Columbus Forgery Lawyer
Assisting Citizens of Columbus, Ohio with Defending against a Criminal Forgery Charge
Forgery is a crime of dishonesty in the State of Ohio. In order for a state prosecutor to be successful in a Columbus forgery case, he or she must satisfy the required legal burden beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot meet his or her burden, then the criminal forgery charge might be subject to dismissal.
If you have been arrested or charged with committing forgery in Columbus, Ohio, it is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you in your case and ensure that your constitutional rights are protected throughout the entire criminal process. The knowledgeable forgery lawyers at the Joslyn Law Firm can help safeguard your legal rights and explain all of your legal options in clear, easy-to-understand language.
Franklin County Forgery Defense Attorney
Though forgery initially seems like a simple concept, in Ohio it is a serious legal matter that can take a serious legal mind to defend. Brian Joslyn and the experienced criminal defense lawyers of Joslyn Law Firm are prepared and ready to protect your rights and fight for a favorable outcome for your forgery case in Columbus or the surrounding areas of Dublin, Westerville, Reynoldsburg, Grove City, Circleville, Delaware, Newark, Lancaster, Marysville, or London.
Fueled by a personal experience of mistreatment by the law, Brian Joslyn and his team of lawyers will construct a comprehensive defense while fighting against any legal injustices that come your way. Your first consultation is free, so call (614) 444-1900 today to see what Joslyn Law Firm can do for your Franklin County forgery case.
Overview of Forgery in OH
- What is Forgery?
- Legal Definitons for Forgery in Ohio
- Forgery in Ohio Defined
- Consequences for Forgery
- Possible Defenses for Forgery
What is Forgery in Ohio?
Forgery generally involves falsifying a writing, such as a signature or formal document. There are several different types of actions that can result in you being charged with forgery – assuming that you have the necessary criminal intent. Specifically, you must have the intent to commit fraud while committing one or more of the following actions:
- Signing someone else’s name to a document
- Distributing or selling an identification card that has been forged
- Intentionally altering a legal document without having the necessary authority
- Altering or creating an identification card that is false – or putting false information on the card, such as an incorrect age, name, or birthdate
- Possessing a document that has been forged while intending to present it or to use it at some point
- Presenting or using a document that has been forged – including trying to cash a forged check
- Signing someone else’s name on a check
- Taking a forged check to a bank or credit union to have it cashed
The act of presenting or using a document that has been forged is also called “uttering” the document. If you have been arrested or charged with committing any of these acts of forgery, you should retain a Columbus forgery attorney as soon as possible to represent you in your criminal case.
Important Legal Definitions Related to Ohio Forgery
Sometimes when writing state law, the general definition of a word is not sufficient enough for a statute. It becomes necessary, then, in some instances to describe in detail the specific legal definition of a word. This is the case for some of the terms used in O.R.C. § 2913.31 which covers forgery in Ohio. Understanding these terms is important for you and your white collar crime defense lawyer in constructing a solid defense to your Franklin County forgery charge. These terms are outlined in O.R.C. § 2913.01, and include:
- Defraud – to knowingly obtain by deception some benefit to yourself or another or knowingly cause some detriment to another through deception
- Disabled Adult – any person 18 years of age or older who has some impairment of body or mind that disables them from working at any substantially lucrative employment which he or she would otherwise be able to perform and that will, with reasonable probability, continue with the impairment for 12 months or more without any present indication of recovery, or who is 18 or older and has been certified as totally and permanently disabled by a state or federal agency
- Elderly Person – any person who is 65 years of age or older
- Forge – to fabricate or create in part or in whole any counterfeit writing by any means, or to make, execute, alter, complete, reproduce, or otherwise purport to authenticate any writing when that writing in fact is not authenticated by that conduct
- Identification Card – any card that includes the personal information or characteristics of an individual for the purpose of establishing the identity of that person, whether or not the words “identity,” “identification,” “identification card,” or other similar words appear on the card
- Services – includes labor, personal services, professional services, rental services, public utility services, wireless service, common carrier services, cable services, and food, drink, transportation, entertainment, and cable television services
- Utter – to issue, publish, transfer, use, deliver, display, or put or send into circulation
- Writing – includes anything with written, typewritten, or printed matter in or upon it such as computer software, document, letter, memo, note, paper, plate, data, or film, and any symbol of value, right, privilege, license or identification such as a token, stamp, seal, credit card, badge, trademark, or label
Forgery in Ohio Defined
Forgery in Ohio includes both the forgery of a person’s writing, such as their signature, and making, selling, and/or distribution of fake I.D.’s. What constitutes a legal offense of forgery in Ohio is defined in O.R.C. § 2913.31 as any person who, with the purpose to defraud or the knowledge that he or she is facilitating fraud, commits one or more of the following:
- Forges any writing of another without his or her permission or authority
- Forges any writing that then purports to be genuine when it actually is counterfeit
- Forges any writing that then purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act
- Forges any writing that then purports to have been executed at a time or place different than where or when it was actually executed
- Forges any writing that then has terms different from the original terms
- Forges any writing that then purports to be a copy of an original when that original did not exist
- Utters or possess with purpose to utter any writing the person knows to have been forged
- Forges an identification card or otherwise fakes an i.d.
