Defense of Forgery Cases in Texas
Forgery involves creating, altering, or using a false document with the intent to defraud or harm another person. This could range from signing someone else's name on a check to creating a completely fake driver's license. If you or a loved one is facing forgery charges in Texas, you need a top Houston criminal-defense lawyer by your side. In this blog post, we'll discuss what constitutes forgery under Texas law and the potential penalties if convicted.
Understanding Forgery in Texas
Under Texas Penal Code Section 32.21, a person commits forgery if he or she:
Forges a writing with the intent to defraud or harm another;
Passes or attempts to pass off the forged writing as genuine.
Forgery can involve various types of documents, including checks, contracts, wills, deeds, and identification cards, among others.
Penalties for Forgery in Texas
The penalties for forgery depend on the type of document involved and the circumstances surrounding the offense. In general, forgery is classified as follows:
Class A misdemeanor: If the forged writing is a will, deed, mortgage, commercial instrument, or credit card.
State jail felony: If the forged writing is a check, money order, or similar sight order for payment of money.
Third-degree felony: If the forged writing is a government-issued identification document, like a driver's license or passport.
However, certain factors can elevate the severity of the offense, such as the victim being an elderly individual.
Viable Defense Strategies
A skilled Houston criminal-defense lawyer can help build a strong defense against forgery charges. Potential strategies may include:
Lack of intent: Demonstrating that the accused did not have the intent to defraud or harm another person.
Mistake of fact: Proving that the accused believed the document was genuine and had no reason to suspect it was forged. This is a scenario that we have seen surprisingly often: someone receives a cashier's check that he or she thinks is legitimate, and goes to the bank to cash it, only to get arrested for forgery.
Insufficient evidence: Challenging the evidence presented by the prosecution to create reasonable doubt.
Forgery is a serious crime in Texas with potentially severe consequences. If you or a loved one is facing forgery charges, it's essential to have a top Houston criminal-defense lawyer on your side. With the right legal counsel, you can navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system and fight for the best possible outcome.
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