Cincinnati Forgery Lawyer
Helping Individuals in Cincinnati with Defending against a Criminal Forgery Charge
Forgery is a serious crime in Cincinnati, and if you are convicted, you may be faced with serious penalties. In order to be convicted on a forgery charge in Cincinnati, the government prosecutor must introduce evidence at trial to support his or her burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor fails to prove even a single legal element of the offense, the criminal charge against you may wind up being dismissed.
If you or a loved one has been criminally charged with forgery in Cincinnati, an experienced Cincinnati financial crimes lawyer can be extremely helpful to you throughout the entire process – both before and after trial. Prior to your court date, a lawyer will work to ensure that your constitutional rights remain protected at all times. Post-trial, if you are convicted, your lawyer can represent you at your sentencing hearing and work to ensure that you receive the lightest possible penalty in your case.
At the Joslyn Law Firm, our experienced legal team is ready to help defend you throughout your entire criminal case, will explain all of your legal options, and can help you determine the best options for your case. Please give us a call at 614-444-1900 or contact us online to learn more about how we could assist you throughout your criminal legal matter.
Overview of Forgery Charges in OH
- What is a Forgery Charge?
- Can I Go to Jail for Forgery?
- Possible Defenses for Forgery
- Speak to an Attorney Today
What is a Forgery Charge?
Forgery is a charge that can apply to many types of conduct that involve falsifying a writing or document. In order for you to be criminally charged with – and convicted of – forgery, you must intentionally engage in any of the following actions:
- Signing another person’s name to a legal document
- Being in possession of a forged document and intending to use the document or present it to someone else
- Endorsing a check using another person’s name
- Intentionally selling or distributing a forged identification card, otherwise known as a fake I.D.
- Knowingly using or presenting a document that is a forgery, such as by attempting to cash a check which the individual knows has been forged
- Attempting to cash a forged check at a credit union or bank
- Intentionally and knowingly altering a document of legal importance without having the authorization to do so
- Creating or altering a driver’s license or another identification card, such as by putting incorrect identifying information (e.g., name, age, or birthdate) on an I.D. card
If you have been charged with creating or presenting a forged document under one or more of the circumstances referenced above, you should speak with an experienced Cincinnati forgery attorney as soon as possible for help handling your criminal defense.
Can I Go to Jail for a Forgery Conviction?
High monetary fines, prison sentences, and other serious penalties are very likely to result from a criminal forgery conviction in Cincinnati. For example, if you are convicted of forgery for distributing or selling a fake identification card, you can receive penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor, including up to 180 days in jail (for a first-time conviction).
If the forgery offense involves something other than a fake I.D., you will likely be charged with a fifth-degree felony offense. If you are ultimately convicted of a fifth-degree felony, you can receive six to 12 months in jail, a maximum fine of $2,500, or both.
However, there are some other exceptions to the general rule that a forgery will result in a fifth-degree felony charge. For example, if the forgery crime involves a loss of property, such as where a person loses money when a forged check is cashed at a bank, the accused may face fourth-degree felony charges if the value of the property or services allegedly stolen is $7,500 to under $150,000. If you are ultimately convicted of the charges, you may receive six to 18 months in jail, along with a $5,000 fine.
In cases where the alleged victim of the forgery is elderly or disabled, the penalties often increase. If you are convicted of a forgery offense against an elderly or disabled person, you can receive third-degree felony penalties, including nine months to five years in jail, up to $10,000 in monetary fines, or both.
In the event the forgery offense relates to property or services that have a monetary value of at least $150,000, the accused may also incur third-degree felony charges. Additionally, the accused can be charged with a second-degree felony offense if the alleged victim of the offense is elderly or disabled. If you are ultimately convicted of a second-degree felony, you can receive two to eight years in jail, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
What are some Potential Defenses to a Crime of Forgery?
There are several legal defenses that you or your attorney may raise in response to a criminal charge of forgery. A Cincinnati forgery lawyer may be able to advance one or more of these defenses on your behalf at trial. If you are able to raise a successful defense, the forgery charge might be dropped, and if that is the only pending criminal charge, your entire case may be subject to dismissal.
The legal defense or defenses available to you depend largely upon the factual circumstances of your case and what the state prosecutor is alleging occurred. Some of the most common legal defenses to a crime of forgery include:
- Lack of a crime – At trial, the accused may be able to raise the legal defense that no crime actually occurred. The accused, for example, might be able to contend that he or she did not alter the signature on a document or change it in any way.
- Mistake as to the accused’s identity – At trial, the accused may also allege that someone else actually committed the act of forgery – and not the criminal accused.
- No specific intent – Finally, the accused may be in a position to allege that he or she held a reasonable belief that another individual had granted the accused authority to sign or alter the subject document and that, therefore, the accused lacked the specific intent necessary to commit the crime of forgery.
Call a Cincinnati Forgery Lawyer about Your Criminal Charge Today
At the Joslyn Law Firm, our legal team is ready to set to work on defending you against your criminal forgery charge. We represent clients in Cincinnati and all Southwest Ohio counties, including Montgomery County, Greene County, Warren County, Butler County, Hamilton County, Campbell County, Brown County, and Clermont County.
To schedule a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a Cincinnati forgery attorney, please call us at 614-444-1900 or contact us online to learn more about how we can assist you with defending you against your pending criminal charge.