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What constitutes forgery?

Forgery is a crime based on fraud. A Pennsylvania resident can be found guilty of forgery if it's determined that he or she intended to defraud someone, injure him or her or facilitated such an act by someone else. Even if the fraud was not successful, the intent is considered a criminal act.

In Pennsylvania, basic forgery is a first degree misdemeanor. However, if the item forged is a legal documents such as a deed, will or contract, a commercial instrument (such as a check), money, securities or stamps, the person accused of forgery may be charged with a felony.

Although Pennsylvania's forgery statute refers to "writing," that includes any method of recording money, credit cards, trademarks, electronic signatures, stamps and "other symbols of value, right, privilege, or identification."

Pennsylvania takes forgery charges seriously. Even a misdemeanor conviction can land a person in prison for as long as five years and cost them up to $10,000. A felony conviction can put a person behind bars for as long as 10 years and cost them up to $25,000.

If you are charged with forgery, but had no intent to injure or defraud anyone or you were unaware that an item was forged, those are key defense strategies. Prosecutors have to prove that a person intentionally committed forgery or was aware that an item that he or she facilitated in forging was indeed a forgery.

If you are facing a forgery charge, it's essential to have sound legal guidance to protect your rights and. A Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney experienced in handling fraud cases can be an important asset.

Source: FindLaw, "Pennsylvania Forgery Laws," accessed Dec. 01, 2015

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