Forgery Defense Attorneys in Passaic County, NJ
Forgery is an offense that, unfortunately, is a common occurrence in New Jersey. One commits forgery when they produce or modify a document attributed to another entity, without the permission of that entity, and with the intention of deceiving or swindling them. In New Jersey, this is a serious crime that can lead to a felony charge of the fourth or third degree, or a disorderly persons offense, depending on the specific allegations against you. Regardless of the degree, forgery is a severe crime that demands the experience and dedication of a strong defense team of lawyers on your side.
If you have been charged with forgery, call the skilled defense attorneys at The Montanari Law Group as soon as possible. We have years of experience as criminal defense lawyers and are well-versed in the legal system. We understand that you are likely concerned about what the future holds for you. Contact us at (973) 233-4396 to talk about your criminal case in New Jersey and what we can do to get you safely to the other side. We defend clients charged with forgery and other crimes in Paterson, Wayne, Clifton, Haledon, Prospect Park, Woodland Park, and towns throughout Passaic County and Northern New Jersey.
Forgery Definition Under New Jersey Law
New Jersey law N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1 considers forgery to be an act that involves any of the following three elements, with an intent of defrauding or causing harm to another person:
- modification of a document or writing belonging to someone else without their express permission;
- creation of a document that is intended to appear the official work of someone else, including a fictitious person
- “utterance,” or reference to a document that has been modified or created as above.
When the law refers to ‘uttering,’ it is referring to someone who speaks about a falsely-created document knowing that it is a forgery and who has the intent to defraud another.
Type of Actions That Constitute Forgery
There are many examples of forgery offenses that commonly occur. Forgery sometimes occurs in medical settings, where someone will falsify prescription from a doctor or produce false prescription blanks for the purposes of their own use or sale to others. Another common type of forgery is the forgery of personal information to obtain something to which the actor is not legally entitled. The forgery of signatures is another very common offense in New Jersey, as is the falsification of documents in their entirety and personal identification documents such as drivers licenses or passports.
Forgery Charge Penalties in New Jersey
Depending on the severity of the action, a forgery charge can be considered a misdemeanor, known in New Jersey as a disorderly persons offense; or it can be considered a more serious felony with fourth or even third degree classification.
A person will receive a disorderly persons charge if they are caught with a falsified sales receipt or UPC. The penalty for such a misdemeanor offense is up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
There are also cases in which forgery is considered a fourth degree felony offense in New Jersey. As a fourth degree felony, someone charged with forgery could face up to a year and a half in prison (18 months) and up to $10,000 in fines.
In certain circumstances, however, a forgery offense can carry a more serious third degree felony charge. When certain items are forged, the crime escalates to classification as a third degree offense. Forgery of money and checks; personal identification information such as a driver’s license, passport, or social security card; property deeds and wills; and bonds or other corporate guards carry a third degree charge. Penalties for such an offense are three (3) years to up to five (5) years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
How Prosecutors Prove NJ Forgery Offenses
In order to prove a forgery charge, certain elements must be determined by prosecution. As Forensic Document Examination: Principles and Practice reminds, the prosecution must prove that the document was falsified, that the falsifier of the document is the person charged, that the defendant is legally liable for their action, and that the defendant specifically intended to defraud another through their actions.
A skilled criminal defense lawyer is an invaluable asset to your defense, as you’ll need an attorney equipped to disprove your involvement in any of those four elements. Because the grades of forgery charges are so variable and can represent multiple years in prison and thousands of dollars, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to negotiate the lowest charge possible, help you in getting admitted to a program like Pretrial Intervention or Conditional Dismissal if it’s your first offense, or get the charges dismissed, is non-negotiable.
Contact our Little Falls Forgery Lawyers to Review Your Case
The Montanari Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience defending clients facing all types of fraud and forgery charges. Our Passaic County lawyers address these allegations with the important legal background and meticulous handling they require to get the best results. If you’re being investigated for fraud or forgery, our attorneys have everything you need to navigate the criminal justice system effectively. At The Montanari Law Group, we have successfully represented clients in Wanaque, Little Falls, Bloomingdale, Passaic City, Ringwood, New Milford, Totowa, and other towns in the greater Passaic County area. Contact us at 973-233-4396 for a free introductory consultation to discuss your case, or fill out our online contact form to hear from a staff member shortly.