Forgery is taken very seriously in the state of Florida, which is why it is filed as a third-degree felony. If you have been accused of this crime, you are likely very concerned about the penalties that could follow a conviction. As is the case with all felony offenses, the penalties for forgery are harsh, including fines, probation, and years spent in state prison. As an experienced Sarasota fraud attorney, Erika Valcarcel is fully aware that people are often unfairly accused of this crime. With considerable time in her career spent as both a prosecutor and a defender, she will use her knowledge and cultivated abilities to anticipate the prosecution and construct an effective defense of your rights and in turn, your freedom.
Call (941) 363-7900 now to see how your charges can be thrown out in court, if possible.
Florida Forgery Laws
Forgery statutes encompass a number of crimes. According to Florida law, forgery is committed when a person falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits any written materials listed in the forgery statute. In order for an action to qualify, the forgery must be committed with the intent to defraud or injure another individual. Documents that are not allowed to be forged include, but are not limited to:
- Any public record, certificate, or attestation that could be used as proof in legal matters
- Any deed, charter, will, bond, testament, letter of attorney, insurance policy, or bill of any kind
- Any document detailing the discharge for property or funds
- Any receipt for money, goods, or property
- Any ticket or pass used for transportation
Criminal and Collateral Consequences
Forgery is almost always filed as a third-degree felony in the state of Florida. As such, the criminal penalties for this crime are severe. They include, but are not limited to:
- A fine of up to $5000
- Up to 5 years in prison or up to 5 years on probation
In addition to criminal sentencing, there are collateral consequences of a forgery conviction that can haunt you for life. Once you are released from prison, finding a job might be all but impossible due to the fact that most employers do not jump at the chance to hire someone with a criminal record. Your attempts to continue your education might also be stifled, as most colleges and universities thoroughly vet applicants before admitting them. Scholarships might also be difficult to obtain. Most of these awards are off-limits to those with conviction histories.
Defending Against Forgery
There are a number of strategies that an experienced lawyer can use to get your charges reduced or dismissed in a court of law. One of the most effective defenses is claiming that you did not intend to defraud or injure anyone. This can get your charges dropped immediately, as criminal intent is key in reaching a conviction for forgery. It might also be the case that you were simply in possession of a forged document without even knowing it. Forged currency, for example, is everywhere, and simply possessing it without knowledge of its forgery is not grounds for conviction.
Let Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. Protect Your Freedom
A forgery charge can have a dreadful impact on your life. Your family may not be able to survive if you are sent away, and your career may be completely destroyed. Sarasota fraud lawyer Erika Valcarcel understands this turmoil. She believes that listening to your side of the story is the best way to keep your record clean. With all of the details, your case can be presented in the best possible light.