August 7, 2022
Have you been recently accused of forgery? A skilled Colorado defense attorney will have several possible defense strategies to help you fight your charge. In this post, we’re going to cover several of the most common defenses.
Legal Definition of Forgery in Colorado
Forgery can be defined as possessing, using, altering, or making false writing with the intent of committing fraud.
Altering a document or instrument is a serious crime, punishable as a felony offense in Colorado – and every other state in the U.S.
The penalties are delivered according to the type of document that was altered. If a case involves important government documents, a conviction will result in punishments to the furthest degree.
Forgery can take many different forms, including the following:
- Counterfeiting currency
- Signing someone else’s name on a check
- Altering a driver’s license
- Changing a birth certificate
- Falsifying an academic transcript
- Adding to a doctor’s prescription
Punishments are stiff because a forged document can have far-reaching costs for individuals, businesses, and government entities.
How can you defend against a forgery charge?
Strategies to Fight Against Colorado Forgery Charges
There are a number of common defenses that may help you get your charges reduced or dropped.
Lack of intent. Forgery requires the intent to commit fraud. So, for example, it’s completely legal to make your own copy of a famous painting. What’s illegal is attempting to pass it off as the real thing.
Additionally, you cannot commit fraud if you signed a document you believed to be legitimate, even if someone else forged the document you signed. Lack of intent negates the case.
Document not legally significant. For a conviction to occur, the document in question needs to be both legally significant and fraudulent. Legally significant documents include the following:
- Driver’s license
- Stock certificate
- Works of Art
These documents have legal significance because they affect legal rights. Forgery charges do not apply to documents with no legal significance.
Permission to sign. While it is illegal to forge someone’s name on a legal document, this is permissible if the other person says that you can do it for them.
These are just a few examples.
Penalties for Colorado and Federal Forgery Charges
Depending on the documents in question, a forgery case will be prosecuted under state law, federal law, or both.
State law handles most cases of forgery. Federal law applies to forgery in cases of identity theft, counterfeit currency, federal documents, and any other document that crosses state lines or occurs in more than one state.
Penalties vary widely based on the circumstances surrounding the document. Forging checks, for example, may be penalized as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the number of forged checks and the total amount of the checks.
A misdemeanor conviction may result in restitution, community service, and probation. A felony conviction could result in a lengthy prison sentence and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Seek Legal Help for a Colorado Forgery Charge
To know which penalties could apply in your case, seek counsel from a knowledgeable Colorado criminal defense attorney.
The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can build a solid defense against your charges. We can help you understand how the law applies in your case and discuss the best possible outcome for you. Call today for your free case review. We will work hard to protect your rights and your reputation.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.