In Florida, if you make, alter, or falsify legal documents with the intent to defraud any person you will be charged with check forgery. Check forgery is a serious criminal offense that carries harsh penalties. When accused or arrested of check forgery or counterfeiting, you may feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty associated with the potential consequences. Most felony convictions, including check forgery, can result in hefty fines and jail time. If you have been accused or charged with a fraud-related offense such as check forgery, you should contact a seasoned Escambia County Criminal Defense Lawyer who can help defend your rights and interests. Keep reading to learn about the potential penalties for this type of criminal offense.
What is check forgery?
Under Florida law, an individual is guilty of check forgery if they falsely make, alter, forge, counterfeit, or produce a document with legal standing. This type of criminal offense is most commonly committed when blank checks are stolen and individuals forge the account holder’s name to cash the check. Additionally, individuals may steal a check through the mail and erase all information besides the account holder’s signature. This is known as check washing. Further, check forgery can also be committed with fake checks as a forger creates a check with fake information that passes off as a restatement check in exchange for cash. Uttering a forged instrument is also considered a serious crime.
What are the potential penalties?
The state of Florida carries harsh penalties for forgery as this criminal offense is classified as a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies are usually punishable by up to five years of jail time and fines of up to $5,000. If you are charged with check forgery, the severity of your penalties will vary depending on the sale, possession, and manufacturing of the counterfeit checks. If you are a first-time offender, you could be subject to up to 1 year of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. If this is your second or subsequent offense you will face even harsher penalties. It is also important to note that forged or counterfeited goods can be seized by the state through forfeiture. Ultimately, the penalties for this type of criminal offense can haunt you for the rest of your life as it is a third-degree felony.
If you are someone who has been accused or charged with check forgery, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of one of our skilled and qualified team members. At The Law Office of James M. Burns, you can rest assured that our dedicated team will work tirelessly to help you prevent harsh penalties and achieve a favorable outcome. Allow our firm to help you navigate the complex criminal justice system.