Forgery Defense

Forgery is a crime that is divided into multiple levels and the corresponding punishments vary depending on what level of forgery you are charged with. Ryan is a criminal defense attorney who has prosecuted these exact crimes in the past. Let's take a look at each level of forgery independently. 

There are oftentimes several defenses to forgery charges. It may be that the check or writing is in fact authorized. You . may be charged with having a fake check or writing, if it is real, then that is certainly a defense. It is important to have a lawyer who can assist you in the process of handling your defense and help you ensure that any potential defenses you may have have been examined. 

Forgery in the First Degree Defense (O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(b))

A person commits the offense of forgery in the first degree when with the intent to defraud he or she knowingly makes, alters, or possesses any writing, other than a check, in a fictitious name or in such manner that the writing as made or altered purports to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority and utters or delivers such writing.

A person who commits the offense of forgery in the first degree shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 15 years.

Forgery in the first degree is the most serious of the forgery charges and carries the most significant punishments of all levels of forgery. Let's take a look at an example of forgery in the first. Several years ago a lawyer was convicted of forgery in the first degree for presenting what was determined to be a falsified contract for legal services. 

There is key language in the forgery in the first statute that sets it apart from forgery in the second. As you will see simple possession of a forged document is sufficient to be convicted of forgery 2nd, but forgery in the first requires that the writing is uttered or delivered. That means that it needs to be presented in some fashion. In the case from above, the lawyer presented the fraudulent document during a civil trial.

Forgery in the Second Defense (O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(c))

A person commits the offense of forgery in the second degree when with the intent to defraud he or she knowingly makes, alters, or possesses any writing, other than a check, in a fictitious name or in such manner that the writing as made or altered purports to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority.

A person who commits the offense of forgery in the second degree shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

As you can see, the language from forgery in the second is almost exactly the same except that it does not have "and utters or delivers such writing."

For instance, let's say that Tommie is looking to move to some new apartments. She has looked at the apartments but has learned from the property manager that she needs a reference from her previous property manager, on letterhead, saying that she was a good tenant. 

Remember her troubles from her previous apartments, Tommie is certain that the manager would not provide such a reference letter. Instead, Tommie goes home, creates fake letterhead, writes a fake recommendation, and signs a fake signature. By doing so she has committed forgery in the second. 

Forgery in the Third Defense (O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(d))

A person commits the offense of forgery in the third degree when with the intent to defraud he or she knowingly:

(1) Makes, alters, possesses, utters, or delivers any check written in the amount of $1,500.00 or more in a fictitious name or in such manner that the check as made or altered purports to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority; or
 
(2) Possesses ten or more checks written without a specified amount in a fictitious name or in such manner that the checks as made or altered purport to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority.
 
A person who commits the offense of forgery in the third degree shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

Forgery in the third is the lowest level of felony forgery. Forgery in the third is probably the forgery charge that prosecutors charge the most often. The reason for that is two-fold. Many times when there is an alleged forgery it is in regards to a check that is written in an amount over $1,500 (the threshold for a single check to become a felony). Oftentimes, if someone is accused of having made fraudulent checks they will often be charged with possessing more than ten of them. 

Example: John is pulled over in Newnan, Georgia for speeding on his way to Carrollton, Georgia. The officer asks to search John's car (probably with no reason) and John (for absolutely no reason) gives consent to search his car. In the glovebox, the officer finds a check for $2,500 drawn on a company out of Macon, Georgia. the check is suspicious and the officer determines it is fraudulent. John will find himself charged with forgery in the third degree. 

Forgery in the Fourth Defense (O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(e))

A person commits the offense of forgery in the fourth degree when with the intent to defraud he or she knowingly:

(1) Makes, alters, possesses, utters, or delivers any check written in the amount of less than $1,500.00 in a fictitious name or in such manner that the check as made or altered purports to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority; or
(2) Possesses less than ten checks written without a specified amount in a fictitious name or in such manner that the checks as made or altered purport to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority.
 

A person who commits the offense of forgery in the fourth degree shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; provided, however, that upon the third and all subsequent convictions for such offense, the defendant shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

Forgery in the fourth is structured identically to forgery in the third - it is just the misdemeanor version. It deals with checks of less than $1,500 and less than ten checks. The example from above works the same, just pretend that John's check was written for $1,250. 

Contact Us

 If you or a loved one have been charged with forgery in Georgia, don't hesitate to contact us today so we can begin preparing your defense. 

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Ryan Brown is ready to begin defending you and your rights today. The best defense is one that begins as early as possible. Prosecutors don't take days off and neither should you. Let us get started. Call today for a free consultation.

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Ryan Brown represents clients throughout the state. He primarily serves the following counties: Coweta, Carroll, Heard, Meriwether, Troup, Douglas, Haralson, Cobb, Paulding, Floyd, Fayette, Henry, Macon-Bibb, Fulton, Muscogee, Monroe, Polk, Spalding, Pike, Lamar, Upson, Butts, Walton, Newton, and Rockdale.

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This website if for general informational purposes only and is not to be considered legal advice. Each situation, case, and legal matter is unique and requires custom legal advice. Nothing communicated on this website or through this website constitutes an attorney-client privilege.

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