DC Forgery Lawyer

Much of Washington DC’s economy and that of the country as a whole relies upon the notion that certain documents should carry legal weight. These documents should also be reliable sources of information. These documents can include everything from postage stamps and rental applications to wills and birth certificates.

With the important role that these items play in our everyday lives, it is not surprising that the creation of false or altered versions is a criminal offense. In fact, Washington DC’s criminal code treats any conviction for a forgery crime as a felony where the resulting penalty can be multiple years in prison.

It is essential that individuals facing forgery charges take an aggressive stand to protect their freedom in court. A Washington DC forgery lawyer could provide representation designed to refute the prosecutor’s claims and to defend the Constitutional rights of people facing charges. Reach out to a seasoned fraud attorney today.

How does Washington DC’s Criminal Code Define Forgery?

Washington DC’s Code §22-3241 defines a forgery as “…the act of making, drawing, or uttering a forged written instrument with the intent to defraud or injure another.” This definition includes a few terms that can help us to better understand forgery allegations.

A key concept here is the idea of intent. To secure a forgery conviction, a prosecutor needs to prove that the defendant made a forged item with the intent to defraud another party. Therefore, an individual who alters a birth certificate to change their name does not commit a crime unless they submit that document to another party while trying to pass it off as an original.

Another key idea is that of what type of item counts as a “written instrument”. The statute says that a written instrument is any written item. This can include any printed item that carries any legal weight or purports to be an item issued by a government entity. This can include:

  • Bills of lading
  • Checks
  • Letters of credit
  • Wills
  • Stamps
  • Currency
  • Promissory notes

A Washington DC forgery lawyer could help defendants to disprove allegations of forgery by combating the idea that a defendant altered an item and that they did it with the intent to deceive another party.

Potential Penalties for a Forgery Conviction

The available punishments for a forgery conviction vary. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are felonies that can carry a multiple-year prison sentence.

According to the DC Code §22-3242, there are three classes of felony convictions. The most serious applies when the forged item is a government-issued stamp or check, a public record, or a stock certificate. This also applies if the forged instrument has a value of $10,000 or more. A conviction here can result in up to ten years imprisonment.

The mid-level forgery statute applies to incidents involving any document used as a symbol for money such as a subway card. It also applies when a defendant presents a forged doctor’s prescription. In addition, all items valued at between $1,000 and $10,000 fit into this category. Here, the maximum penalty is five years in prison.

Finally, the least serious version of forgery is applied to any other scenario that does not fit into the other categories. A conviction here is still a felony that can result in up to three years in prison.

No matter the exact circumstances that led to the arrest, a forgery attorney in DC could help defendants accused of any version of Washington’s forgery laws.

How a Washington DC Forgery Attorney Could Help

Forgery charges may result anytime that the police believe that a defendant has created or altered a document and attempts to fool another person. This can include changes to official government documents, stamps, or even a personal check.

Forgery charges are always felonies where a conviction can result in multiple years in prison. It is essential that people facing these charges give themselves every opportunity to fight back. Hiring a Washington DC forgery lawyer could provide a powerful advantage.

They lead the way in investigating the incident that led to the arrest, talking to any witnesses, and examining the prosecutor’s case for weaknesses. They then use evidentiary motions and cross-examination to protect the rights of their clients in court. See how a DC forgery lawyer could help you. Contact an attorney today to discuss your case.