In this blog post we are going to discuss the law and some issues regarding criminal forgery [Texas Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 32]. Forgery in Texas is a very serious offense – while knowing the law can help one avoid forgery charges, if you or a love one is charged with forgery it is very important to seek the advice of an experienced Houston Criminal Defense Attorney.
Forgery Laws in Texas
The general idea of forgery is that, through documents or other means, one has intentionally intended to defraud or harm someone. Most people are familiar with ‘check forgery’ – the attempt to sign and pass off a check that is not one’s own. Technically forgery laws are more broad, encompassing what are called ‘writings’. A writing can be:
- Any form of print or recorded information [which includes signatures]
- Money, stamps, credit cards, coins, and even trademarks
- Symbols of value, privilege, right, or identification
Thus, intentionally attempting to sell a counterfeit copy of a rare stamp as genuine would be considered forgery. But also, entering false records, cashing a forged check, creating a false deed, and in general any attempt to defraud would be charged under law.
While there are surely situations in which persons attempt to forge documents, etc., there are also situations in which persons are mistakenly charged with forgery. A very important component of a forgery charge is that the attempt to defraud must be intentionally. When a person is charged with forgery it is very important to have a knowledgeable attorney examine all of the situations surrounding the case so as to provide the best defense possible relative to the circumstances of the charges.
Penalties for a Forgery Charge
Consequences for a forgery conviction can be quite steep. Forgery of government documents, money, stocks and bonds, and postage are considered 3rd degree felonies and carry two to ten years in prison and fines up to $10,000. Forgery of wills, deeds, mortgages, credit cards, and contracts are considered state jail felonies and carry 18 months to two years in jail and fines up to $10,000. Other types of forged documents may be classified as Class A misdemeanors with up to a year in jail and $4000 in fines. Also important to note that if the victim of the forgery charge is elderly then the crime is automatically increased to the next higher penalty category. As well, having a forgery charge on a person permanent record can result in life-long negative consequences.
If you or a loved one has been charged with forgery in Harris County, Houston, or surrounding areas contact Carl Haggard of The Haggard Law Firm for a Free Confidential Consultation. Carl has been helping the people of Houston defend against forgery charges for over 3 decades and has a verified winning record against forgery charges. When you contact Carl he will go to work fighting for you!