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Forgery and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument Attorney in New York

Under New York law, “forged instrument” encompasses many items. For example:

  • False identification
  • An altered credit card
  • Counterfeit money
  • Fake tickets
  • Fake license plates

Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in New York

A person is guilty of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument if he or she:

  • Possesses a written instrument
  • With knowledge that the instrument is fake or altered
  • With an intent to defraud or deceive another person

It bears explaining that “intent to defraud” does not require that the defendant intend to defraud a specific person, or that he or she has actually attempted to use the forged instrument. And, although knowledge and intent must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt like any other element of a crime, knowledge and intent are presumed when a person possesses two or more fake or altered debit or credit cards.

Degrees of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in New York

The degree in which Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument is charged depends upon the type of instrument alleged to be forged. Depending upon the degree, the crime may be a misdemeanor or a felony.

Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree in New York

Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree, Penal Law Section 170.20, requires only that a person knowingly possess a forged instrument with the intent to defraud another. Again, the “other” to be defrauded need not be a specific person, and no actual attempt to defraud is required. General intent to defraud will suffice.

For example, a person who knowingly possesses an altered driver’s license so that he or she may purchase alcohol or enter bars before she is 21 years of age has fulfilled the elements of the crime, though she may not have a specific bar or liquor store in mind, and there may not be evidence that he or she has actually attempted to use the driver’s license in such a manner.

In many cases, it is possible to resolve a Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree charge without a criminal conviction. Contact our office to learn more.Learn More

Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree

Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Penal Law Section 170.25, is charged when a person knowingly and with intent to defraud, possesses a forged instrument of one of the following types:

  • Credit card(s)
  • Commercial interests such as
    • Forged checks
    • Counterfeit tickets
  • Contract(s)
  • Deed(s)
  • Record(s) for public filing
  • Record(s) issued by the government
  • Prescription(s) for medication
  • Public transportation card(s)

 

Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree is a class D felony, carrying a sentence of up to 7 years in prison for a first-time offender. However, the court has many sentencing options, including a lesser prison sentence, a split sentence of jail time and probation, and even straight probation.

The range of possible penalties for this felony is broad. Give yourself the best chance possible—get a seasoned criminal lawyer on your side.Contact Us

Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree

Like Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 170.30, involves the basic elements of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument with regard to specific types of instruments. The First Degree crime relates to:

  • Money
  • Securities
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Instruments for Value issued by the government

Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree is a class C felony, which means a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison for a person with no prior felony convictions.

In some cases, it is possible to resolve even this serious charge without jail time. To discuss the specifics of your case, contact us right away.

Forgery in New York

In New York, the crimes of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument and Forgery are quite similar. In fact, the elements of the crimes track so closely that under New York law, a person cannot be convicted of both crimes with regard to the same instrument. The key distinction is that while a person is guilty of Criminal Possession if he or she merely knowingly and with the intent to defraud possesses that instrument, Forgery requires that the person charged have actually crated or altered the instrument.

Like Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, Forgery may be charged in three different degrees.

Forgery in the Third Degree in New York

Forgery in the Third Degree, Penal Law Section 170.05, is charged when a person falsely makes or completes an instrument with the intent to deceive another. As with Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, the prosecution need not demonstrate that the defendant intended to defraud a particular person, only a conscious intent to defraud.

Forgery in the Third Degree is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail.

Forgery in the Second Degree in New York

Forgery in the Second Degree, Penal Law Section 170.10, is charged when a person knowingly and with intent to defraud creates or alters one of the following instruments:

  • Credit card(s)
  • Commercial interests such as
    • Forged checks
    • Counterfeit tickets
  • Contract(s)
  • Deed(s)
  • Record(s) for public filing
  • Record(s) issued by the government
  • Prescription(s) for medication
  • Public transportation card(s)

Forgery in the Second Degree is a class D felony in New York. That may mean a sentence of up to 7 years in prison for a defendant with no prior felony convictions.

Forgery in the First Degree in New York

Forgery in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 170.15, is charged when the basic elements of Forgery are present with regard to one of the following instruments:

  • Money
  • Securities
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Instruments for Value issued by the government

Forgery in the First Degree is a class C felony, which means a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison for a first-time offender.

Even serious criminal charges like Forgery in the First or Second Degree can often be resolved without incarceration. Don’t despair—find out how we can help.

Crimes Related to Forgery and Criminal Possession of Forged Instruments in New York

There are several crimes related to Forgery and Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, some of which are frequently charged in conjunction with one of these crimes. Some of these crimes, such as Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property (CPSP) are discussed in detail elsewhere on this site. The others that are most commonly associated are discussed below.

Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices

Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, Penal Law Section 170.40, is charged when a person is alleged to possess a forgery device for counterfeiting or forging written instruments with knowledge that the device is for that purpose. Some common examples include:

  • Credit card writing devices
  • Blank credit cards
  • Font and/or stamp sets
  • Identification documents such as
    • Driver’s licenses
    • Social Security cards; or
    • Birth certificates

Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices is a class D felony, carrying a sentence of up to 7 years imprisonment for a person with no prior felony convictions. However, it is possible under some circumstances for a person who has committed this crime to be sentenced to 1 year in jail, or even probation.

Falsifying Business Records in New York

Falsifying Business Records in New York, Penal Law Sections 175.05 and 175.10, requires an intent to defraud couple with one or more of the following actions:

  • Making a false entry in a business record of an enterprise;
  • Altering or destroying a true entry in a business record of an enterprise;
  • Omitting a true entry in a business record of an enterprise where there is a duty to make such entry; or
  • Preventing a true entry or causing the omission of an entry in a business record of an enterprise

It is a defense to Falsifying Business Records that the defendant was acting on the orders of a superior, so long as he or she did not receive a personal benefit as a result of the falsification.

Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree, as described above, is a class A misdemeanor.

Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree is a class E felony, and is charged when the crime is committed with the intent to aid or conceal another crime. For example, if a person has stolen money from a company and then altered business records or omitted entries to cover up the Larceny, the felony crime would be charged.

Offering a False Instrument for Filing

Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree, Penal Law Section 175.30, is charged when a person offers a written instrument to a public servant or governmental office, believing that it will become public record and knowing that it contains false information.

Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree is a class A misdemeanor. However, when a person commits the same act with the intent to defraud a governmental authority, or with regard to a financing statement, the crime is charged as Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, Penal Law Section 175.35, and is a class E felony.

If you’ve been charged with a Forgery-related crime, talk to a veteran criminal lawyer today to learn more about the defenses available to you.Contact Us
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