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In Lawrence County, Alabama, forgery is a crime that can result in heavy legal penalties. In addition to serving time and paying fines, a conviction for forgery can complicate your professional career, making it difficult to get a job, obtain a professional license, or secure financial assistance.

If you are charged with forgery, a Lawrence County forgery lawyer could help you pursue the best possible outcome given the circumstances. Working with an experienced fraud attorney could be the best way to develop a strong defense and preserve your future.

Multiple Levels of Charges

Legally speaking, forgery is the process of forging or producing a copy of a document, signature, banknote, work of art, or other such items. An important element of criminal forgery is the intent to deceive or defraud another person or the public as a whole.

In Lawrence County, there are three different degrees of forgery, each distinguished by the type of item that is the subject of the forgery. It is important to note that every degree of forgery requires that the defendant has acted with an intent to defraud or deceive. Forgery charges carry severe penalties, which means a Lawrence County forgery lawyer could be crucial to a defendant’s case.

Forgery in the First-Degree

First-degree forgery, enumerated in Code of Alabama §13A-9-2, typically involves the creation of a government document, corporate stock, or a corporate bond. First-degree forgery is a Class B felony punishable by a sentence of up to 20 years but not fewer than two years and a fine not to exceed $30,000.

Forgery in the Second-Degree

As defined in Alabama Code §13A-9-3, forgery in the second-degree most frequently involves the creation of a fraudulent check, will, deed, or other commercial instruments that affect a party’s legal rights. Second-degree forgery can also, include fraudulent manufacture or alteration of a public record or a written instrument issued or created by a public office or its employees.

Second-degree forgery is a Class C felony punishable by no less than one year and one day in prison and no more than 10 years. The prison term can be accompanied by a fine no greater than $15,000.

Forgery in the Third-Degree

Third-degree forgery, a Class A misdemeanor, involves the creation or alteration of any written instrument not defined specifically in either first- or second-degree forgery, according to Alabama Code §13A-9-4. A Class A misdemeanor can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of no more than $6,000.

Possession of a Forged Instruments

In addition to forgery itself, knowingly possessing forged documents with an intent to deceive is a crime in Lawrence County. As an example, if a person receives a forged check and, with the knowledge that the check is a forgery and attempts to cash it, they may be charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument. Generally, it is unlikely that a person charged with forgery will also be charged with possession of the same forged document.

Possession of Tools Related to Forgery

Alabama Code §13A-9-9 makes it illegal to possess a tool, device, or piece of equipment specifically designed or altered to create or adjust official documents is unlawful in Lawrence County. Again, as with forgery, the possessor must have the intent to use the equipment for deception.

For example, possession of a device used to create fake driver’s licenses with the intent to use it as an educational tool for recruits in a police academy would not be illegal. Possession of that same device with the intent to produce fake licenses for high school students could give rise to a charge for possession of forgery tools. A Lawrence County forgery lawyer could help build an individual’s defense.

Building a Strong Defense with a Lawrence County Forgery Attorney

Retaining expert counsel is often the first step to constructing a successful defense against a forgery charge. With the passionate assistance of a Lawrence County forgery lawyer, you could protect your rights and challenge a forgery charge in a variety of ways. Call today to see what options may be available in your forgery case.