DC Forgery Lawyer

Forgery is a white collar crime that carries serious penalties in the District of Columbia. It is also an offense that it widely misunderstood, largely because of how technology has changed how it can be committed.

Hiring a Washington DC forgery lawyer could help you defend against an accusation that you forged a document and broke the law. By arguing on your behalf both inside the courtroom and outside of it, a seasoned fraud attorney in the District of Columbia could help protect your rights and your future.

Forgery Law in the District of Columbia

DC Code Ann. § 22-3241 is the statute that prohibits forgery in Washington DC.

Under this statute, forgery is defined as making, drawing, or signing a document that “purports to be genuine,” but really is not. Further, forgery requires this document to be used with the intent to defraud someone else.

Of course, this means that a charge for forgery in the District of Columbia will often come alongside another criminal charge for fraud, as well. This additional charge for fraud can increase the stakes, and make it even more essential to have a Washington DC forgery lawyer on hand to defend against the allegations.

Contrary to popular belief, though, forgery is not just confined to signing someone else’s name to an important document. Forgery also includes creating a document from scratch, changing an existing one, or even adding language to a document, and then claiming that the creation or alteration is official and original.  

Attempted Forgery

Importantly, Washington DC’s laws against forgery also include attempts at forgery, as well. Even if an altered document is unsuccessful at defrauding someone else, prosecutors can still pursue a charge of forgery if something was forged and then used in an attempt to defraud. For more about attempted forgery and forgery laws, consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.

Commonly Forged Documents

A forgery charge can come from falsifying and presenting all sorts of documents, no matter how trivial, in an attempt to defraud someone. However, there are certain forms that are more commonly forged than others. These include:

  • Checks, including payroll checks
  • Stock certificates
  • Contracts
  • Land title deeds
  • Wills and last testaments
  • Paper money, including dollar bills

Possible Penalties for a Forgery Conviction

A conviction for forgery is not a small matter. The penalties can be quite substantial, and depend on the nature of the documents at issue. The exact legal repercussions are outlined in DC Code Ann. § 22-3242.

The most severe violations are for forging official and legal documents, like contracts or paper money. The penalties for these offenses include fines of up to $10,000 and up to 10 years in jail.

Forging prescriptions, objects that stand in for money, like a fare card, or any other document valued at between $250 and $10,000 comes with a penalty of up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

All other instances of forgery can be penalized with up to three years in jail and fines of up to $2,500. Therefore, it is essential for defendants to reach out to a dedicated DC forgery lawyer as soon as possible.

Call a Washington DC Forgery Attorney for Legal Representation

Charges of forgery are serious, can lead to stiff fines and a lengthy jail sentence, and can put a serious mark on your criminal background that can make your life more difficult even after you have served your time or passed the fines.

If you have been accused of forging a document, having a Washington DC forgery lawyer on your side could make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. By raising effective legal defenses to the charge and challenging the prosecutor’s evidence, a forgery attorney in the District of Columbia could protect your rights.