In modern society, people rely on authentic documents for finances, contracts, business transactions, and many other essential functions. When those documents are forged, authorities take the crime very seriously in Indiana. This fraud offense is treated as a felony and can carry huge fines and years spent in prison. In serious cases, forgery can even be tried at the federal level.
Our Indianapolis forgery lawyers at Hessler Law know that people are often unfairly accused of committing forgery for their own personal gain. With years of experience in helping people fight for their rights, attorney Sean Hessler will evaluate your case to determine whether or not your charges can be reduced or dismissed.
To find out how you can avoid a criminal record, call (317) 886-8800 for a free consultation.
In the past, Indiana defined forgery in the traditional sense, as using false documentation in order to defraud, otherwise known as uttering a forged instrument. When forgery is committed, it often involves deeds, bonds, prescriptions, checks, deeds, and other documents that can be used for personal gain. Forgery often involves purporting to be another individual for the purpose of convincing someone that a document is authentic. In the medical world, a patient might steal a psychiatrist’s prescription pad. They could then obtain a controlled substance and sell it on the black market.
Forgery charges can also be brought against someone who alters or possesses a false writing. Imagine, for example, that a college student decides to fill out his roommate’s voting pamphlet. In this scenario, the document was not falsely created, but falsely altered. Another example of forgery might involve signing another person’s check and cashing it for personal gain. Again, forgery does not have to involve the creation of false documents. Simply using them in deceiving way is enough to be charged.
Forgery as a Federal Crime
There are many instances in which forgery can be charged as a federal offense. Identity theft is by far the most common example. Stealing another person’s name, social security number, and other pieces of identifying information has serious implications. Being convicted of this federal offense can lead to spending decades in federal prison. Counterfeiting, or manufacturing currency with the intention of using it, is another act of forgery that can be punished at the federal level. Forging military documents, immigration documents, and federal documents also falls under federal jurisdiction.
The penalties for forgery vary based on the severity of the crime. For example, counterfeiting hundreds of millions of dollars will be more harshly punished than forging one or two checks. In addition, federal forgery is likely to be treated with far less leniency, even with mitigating circumstances. The penalties that are commonly assigned after a forgery conviction include, but are not limited to:
- Forgery – This crime is a Level 6 felony that carries a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence that ranges from two to eight years
- Counterfeiting – This crime is a Level 5 felony (sometimes charged as a misdemeanor) that carries a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence that ranges from six months to three years
- Forgery (Federal Crimes) – Penalties for this offense can include paying financial restitution, probation, fines of up to $250,000 and up to 30 years in federal prison
How Hessler Law Can Protect Your Freedom
Whether you are being accused of falsifying documents or stealing someone’s identity, a forgery charge is extremely serious. At Hessler Law, our Indianapolis forgery attorney understands the steps that need to be taken to prove your innocence. Whether it involves launching a full-scale investigation or simply gaining a new perspective, we will do whatever it takes to present your case in a positive light.