In the criminal world, the crime of forgery is often glamorized in movies, as well as on television shows. Think James Bond and other action films and shows. However, in the State of Georgia, forgery is not treated in a glamorous way. In fact, prosecutors in Georgia forgery cases come hard after defendants. If you have been charged with forgery in Georgia, you should consult with one of the licensed criminal defense attorneys at Greer Tisinger who specializes in defending forgery cases.
Overview of Forgery in Georgia
As a type of blatant fraud, forgery consists of creating or changing documents to deceive another person or an entire organization. Changing a document can be as simple as falsely signing another person’s name to a check assigned to that person. It can also involve altering a driver’s license by switching out photographs. Anyone charged with forgery in Georgia faces the prospect of extensive time behind bars, as well as paying a steep punitive fine.
Forgery in Georgia as a Crime
Forgery starts at a young age when kids try to mimic the signature of a parent on a report card. At a young age, forgery is simply an offense schools handle in house. When forgery morphs into an adult criminal activity, the criminal act is performed with the intent to harm someone else by committing an act of fraud. Georgia law defines four degrees of forgery, with each degree requiring prosecutors to prove intent. For forgery cases, prosecutors can establish intent directly or by presenting circumstantial evidence. Other examples of criminal forgery include digitally changing the appearance of a government form and withdrawing funds from another person’s bank account, without first gaining approval from the person whose name is listed on the account.
If you or someone close to you faces a forgery charge, you need a highly rated team of criminal defense lawyers to fight for your rights. You can expect the prosecution to include expert witnesses, as well as seasoned attorneys that know how to win forgery cases.
First Degree Forgery
Georgia statute O.C.G.A. § 16-9-1(b) Defines forgery in the first degree to be “A person commits the offense of forgery in the first degree when with the intent to defraud he or she knowingly makes, alters, or possesses any writing, other than a check, in a fictitious name or in such manner that the writing as made or altered purports to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority and utters or delivers such writing.”
As the most damaging degree of forgery, first degree forgery carries with it the strictest punishment. Anyone convicted of first degree forgery can face jail time spanning between one and 15 years. The felony conviction on your record will be a permanent blemish that will adversely affect your job prospects for the rest of your life.
Penalties for Forgery in Georgia
Prosecutors can seek either a felony or a misdemeanor conviction for a forgery case. The degree at which a forgery case is prosecuted depends mostly on the amount of the victim’s loss. For example, a conviction for forging a check amounting to $25 will draw a lesser charge than a forgery case involving the altering of a driver’s license that was used to acquire thousands of dollars from other person’s bank account.
Forgery in the fourth degree is considered a misdemeanor, which comes with a prison sentence up to one year and/or a fine that cannot exceed $1,000. Felony convictions, which can happened for defendants facing forgery charges in the first, second, and third degrees, carry much stiffer sentences. A felony conviction does much more harm than cost you job prospects. It also makes it hard to secure credit and lock in favorable terms for housing.
Defending Forgery Charges in Georgia
Greer Tisinger criminal defense lawyers that handle forgery cases have several options for defending our clients. Our preferred method for exonerating clients is to prove innocence. Since many forgery cases involve the alteration of signatures, we often refer to the expertise of handwriting analysts to prove our clients did not forge documents. Another way to convince a jury that a client is innocent is to provide an alibi for the client that is backed up by one or more credible eyewitnesses.
Like every other type of criminal case, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty of a forgery charge. Beyond a reasonable doubt is an especially helpful litmus test for guilt when it comes to analyzing handwriting samples. Just the slightest doubt as to the accuracy of a defendant’s handwriting analysis can lead just one juror to vote not guilty and thus, the jury will return a verdict of not guilty for a client.
Turn to Greer Tisinger for Expert Legal Counsel
Facing a forgery charge on your own or being represented by an inexperienced criminal defense attorney can lead to a felony conviction that permanently stains your criminal record. Be proactive and contact the accomplished team of forgery lawyers at Greer Tisinger to schedule a free initial consultation. We will closely examine your case to determine the best course of legal action.
You can reach us online by submitting the convenient contact form or by calling our law firm at 404-566-6634.
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