Forging Art, Documents, and Everything in Between- a NYC Defense Lawyer Can Help You Fight the Charge
In New York State, the basic crime of forgery is charged at three degrees in New York Penal Code §170. Even the mildest charge of forgery (in the third degree) can lead to jail time of up to one year as a misdemeanor and the other degrees are charged as felonies which cannot be erased in any way from a criminal record in New York and also carry jail time. Anyone that has been charged or thinks they might be charged of any forgery charge needs to contact forgery lawyers from an experienced criminal defense firm such as the Law Office of Bukh Law Firm, PLLC, that has practiced in this area of law in NYC for many years with good results for their clients.
Basically what is forgery as defined by the statutes of New York?
At the lowest degree this is when someone “falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument” and this person has done this with the intent to defraud.
WRITTEN INSTRUMENT as defined in the NY Penal Code is “any instrument or article, including computer data or a computer program, containing written or printed matter or the equivalent thereof, used for the purpose of reciting, embodying, conveying or recording information, or constituting a symbol or evidence of value, right privilege or identification, which is capable of being used to the advantage or disadvantage of some person”. In everyday terms this could be some form of identification such as a driver’s license, credit card, or even a library card, but continues in the higher degrees to official documents such as deeds to land or wills or even a birth certificate. Also it should be noted that the definition includes COMPUTER data and programs that are used for conveying identification, such that forgery and IDENTITY THEFT are close relations in the penal code.
Forgery attorney defends all kinds of forgery charges
“FALSELY MAKES, COMPLETES or ALTERS” a document is when someone writes, draws or produces from scratch a written document that is in essence a copy of an official document unofficially, i.e. this is a copy of an official document not produced by the official agency, but by someone else, thus falsely making. They falsely complete a document when someone adds, deletes or changes information such as a signature on that document which can make it be taken for an original official document. Then a person falsely alters a document when they change the document with erasing, deleting, adding information and yet the document appears to be an official authentic document. This law is a complex area of white collar law and when anyone becomes involved with these types of charges they need to speak to an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney such as Arkady Bukh and his team of expert attorneys.
Forgery Lawyers: Explaining New York Penal Code
§170.05 – FORGERY IN THE THIRD DEGREE
This lowest degree of forgery charge is stated in the statute as simply a person is guilty of when with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, the falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument. (see definitions above. This is a Class A Misdemeanor and the punishment can be a fine of up to $1000 and a possible prison sentence of up to one year.
FORGERY CASE EXAMPLE:
The defendant in this particular case was part of a group of funeral directors who participated in human tissue selling, according to the court documents. While this defendant was charged with many things in the course of this bizarre bit of commerce, one of the things he was charged with was forgery in the third degree because he forged case histories and medical histories for the cadavers that he was dealing with. To check out the whole case go to: People v Nicelli 2010 NY Slip Op 05586 [74 AD3d 1235] June 22, 2010
§170.10 – FORGERY IN THE SECOND DEGREE
As with many criminal charges in the New York Penal Code, the later degrees build on the lower degrees. This means that one needs to have committed the elements of third degree forgery and it then becomes second degree charge when certain documents are involved, these are:
- A will, contract commercial instrument, credit card or any other which “does or many evidence, create, transfer, terminate or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obligation or status”.
- A public record file required or authorized by law to filed in a public.
- A written document officially created by a government office.
- Part of an issue of tokens, public transportation transfers, etc. designed to be symbols of value in place of money to purchase services.
- A prescription of a physician, dentist or anyone else authorized to issue this type of document for a drug.
This is a Class D felony which can be punishable years in prison, restitution and fines.
FORGERY 2ND CASE EXAMPLE:
The defendant in this case was charged with forgery and many other crimes due to the facts that she retrieved about $150,000 from a bank account held jointly with her elderly grandmother. The event though that gave rise to the charge of forgery in the second degree was the fact that she endorsed a check made out to her dead grandfather with “his” signature, hence the forgery. She was convicted. People v Vandermuelen 2007 NY Slip Op 05973 [42 AD3d 667] July 12, 2007
§170.15 – FORGERY IN THE FIRST DEGREE
The crime of forgery rises to the first degree, when someone commits forgery as defined in third degree with intent on certain documents as follows:
- Part of an issue of money, stamps, securities or other valuable instruments issued by a government
- Part of an issue of stock, bonds or other instruments representing interest in or claims against a corporation, organization or its property.
This is a Class C felony which is punishable by high fines and years in prison. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Top Rated Criminal Lawyer
Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
HYPOTHETICAL FORGERY IN THE 1ST EXAMPLE:
So few real case examples show up as this crime tends to border on counterfeiting and many other crimes that fall in the Federal Crime purview. But if someone made an exact replica of a stock certificate of a major corporation, added a forged signature and then passed it on to someone else for monetary advantage, it would fall under this part of the NY Penal Code, not to mention many other crimes.
Definitely anyone with this type of charge of forgery or the accompanying charges such as criminal possession of forged documents, falsifying business records facing them needs to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney that is experienced in these complex crimes and familiar with the possible defenses.
At the Law Office of Bukh Law Firm, PLLC we are here to talk with you about these defenses and all aspects of your case every day, 24 hours of the day.
Possible felony forgery defenses:
- Lack of intent to defraud. (intent is a major element of this crime).
- Lack of knowledge that this was a forged document.
- Being a person under 16 years of age.
- Mental illness or a mental defect which would mar understanding of the documents.
Finding a forgery lawyer
Regardless of whether the case is related to federal or state courts, forgery is a serious offense that can result in prison time for the defendant. When you have been accused of this crime you should speak with a New York defense attorney who has handled cases of both jurisdictions. At Bukh Law Firm we do our best to have the cases sent to state courts where the punishments are generally less severe.
Our white collar crimes team has extensive experience to help you negotiate with the prosecution. We are hands on throughout all stages of the legal criminal process from pretrial investigations and negotiations to trial.
When accused of forgery offenses, your need for legal help is very real. Call 800-601-0207 any time 24/7 for help from an expert lawyer for informed advice on protecting your future after being accused.