Forgery is the crime where you falsely make a certain writing or possess a writing that you know is forged. The offense is a serious felony under Washington law that can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you or a loved one is facing a forgery charge.
What is Washington’s Law on Forgery
RCW 9A.60.020 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime of forgery. In general, you commit this offense if you, with the intent to injure or defraud:
- Falsely make, complete, or alter a written instrument, or
- Possess, use, or offer a written instrument which you know is forged.
Note that a “written instrument” includes:
- Any paper, document, or other instrument containing written or printed matter or its equivalent, or
- Any access device, token, stamp, seal, badge, trademark, or other evidence or symbol of value, right, privilege, or identification.
Further, acting with an intent to defraud means deceiving someone or depriving a person of something of value.
Examples of forgery include:
- Altering a will by naming yourself as a beneficiary,
- Possessing a check that you know is forged, and
- Signing someone else’s name on a money order.
What are the Penalties?
Forgery under Washington law is a class C felony. A conviction of the crime can result in:
- Up to five years in state prison, and/or
- A maximum fine of up to $10,000.
Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?
Yes. You can challenge a forgery charge with a legal defense. A common defense is for an accused to show that he or she did not act with an intent to injure or defraud someone. For example, it is not a crime if you made what turned out to be a false document by means of an accident. The goal here is to show that you did not purposely aim to harm or trick someone.
Further, you can defend against a charge by showing that while you may have possessed a forged writing, you did not know that the writing was in fact forged.
You can also try to content a charge by showing that the police violated one of your constitutional rights. For example, maybe law enforcement:
- Stopped you without probable cause,
- Coerced a confession, or
- Conducted an unlawful search and seizure.
Contact Black & Askerov for Help
While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a forgery charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on forgery charges. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!