the charges before it is too late. The attorneys at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo have successfully defended clients facing forgery and other criminal charges throughout New Jersey. We have achieved amazing outcomes for our clients even when it appeared that there was little that could be done. An arrest for a crime involving moral turpitude could have long lasting impact. This could include immigration consequences, employment issues, and general image problems with the prominence of social media and internet researching.

Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:21-1 you can be found guilty of forgery in New Jersey if you commit an act that falls into one of the following six categories:

  1. You alter a writing that belongs to another person without that person’s permission;
  2. You make, complete, execute, authenticate, issue, or transfer a writing in a manner that makes it appear that the writing belongs to another who, in reality, did not authorize it;
  3. You make, complete, execute, authenticate, issue, or transfer a writing in a manner that makes it appear that the writing belongs to another who, in reality, does not exist;
  4. You make, complete, execute, authenticate, issue, or transfer a writing in a manner that makes it appear that the writing was executed at a time or place or in an order different then when or where it actually occurred;
  5. You make, complete, execute, authenticate, issue, or transfer a writing in a manner that makes the writing appear to be a copy when, in reality, no original existed; or
  6. You “utter” a writing that you know was forged under numbers one through six above.

However, under N.J.S.A. § 2C:21-1 the prosecutor must prove that the act you committed was done with:

  1. the purpose to defraud or injure someone; or
  2. with the knowledge that you are assisting someone to commit a fraud or injury.

N.J.S.A. § 2C:21-1 defines the word “writing” broadly to include:

  1. Information, money, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges, and trademarks that you have printed or recorded in any way;
  2. Access devices, including but not limited to, telephone calling cards, account numbers, and any other data intended to control or limit access to computer networks (N.J.S.A. § 2C:20-1(s));
  3. Other documents or devices that transfer “value, right, privilege, or identification” including retail sales receipts, product codes, and labels; and
  4. Forged, copied, or imitated checks.

The sentencing that the judge can give you is based on the degree of forgery under which you would be convicted:

  1. If the “writing” is less than fifteen forged sales receipts, product codes, labels, or checks, you can be convicted of a “disorderly person” crime and face a possible sentence of up to six months in prison, a fine of at least $100.00, or prison time and the fine. (N.J.S.A. § 2C:21-2.4, 2C:43-6, 2C:18-6).
  2. You can be convicted of forgery in the third degree and face a possible sentence of three to five years in jail, a fine of not less than $500.00 or both if:
    1. The “writing” is or pretends to be related to money, government securities, postage stamps, revenue stamps, other instruments issued by the government, or prescription blanks;
    2. The “writing” is or pretends to be related to corporate securities including stocks and bonds, and other documents that represent an interest in or claim against property or an enterprise.
    3. The “writing” is or pretends to be a document that is used for personal identification (Ex. Driver’s License);
    4. The “writing” is or pretends to be a check; or
    5. The “writing” is fifteen or more forged sales receipts, product codes, labels, or checks. (N.J.S.A. § 2C:21-2.4, 2C:43-6, 2C:18-6).
  3. If your “writing” does not fall into Sections one or two above, you could be convicted of forgery in the fourth degree facing a possible sentence of up to eighteen months in prison, a fine of not less than $200.00, or both. (N.J.S.A. § 2C:21-2.4, 2C:43-6, 2C:18-6).

If you owned or made any device, equipment, or computer that was designed or modified to commit or aid in the commitment of fraud you can also be convicted of “possession of forgery devices”, a third degree felony.

You do not want a conviction of forgery, or any of the other criminal charges that usually accompany a charge of forgery, on your permanent record. You do not want to serve jail time or pay exorbitant fines. If these charges are pending against you it is important that you retain an attorney at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo to fight the charges before it is too late.

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