New Jersey criminal law N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1 prohibits fraudulent actions and deceitful conduct. These charges commonly relate to bank or check fraud allegations or identity theft charges. Writing and cashing bad checks includes a charge of forgery.
No one is ever guilty unless or until he/she pleads guilty or is found guilty by a jury. In order to obtain a conviction, the State must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
The elements of forgery are as follows:
- The defendant acted purposefully to defraud another. A jury is instructed by the Judge that they may “infer” that the defendant had knowledge or purpose from the fact the defendant was attempting to cash a forged instrument;
- The conduct must involve a writing (e.g., a check or contract) of another; and
- The writing was altered without the knowledge of the other person.
- The writing was presented to a third party and purports to be from another.
Some examples include writing a check on a closed account known to be closed, forging another’s name or forging a prescription.
Forgery: Second, Third, Fourth Degree
The level of a forgery crime depends on the subject of the forgery. Making or selling government ID documents is recognized as second-degree forgery. Forgoing a prescription is a crime of the third degree. There are other specifically enumerated documents that are various degrees. All circumstances that are not specified are crimes of the fourth degree. An example of a fourth degree forgery would be the forgery of a name to a savings account on a withdrawal slip.
Consequences of a Forgery Conviction
Being charged with forgery can have significant consequences on your life. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you are exposed to jail time, fines, and negative effects on your credit score, penalties, restitution, and/or probation. If you are faced with a concern that relates to forgery, call and speak with us at Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates. We will answer all of your questions and help you address all your concerns.