While forgery is often thought of as a person attempting to pass off a signature as somebody else’s, state law in Texas is a bit broader when it comes to these types of white-collar offenses. With numerous technological advances, it is much easier for people to create all types of fake documents that appear to be real.
In certain cases, forgery is a felony offense punishable by several years in prison and significant fines. Some forgeries are so good that alleged offenders in these cases may be excused for simply possessing forged items they genuinely believed to be authentic.
Forgery Charges Defense Lawyer in Plano, Allen, Frisco, and McKinney, TX
If you were arrested or believe that you might be under investigation for an alleged forgery offense in North Texas, it is in your best interest to not say anything to authorities without legal representation. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy aggressively defends clients in Allen, Anna, Blue Ridge, Carrollton, Celina, Copeville, Fairview, Farmersville, Frisco, Garland, Josephine, Lavon, Lowry Crossing, Lucas, McKinney, Melissa, Murphy, Nevada, New Hope, Parker, Plano, Princeton, Prosper, Richardson, Royse City, Sachse, Saint Paul, Van Alstyne, Weston, or Wylie, and several surrounding communities in throughout the Collin County area.
Collin County criminal defense attorneys Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton can fight to possibly get these types of criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (469) 304-3422 right now to take advantage of a confidential consultation that will allow our lawyers to provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case.
Forgery Charges in Collin County
Under Texas Penal Code § 32.21, an alleged offender commits forgery if he or she forges a writing with the intent to defraud or harm another. The term “forge” is defined as meaning either:
- to alter, make, complete, execute, or authenticate any writing so that it purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act; 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;
- to issue, transfer, register the transfer of, pass, publish, or otherwise utter a writing that is forged within the meaning of Paragraph (A); or
- to possess a writing that is forged within the meaning of Paragraph (A) with intent to utter it in a manner specified in Paragraph (B).
Additionally, the term “writing” in this statute includes:
- printing or any other method of recording information;
- money, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges, and trademarks; and
- symbols of value, right, privilege, or identification.
An alleged offender is presumed to intend to defraud or harm another if he or she acts with respect to two or more writings of the same type and if each writing is a government record listed in Texas Penal Code § 37.01(2)(C). The definition of a governmental record under that section of the Penal Code includes a license, certificate, permit, seal, title, letter of patent, or similar document issued by the government, by another state, or by the United States.
Forgery Penalties in Texas
If it is shown on the trial of a forgery offense that the alleged offender engaged in the conduct to obtain or attempt to obtain a property or service, a forgery offense is:
- Class C misdemeanor punishable by $500 fine if the value of the property or service is less than $100;
- Class B misdemeanor punishable by 180 days in jail and/or $2,000 fine if the value of the property or service is $100 or more but less than $750;
- Class A misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail and/or $4,000 fine if the value of the property or service is $750 or more but less than $2,500;
- State jail felony punishable by two years in state jail and/or $10,000 fine if the value of the property or service is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000;
- Third-degree felony punishable by 10 years in prison and/or $10,000 fine if the value of the property or service is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000;
- Second-degree felony punishable by 20 years in prison and/or $10,000 fine if the value of the property or service is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000; and
- First-degree felony punishable by 99 years or life in prison and/or $10,000 fine if the value of the property or service is $300,000 or more.
A forgery offense, other than an offense described for purposes of punishment by Texas Penal Code § 32.21(e-1)(7), is increased to the next higher category of offense if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the offense was committed against an elderly individual.
A person is presumed to intend to defraud or harm another if the person acts with respect to two or more writings of the same type and if each writing is a government record listed in Texas Penal Code § 37.01(2)(C). If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section or the other law.
Additional white-collar criminal charges could include the offenses of criminal simulation, trademark counterfeiting, and stealing or receiving stolen check or similar sight orders. Under Texas Penal Code § 32.22, a person commits criminal simulation if, with intent to defraud or harm another, they make or alter an object, in whole or in part, so that it appears to have value because of age, antiquity, rarity, source, or authorship that it does not have; they possess an object so made or altered, with intent to sell, pass, or otherwise utter it; or they authenticate or certify an object so made or altered as genuine or as different from what it is. This crime is a Class A misdemeanor.
Texas Penal Code § 32.23 establishes that a person commits a trademark counterfeiting offense if they intentionally manufacture, display, advertise, distribute, offer for sale, sell, or possess with intent to sell or distribute a counterfeit mark or an item or service that bears or is identified by a counterfeit mark; or the person knows or should have known bears or is identified by a counterfeit mark. An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor if the retail value of the item or service is less than $100; Class B misdemeanor if the retail value of the item or service is $100 or more but less than $750; Class A misdemeanor if the retail value of the item or service is $750 or more but less than $2,500; state jail felony if the retail value of the item or service is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000; third-degree felony if the retail value of the item or service is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000; second-degree felony if the retail value of the item or service is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000; or first-degree felony if the retail value of the item or service is $300,000 or more.
A person commits stealing or receiving a stolen check or similar sight order offense if they steal an unsigned check or similar sight order or, with the knowledge that an unsigned check or similar sight order has been stolen, receive the check or sight order with intent to use it, to sell it, or to transfer it to a person other than the person from whom the check or sight order was stolen. This is a Class A misdemeanor.
Collin County Forgery Resources
History of Forgery — The art of forgery is as old as the alphabet. The crime of forgery has been practiced since ancient times in every country where writing existed and paper was used for financial transactions. Laws against forgery can be traced to 80 bc when the Romans prohibited the falsification of documents that transferred land to heirs. Forgery was prevalent in Europe in the Middle Ages. Gradually laws were passed to prohibit forgeries in every developed country, but it was difficult to identify some of the highly skilled forgeries.
Counterfeit suspects face grand jury — On February 10, 2012, the North Texas Daily reported that a Denton County grand jury would be reviewing the forgery case involving two freshman students at the University of North Texas. The Denton Police Department told the Daily that the arrests came after a convenience store employee reported a suspect attempting to use a fake $20 bill, which led to police searching one of the student’s dorm rooms and discovering more forged bills. The students had been making the fake notes in the residence hall and were facing third-degree felony state forgery charges, but a public information officer for the Denton Police Department told the Daily in November 2011 that the United States Secret Service could also press charges for forgery of government currency.
Find A Collin County Attorney to Fight Forgery Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Do you think that you could be under investigation or were you already arrested in North Texas for an alleged forgery offense? You will want to immediately retain legal counsel before making any kind of statement to authorities. Contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today.
Our criminal defense attorneys in Plano represent clients in communities throughout Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, and Tarrant County. They can review your case and answer all of your legal questions as soon as you call (469) 304-3422 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.