What is required for forgery prosecution?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Forgery in Indiana is a common white-collar crime committed with the intent to commit theft or fraud. Many people have heard of someone who falsified a signature on a check or other financial document. While this represents one of the most common ways to commit forgery, several other actions can constitute this crime.

Forgery elements

A forgery charge under Indiana criminal law is an attempt at fraud through the use of a written document. The person who commits the forgery will normally endorse the document with an illegitimate signature.

The burden of proof is on law enforcement to show that the accused individual attempted to use a document with the intent to both misrepresent themselves as another person and commit fraud. The need for the prosecution to prove intent is a crucial element in a forgery case. Documents that commonly become the center of a forgery investigation include:

  • Checks
  • Loan applications
  • Credit card applications
  • Apartment leases
  • Personal and financial information belonging to another person

Forgery cases sometimes involve attempts to illegally obtain things of value other than money that belong to another person. Cases of online identity theft that involve forgery are also on the rise in recent years.

One example of a forgery that does not involve money could be a person who gains possession of a doctor’s prescription pad. The person then fills out a prescription on their own and signs it with the doctor’s name. Once this person arrives at a pharmacy and attempts to fill the counterfeit prescription, they become guilty of forgery.

Penalties

Forgery is a Class C felony in Indiana. Individuals convicted of forgery face a minimum prison term of two years. Eight years represents the maximum time a person can spend in prison for a forgery conviction. A fine of up to $10,000 is also possible.

Individuals accused of forgery face serious criminal charges. Accused individuals need to act quickly to protect themselves from potential damage. A criminal defense attorney may advise a defendant of their best possible options for defense or a plea deal after examining the facts of a case.