If you hear the word “forgery,” you probably imagine copying someone’s signature or signing a document in their place. What you may not immediately think of is identity theft or forging artwork. Still, all of these things are forgery, and they can also constitute a type of theft.
One key element of forgery crimes is that they all have deceptive intent. The person forging a document, signature or valuable item intends to defraud others. It is illegal to sign another person’s name or create a copy of a famous artwork without permission.
It’s not just new items that can be forged
While you might think that most forgeries are new items that are made to look like others, did you know that forgery also includes manipulating current documents or signatures? For example, if someone writes you a check for $100 and you add a comma and third 0, you would have just forged their writing. Not only would that be illegal, since you were technically pretending to be them when altering the check, it would be illegal because it’s direct theft. You could be penalized for both.
Forgery is a serious crime in Virginia
If you are accused of forgery, it’s essential that you take action as soon as you can in order to protect yourself. Forgery is a felony offense no matter how much money is involved. Even a single dollar being forged can result in harsh penalties.
The law states that forgery is a class 5 felony offense. For committing it, you could face fines of up to $2,500 and go to prison for up to 10 years. On top of that, you could also be accused of “uttering,” which is a secondary offense that is also punishable by law. So, a single forgery offense could come with up to 10 years in prison for forgery and up to another 10 in prison for uttering.
A strong defense will help you protect yourself and prevent you from facing unfair penalties. Forgery is a significant crime to defend against, but there are options that may help minimize the risk of jail time or fines.