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A Fine Line Between Fiction and Forgery

Forgery Crimes

Sometimes it seems like almost everything, and everyone you see is fake. Everyone greets you warmly in Texas, but not all are your true friends. If you are out in public, look around you and see if you can tell which of the adults in your vicinity are wearing their natural hair color. The saying about how you should believe half of what you see and none of what you hear needs an update for the Internet age, where some people are pretending to have unlimited happiness, health, and prosperity while others are feigning outrage, and a fair portion of them are doing both. 

If everything fake amounted to a crime, we would all be doing a hard time for forgery. In fact, the crime of forgery is much more specific, and if what you have done fails to meet any aspect of its definition, then you cannot be convicted of it. 

If you are being accused of forging official documents, you need trusted and experienced legal counsel backing you up and fighting on your behalf to protect your interests. Contact a Texas white-collar crime lawyer at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, to get the legal representation you need to improve your chances of overcoming your charges.

It Is Only Forgery If There Is an Intent to Defraud

Texas Penal Code Section 32.21 defines the crime of forgery as:

● Making a written document appear that its origins are other than what they are.

● That someone else produced a document other than the person indicated on the document as its issuer, with intent to defraud the recipient of the document. 

In other words, it is forgery if you sign someone else’s name on a check or official letter, especially if you try to make it look like the letter is on the letterhead of a company with which you are not associated.

Most importantly, though, is this: If there is no intent to defraud, then there is no forgery. 

Let’s examine this scenario for further clarification. Suppose your friend has a crush on Matthew McConaughey. In that case, you are not committing forgery if you send her a letter pretending to be Matthew McConaughey, sending your friend birthday greetings, or confessing his love for her. Your friend is unlikely to believe that McConaughey is really the author of the letter, even if you look for autographs of his online and try to make the signature resemble theirs. She will probably know that you wrote the letter even if you use your imagination and your Microsoft Office skills to create some McConaughey letterhead.

Penalties for a Forgery Conviction

Texas law classifies the crime of forgery differently depending on the nature of the forged document. Forgery is a state jail felony if the forged item is a will, a check, or any document that authorizes the transfer of money, including but not limited to sales contracts and loan agreements. In this case, the maximum penalty is two years in jail and a $10,000 fine. If the forged item is currency, a postage stamp, or a government record, then forgery is a third-degree felony. No matter the forged item, the court will upgrade the forgery charges by one level (from a state jail felony to a third-degree felony or from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony) if the person being defrauded is elderly.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, About Financial Crime Cases

You should hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in criminal cases involving forgery or other financial crimes to improve your ability to secure the most optimal results. 

Contact the Dallas criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas, to discuss your case today.

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