The penalty for forging, counterfeiting, or modifying documents and instruments varies widely depending on the type of document tampered with, with crucial government documents topping the list.
Making, changing, utilizing, or possessing false writing to commit fraud is known as a forgery. It can take numerous forms, ranging from signing a cheque in someone else’s name to faking one’s academic transcript. Counterfeiting is the term used when the topic of forgery is money. Forgery Charges (also known as “uttering a false instrument”) is a serious crime that is prosecuted by the federal government.
Our society places a high value on the ability to create and exchange valid and reliable papers. Forged papers can have substantial and far-reaching consequences for enterprises, individuals, and political organizations. This is why forgery is so severely punished.
Traditionally, forgery was defined as the act of creating or changing false writing. The crime of “uttering a forged instrument” was defined as “possessing, employing, or presenting a false writing to deceive.” Though if someone used a fraudulent identification card to secure a line of credit, for example, he would be guilty of issuing a forged instrument, even if he did not make the false ID card. Most provinces now regard both acts as a single forgery offense.
What Is Forgery?
The prosecution must prove various aspects or conditions, including the following, to get a forgery conviction:
Making, Altering, Using, or Possessing
Forgery begins with the creation, alteration, use, or possession of a false writing. Many people associate forgery with creating fraudulent writings, such as faking letters or certifications. However, if the adjustment is “substantial” or impacts a legal right, it can be considered forgery.
However, forgery does not apply to every piece of writing. The writing in question must have legal significance and be fraudulent to serve as the foundation for forgery charges, as detailed below:
Legal Significance: The text in question must appear to have legal importance to be considered forgery. This seems to include government-issued records like driver’s licenses and passports, as well as transactional documents like conveyances, deeds, receipts, and other financial instruments.
False Writing: To be called false, the writing must be fabricated or substantially altered to make it appear to be or represent something it is not. In most cases, just putting misleading assertions into writing will not suffice this condition if the misrepresentations do not alter the writing’s core meaning. As an example, you do not commit forgery if you substitute a fraudulent statement into a letter you wrote. It is, however, forgery if you compose a legal letter and then present it as if it were written by someone else.
Intent to Defraud: The defendant must have planned to cheat someone or some organization, such as a government agency, to be guilty of forgery. This element protects persons from facing criminal charges if they possess or sign counterfeit documents without realizing that they are fake.
Get a Criminal Defense Attorney
We hope that this has clarified your understating of forgery charges. Consider visiting a competent criminal defense attorney at FMK Law Group as soon as possible if you have been charged with forgery.