If you have been charged with forgery in Florida then you may have a defense. Lack of intent to defraud is a defense that is oftentimes successful when fighting forgery cases. Even if you don’t think you have a defense, you should always speak to an attorney to make sure you have a full understanding of how the law applies specifically to your case. If you want to know more about lack of intent to defraud or how to beat your forgery case in Florida, then contact Matthew Williams now for a free consultation.
In Florida, forgery is defined under Florida Statute 831.01. A person commits forgery when they falsify, alter, counterfeit or forge a document that carries “legal efficacy” with the intent to injure or defraud another person or entity.
Legal efficacy – to be considered a document with legal efficacy, the document must have a legal significance that affects another person’s legal right to something. That being said, a forged grocery list would not have legal efficacy because it does not affect another person’s legal right to anything. On the other hand, checks, deeds, wills, testaments, powers of attorney, insurance policies, promissory notes, receipts, and any documents that are required to be notarized are all documents that have legal efficacy.
Forgery is a third-degree felony, meaning it is punishable by up to five years in prison, or up five years of probation and up to $5,000 in fines (you can also get a jail or prison sentence followed by probation, but the total length of the punishment cannot exceed five years). In addition to facing prison time, if you are adjudicated guilty of forgery then you will lose constitutional rights and you’ll have to deal with many other collateral consequences.
Criminal convictions, especially convictions for fraud-related charges, carry severe consequences and can never be removed from your criminal record. If you are convicted of a felony you will lose your right to vote, your right to own firearms, and your ability to maintain certain business licenses. You can also lose your ability to receive financial aid, your ability to live in certain places and your ability to obtain a passport.
If you need an attorney who will advise you, fight for your rights, and do everything possible to protect your future, or if someone you know has been charged with forgery in Florida then contact Matthew Williams now for a free consultation.