Forgery Crimes

Forgery Crimes

What Are Forgery Crimes?

Forgery crimes are the act of producing, imitating, or altering a document, signature, artwork, currency, or other object with the intent to deceive or defraud others by presenting the forged item as genuine. The act of forgery is typically done with the intention of gaining something of value, such as money, goods, or services, or to deceive others for personal advantage.
Forgery crimes can be charged at the state and federal levels. It is also possible to be charged at both state and federal levels for the same crime.

State Forgery Crimes Can Include:

Fake IDs – Creating or possessing counterfeit identification documents, such as driver’s licenses or state ID cards, with the intent to deceive law enforcement or gain unauthorized privileges.

Counterfeit Currency – Producing or distributing fake money, including counterfeit bills issued by the government.

Forged Vehicle Documents – Creating or altering vehicle registration certificates, titles, or inspection stickers to misrepresent ownership or legal status.

Forged Government Contracts – Falsifying government contracts or official documents related to government projects to defraud the state or other parties.

Fake Passports – Creating or using forged passports to deceive authorities or facilitate illegal activities, such as human trafficking or smuggling.

False Notarization – Forging the signature of a notary public on documents to make them appear legally valid.

Altered Academic Records – Changing grades or academic achievements on official transcripts to gain unfair advantages or deceive educational institutions.

Falsified Government Forms – Submitting altered or fake forms to government agencies to obtain benefits or permissions dishonestly.

Fake Immigration Documents – Creating or using counterfeit immigration documents to enter or remain in a country unlawfully.

Forgery of Government Certificates – Falsifying government-issued certificates, such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, or citizenship documents.

Fabricated Court Documents – Creating or altering court orders, judgments, or legal papers to deceive the court or other parties involved in a legal process.

False Police Reports – Filing fake police reports or tampering with official police documents to obstruct justice or mislead authorities.

State Penalties Can Include:

Misdemeanor Forgery – If the forgery involves a low-value item or is considered a minor offense, it may be charged as a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor forgery can result in penalties such as fines, probation, community service, and a short-term jail sentence (usually less than one year).

Felony Forgery – More serious cases of forgery, such as those involving high-value items or large-scale fraud, are typically charged as felonies. Felony forgery can result in more severe penalties, including substantial fines, lengthy prison sentences (often several years or more), and a permanent criminal record.

Identity Theft and Check Forgery – For crimes that involve identity theft, creating fake identification documents, or forging checks, the penalties can be particularly severe due to the potential for significant financial harm to victims. Depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances, these offenses may be charged as felonies with harsher penalties.

Federal Forgery – Certain types of forgery that cross state lines or involve federal agencies can be prosecuted at the federal level. Federal forgery offenses often carry severe penalties, including substantial fines and lengthy prison sentences.

Aggravating Factors – In some cases, aggravating factors such as repeat offenses, using forged documents to commit other crimes, or targeting vulnerable individuals may lead to enhanced penalties.

Some Common Federal Forgery Crimes Include:

Counterfeiting Currency – Creating or distributing counterfeit money, such as fake bills or coins, is a federal offense under 18 U.S. Code § 471.

Forging Government Documents – Forging or altering government-issued documents, such as passports, driver’s licenses, social security cards, or immigration papers, is prohibited under various federal statutes.

Fraudulent Checks – Creating or passing forged checks with the intent to defraud banks, individuals, or businesses is a federal offense under 18 U.S. Code § 513.

False Identification Documents – Producing, transferring, or using fake identification documents like fake IDs falls under 18 U.S. Code § 1028.

Forgery of Corporate or Financial Documents – Forging corporate documents or financial instruments, such as stocks, bonds, or deeds, with the intention of committing fraud is a federal crime.

Falsifying Records in Federal Agencies – Altering or falsifying records in federal agencies, such as law enforcement records, medical records, or tax documents, is prohibited under various federal laws.

