The term “forgery” refers to several criminal activities in Missouri. The penalties vary depending on the specific charges. If you face forgery charges in Kansas City, you will need to fully understand the allegations and find a lawyer dedicated to protecting your rights.
Understanding Forgery in Missouri
Missouri Revised Statutes Section 570.090 provides that forgery is a type of crime that involves the intent to defraud another person. The goal of a forgery is to deceive, trick, or fool someone by carrying out one of the below acts:
- Altering a document to falsify the author, time, place, or other information
- Creating a false document
- Completing a document with false information
- Erasing or eliminating information from a document
- Altering or creating something other than writing to convince others that it is genuine
- Transferring, possessing, or using a known forgery and presenting it as genuine
A classic example of a forgery would be to use another person’s check and sign their name to transfer the funds. One could also commit forgery by removing the name of a beneficiary on a will to obtain a larger share of an inheritance. Selling a painting known as a forgery as an original work of art by a famous artist would violate the statute.
What are the Penalties for Forgery?
Forgery is a Class C felony in Missouri. The penalties that a convict may face are, therefore, severe. A conviction for committing forgery may lead to a maximum of ten years in prison, and at most, a $5,000 fine. The potential penalty for possessing a forging instrument, which is a Class D felony, is up to seven years in prison.
If you face these charges, you should take them seriously; even if the sentence you receive is less than the maximum, there are additional ramifications of a conviction. The following are some of the additional penalties associated with a felony:
- Loss of voting rights
- Trouble finding a job
- Difficulty finding adequate housing
- Loss of the right to own a gun
- Inability to acquire public assistance and public housing
- Harsher future penalties for other offenses
Felonies will appear on background checks. As a result, a conviction may impact your professional and personal life long after you served any time and paid your fines.
How Can I Defend Myself Against Forgery Charges?
If you are facing forgery charges, there are potential defenses. One common defense is that you had consent to sign a document or alter it for another person. An example would be if your parent permitted you to use their credit card and you signed their name to make a purchase.
Another defense is the lack of intent. Intent is a necessary element of forgery crimes. For instance, imagine you purchased a painting you believed was a genuine Monet. You later sold it as a Monet to another buyer. If that buyer later learned that the painting was a highly-skilled forgery, you would not be guilty of forgery because you lacked the element of intent.
The defense that is best for your case will depend on the specific facts. You will need to work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
Call The Law Office of Michael R. Taylor, LLC today for a consultation with an experienced Kansas City, Missouri criminal defense lawyer.