Charlotte Forgery Defense Attorneys

Many associate forgery with creating fake documents or signing another person's name on a check. However, the definition of forgery in North Carolina is complex and encompasses a broader range of criminal activities. If you have been arrested and charged with forgery, the most important thing you can do is contact an experienced attorney to represent your best interests.

North Carolina Forgery Laws

If you or your loved one has been charged with forgery, you could be facing severe criminal penalties. Forgery is almost always considered a felony in North Carolina. Prosecutors take forgery charges seriously. If you have prior convictions for forgery, you could face multiple years in prison if you are convicted. Additionally, prosecutors must establish that you either possessed or made a forged instrument.

In other words, an "instrument" is a name for a document, form, or identification. To be charged with the crime of forgery, an individual must have the intent to defraud another person. For example, suppose an individual scribbles out a fake IOU to another person for a large sum of money. If the person meant it as a joke and did not seriously intend to defraud the other person, the prosecutor would have difficulty proving that the creation or alteration of the "instrument was done to defraud the other person.

What Elements Must a Prosecutor Prove to Convict Me of Forgery?

The details of your case will depend on the specific charges you are facing. However, the general elements a prosecutor needs to prove include the following:

  • You modified or altered an existing document, or you created a false instrument.
  • The document has legal significance, either because it has value or signifies an ownership interest.
  • The alteration or creation of the instrument was "material" because it changed the legal impact of the document.
  • You intended to defraud another party by misrepresenting the nature of the document and with the knowledge that the entity or person would rely on the misrepresentation.

Prosecutors and law enforcement officers must present the court with solid proof to convict you of forgery. Instead of being arrested quickly, there may be a lengthy investigation period as law enforcement officials gather enough evidence to charge you with uttering a forged instrument. If you know or suspect that you are being investigated for forgery, you must discuss your case with an attorney who can help protect your rights during the investigation.

Types of Forgery Charges in North Carolina

North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) § 14-119 – 14-125 outlines different types of forgery charges, which include a range of criminal activities, including the following:

  • Forgery of a financial note, check, or security document
  • Forgery of instrument
  • Using a document with fake endorsements, sometimes referred to as signature forgery
  • Check forgery or presenting a worthless check as payment of goods or services
  • Prescription forgery, which involves using a health care provider's prescription pad or other identifying information to obtain a controlled substance
  • Forging a will, trust, deed, or another instrument
  • Issuing fake pay stubs to employees or independent contractors
  • Counterfeit money charges, which could involve presenting counterfeit money for paying or producing fake money
The Penalties of Forgery in North Carolina

The punishment for using a forged instrument in North Carolina is based on the crime's classification, the victim's identity, and the property's value. The best way to learn more about the specific penalties you may be facing is to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Class 1 felony charges are the most serious types of forgery charges.

You could face between three and 12 months in prison if you are convicted. If you are found with five or more checks or related documents, the offense could be heightened to a Class G felony, which is punishable with a prison term of eight to 31 months. Less serious forgery charges include Class I felony charges that carry a prison sentence of three to 12 months.

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of identity theft, criminal impersonation, forgery, or any other criminal offense, the skilled attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are here to help. Our attorneys can provide you with the level of dedication, superior attention, and professional legal representation you need to be successful in court. With decades of experience, our attorneys are familiar with all state and federal laws related to forgery. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a free case evaluation and discuss how we can provide you with a robust legal defense.