Forgery cases are one the most common types of Fraud charge brought in the state of Texas. Most cases of Forgery are felony offenses. This means that the accused is exposed to the risk of a felony conviction and possibly prison time. We have successfully defended many people accused of Forgery, and we can help you as well.Understanding the Texas Forgery Laws
The Texas Fraud statutes are contained in Chapter 32 of the Texas Penal Code. Section 32.21 defines the offense of Forgery. The statute is broadly written to encompass as much fraudulent conduct as possible. The following is a summary of the Forgery law in Texas.Elements of the Offense of Forgery
- A person commits the offense of Forgery if:
- the person forges a writing
- with the intent to harm or defraud another person.
- The term "forge" is broadly defined and includes (in part):
- altering, making, completing, executing, or authenticating a writing so that it appears to be the act of another person that didn't authorize the act;
- issuing, transferring, passing, or uttering a forged writing; or
- possessing a forged writing.
- The term "writing" includes:
- will or codicil to a will;
- deed, deed of trust, mortgage or security instrument;
- credit or debit card;
- check or similar sight instrument or order for payment;
- contract, release, or other commercial instrument;
- currency, coins, or stamps;
- symbols of value or identification; or
- a printing or any other method of recording information.
The penalties for Forgery may be determined by the type of instrument or writing used to commit the offense or it may be determined by the amount of property or money that a person attempts to obtain in the course of the fraud. For example, forgery of a check is a state jail felony level offense which carries a possible punishment of up to two years in a State Jail Facility, but if that same check is used to attempt to fraudulently obtain $40,000.00 in property, then the offense may be charged as a Third Degree Felony level offense which carries a possible punishment of up to ten years in prison.
Below are the offense levels for some commonly forged items:
- State Jail Felony: 180 days - 2 years in prison
- Deed, deed of trust, mortgage or other security instrument;
- Wills and codicils;
- Contract, release, or other commercial instrument.
- Third Degree Felony: 2 years - 10 years in prison
- United States currency;
- Postage stamps;
- Stock certificates;
- State issued driver's licenses or ID cards;
- Motor vehicle titles.
If law enforcement and the state prosecutor elect to pursue a Forgery charge based upon the value of the property sought to be fraudulently obtained rather than the nature of the instrument, then the level of the offense is determined by how much money or property was involved. The following is a breakdown of the offense levels for a Forgery charge brought based upon the value of the property involved.
Offense Level by Property Value:
- Less than $100: Class C Misdemeanor
- $100 - $750: Class B Misdemeanor
- $750 - $2,500 Class A Misdemeanor
- $2,500 - $30,000 State Jail Felony
- $30,000 - $150,000 State Jail FelonyThird Degree Felony
- $150,000 - $300,000 State Jail FelonyThird Degree FelonySecond Degree Felony
- $300,000 or more First Degree Felony
A Forgery conviction or even an arrest can cause serious damage to your criminal history and make the prospect of finding decent employment extremely difficult. If you have had a criminal charge of Forgery brought against you and you are not guilty of the accusation, then you should not plead guilty. You should fight to clear your name.Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of Forgery, then you need an attorney experienced in defending people charged with this type of offense. Our criminal defense attorney has handled all types of Forgery cases. During his time as a state felony prosecutor he saw how law enforcement investigates these cases. He can now use that valuable experience to your advantage and help you identify the weaknesses in the State's case. If you've been falsely accused of Forgery or simply made a mistake and need help repairing the damage, our Texas Forgery Defense Attorney can help.
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