- Sells or otherwise distributes a card that purports to be an identification card with the knowledge that it is forged or a form of fake i.d.
An experienced white collar crime defense lawyer can fight to defend you from a Franklin County forgery charge based on any of these factors. Forgery is a serious crime with serious penalties, and you should ensure the protection of your rights.
What Penalties are Possible for a Forgery Conviction?
If you are ultimately convicted of a forgery crime, you can be looking at possible jail time, fines, and other potential penalties. If the forgery offense involves fake I.D. cards – or selling/distributing fake I.D. cards – you may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor offense. If you are ultimately convicted of this misdemeanor crime, you can be sentenced to a maximum of 180 days in jail for a first-time offense. If you are convicted of this charge for a second time, you must receive a minimum monetary fine of $250.
Other types of forgery offenses are generally deemed fifth-degree felonies, which are punishable by between six and 12 months in jail and/or a maximum monetary fine of $2,500. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
One exception exists in forgery cases that involve services or some type of property – as well as forgery cases where the victim suffers some type of loss (including loss of money from a bank account, due to a forged check), and the total value of the services or property is at least $7,500 but under $150,000. In those instances, the accused can be charged with a fourth-degree felony offense. A conviction for a fourth-degree felony can lead to between six and 18 months in jail and/or a $5,000 monetary fine.
If the alleged victim of the forgery is disabled or elderly, the accused can be charged with a third-degree felony. A conviction for a third-degree felony can result in between nine months and five years in jail and/or a maximum monetary fine of $10,000.
Finally, if the alleged forgery involves services or property which is valued at $150,000 or higher, the accused can be charged with a third-degree felony – or a second-degree felony in the event the alleged victim of the forgery crime is a disabled or elderly person. A second-degree felony conviction can result in between two and eight years in prison and/or a maximum monetary fine of $15,000.
Potential Defenses to a Forgery Crime
If you have been charged with a crime of forgery, there are several defenses that you may be able to allege. If you are able to raise a successful defense in response to a forgery charge, your charge – and your entire criminal case – may be subject to a dismissal. Some of the most common legal defenses to a Columbus forgery charge include the following:
- Mistaken identity – The accused may be able to raise the legal defense of mistaken identity if he or she was not the individual who actually committed the forgery crime.
- Nonexistence of a crime – A criminal accused may also be able to defend on the grounds that no forgery crime ever occurred. For example, the accused might argue that the document signature had not been altered or changed in any way.
- Lack of criminal intent – A criminal accused may also argue that he or she reasonably believed someone had given authority to alter or sign a financial document, such as a check, that is the subject of the alleged forgery.
Joslyn Law Firm | Forgery Defense Lawyer in Columbus
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony forgery offense in Franklin County, Delaware County, Madison County, Union County, Licking County, Fairfield County, or Pickaway County, it is best not to delay exploring your legal options. Contact the experienced Columbus forgery defense lawyers of Joslyn Law Firm to begin your fight against a serious conviction. Your first consultation is free, so call (614) 444-1900 today and schedule yours.
Additional White Collar Crime Defense
We also provide defense lawyers for these other types of white collar crimes in Columbus, OH and central Ohio:
- Engaging in Corrupt Activity
- Federal White-Collar Crimes
- Tax Evasion
- …and more