A charge of forgery is typically very complex and prosecutors oftentimes find it hard to prove in court. In general, forgery crimes involve falsification of crucial information on documents or forms. For example, it’s considered forgery when you copy or forge another individual’s signature on a document without consent and authorization.
The crime also refers to the counterfeiting of artwork, among many other aspects.
Common Forgery Defenses
The crime of forgery is considered a white-collar crime and usually involve state and/or federal charges and of course penalties. Common penalties include paying damages for civil losses resulting from the forgery crime and criminal penalties such as hefty fines and imprisonment. The following are the most common defenses to charges of forgery, as a white-collar crime lawyer in Houston would tell you:
- Lack or Absence of Intent – Basically, a defendant could be guilty of a forgery crime if he or she intentionally deceived the alleged victim or was complicit in an act of forgery. So, a lawyer could use lack of intent as a defense. For instance, you purchased a house not knowing that the title was forged, but since you didn’t know about the forgery, you can’t be held liable for it.
- Lack or Absence of Knowledge or Capacity – The defendant should’ve had the knowledge and legal capacity to have misled the alleged forgery victim. Some courts even consider the absence of legal capacity as a defense in itself. To illustrate, let’s say you’re an estate attorney and that you obtained and filed a document that waives your client’s legal right to dispute a will. Of course, you’d assume that the signature wasn’t forged as it came from your client.
- Coercion – Put simply, you could use this defense if you were forced or coerced into forging a document because someone was threatening to harm you or your loved ones.,
Some Vital Things to Note
If you’re facing a charge of forgery, you will need a white-collar crime attorney with experience in forgery charges. Otherwise, if convicted, you could be facing costly fines, prison time, and get a criminal record. Forgery laws are likewise harsher if the crime involves government documents and officials. An experienced lawyer could help build the defense for your case and get you favorable results.