Art Forgery – Creating or selling fake artwork and passing it off as genuine is a form of forgery that can lead to federal charges if it involves interstate commerce or crosses state borders.

It is important to note that forgery laws can be complex, and the severity of the crime and penalties can vary depending on factors such as the type of document forged, the amount of financial loss, and the offender’s criminal history. Each case is unique, and the specific charges and penalties would depend on the circumstances of the individual case and the relevant federal laws in place at the time of the offense.

The Penalties for Federal Forgery Crimes Can Be Severe and May Include:

Imprisonment – Conviction for federal forgery crimes can result in significant periods of incarceration, ranging from several months to years, depending on the seriousness of the offense.

Fines – Defendants may be required to pay substantial fines as part of their punishment for forgery crimes.

Restitution – In some cases, the court may order the offender to pay restitution to the victims to compensate for their losses resulting from the forgery.

Probation – Instead of or in addition to imprisonment, a court may impose probation, during which the convicted person will have to comply with certain conditions and restrictions.

Criminal Record – A forgery conviction will result in a criminal record, which can have long-term consequences, such as difficulty finding employment or housing.

It’s important to note that the severity of the penalties may depend on factors such as the amount of financial loss incurred, the number of victims involved, and the defendant’s prior criminal history.

What Does a Forgery Crimes Defense Attorney Do?

A forgery crimes defense attorney is a lawyer who specializes in representing individuals charged with or accused of forgery-related offenses. Forgery is the act of creating, altering, or using fake documents, signatures, or other items with the intent to deceive or defraud others. As a defense attorney in forgery cases, their main role and responsibilities include:

Legal Representation – The attorney serves as the defendant’s legal representative throughout the legal process. They will advocate for their client’s rights and work to ensure a fair trial.

Case Analysis – The defense attorney carefully examines the evidence and details of the case to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case. This analysis helps them develop a strategic defense strategy.

Building a Defense – Based on their analysis, the attorney will formulate a defense strategy tailored to the specific circumstances of the case. This might include challenging the authenticity of evidence, questioning the chain of custody of documents, or presenting alternative explanations for the accused’s actions.

Negotiating Plea Deals – If the evidence is overwhelming or the chances of a successful defense at trial are slim, the attorney may negotiate with the prosecution to secure a plea deal with a reduced charge or sentence.

Representing in Court – During court proceedings, the attorney represents the defendant, cross-examines witnesses, and presents arguments to challenge the prosecution’s case.

Expert Witness Engagement – In some cases, the defense attorney may work with expert witnesses (e.g., handwriting experts) to challenge the prosecution’s evidence and provide expert testimony in favor of the defense.

Defending Constitutional Rights – The attorney ensures that the defendant’s constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent or the right to a fair trial, are upheld throughout the legal process.

Preparing For Trial – If the case goes to trial, the attorney will thoroughly prepare the defense by gathering evidence, questioning potential witnesses, and preparing the defendant for testimony.

Post-Trial Actions – If the defendant is found guilty, the attorney may pursue post-trial options, such as filing appeals or seeking to have the conviction overturned based on legal errors or new evidence.

Overall, the primary goal of a forgery crimes defense attorney is to protect their client’s rights and work to achieve the best possible outcome for their case, whether it be through acquittal, reduced charges, or a favorable plea deal.

The lawyers at The Attorneys For Freedom Law Firm have been representing people charged with forgery crimes in both state and federal court for over three decades. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to provide the best possible defense of these charges.

To schedule a Strategy Session with an experienced forgery crimes attorney, contact the Attorneys For Freedom today. We can be reached online at or by calling our Arizona office at 480-755-7110 or our Hawai’i office at 808-647-2423.


Arizona Office Address:
3185 S. Price Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85248
Phone: 480-755-7110
Hawai’i Office Address:
1003 Bishop Street, Suite 1260 Pauahi Tower
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96813
Phone: 808-647-2423
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