Forgery may not be a violent offense, but it does have victims. In Massachusetts, forgery is aggressively prosecuted and is a very serious crime. If you’ve been charged with criminal forgery, it’s important that you understand the charges you’re facing, the potential penalties of a conviction, and the steps to take as soon as possible after being charged. To learn more about criminal forgery in MA, please reach out to our criminal defense lawyer immediately.
What Is Criminal Forgery?
There are numerous forgery crimes but, generally, forgery occurs when a person falsely makes, alters, uses or possesses with the intent to use certain documents with the intent to injure or defraud someone. Massachusetts criminal code contains 31 sections related to “forgery and crimes against the currency,” including sections related to false and forged records, using a forged railroad ticket or badge, counterfeit bills, and more.
In order to convict a person of forgery, there are certain elements that the prosecution must prove. These include:
- The defendant made, altered, used, or possessed with the intent to use a specified document with the intent to injure or defraud someone;
- The document involved had legal significance; and
- The document involved was false.
Penalties for Criminal Forgery in MA
The specific penalties for criminal forgery in Massachusetts will vary based on the documents involved. That being said, a conviction of criminal forgery could result in prison time, fines, or both. Note that in addition to criminal forgery, there may be other criminal acts associated with the act of forgery, such as embezzlement. As such, a person who is facing forgery charges could face multiple criminal charges and a range of penalties as such.
What to Do If You’ve Been Charged with Criminal Forgery
If you’ve been charged with criminal forgery in Massachusetts, it’s important that you take action immediately. Steps to take include:
- Exercise your right to remain silent. Under the Fifth Amendment of the United States, you do not have to testify against yourself. When you are arrested, you should remain polite and respectful, and should provide the arresting officer with your name. You should not answer any questions about the crime itself or your activities, or volunteer any information.
- Do not plead guilty during the arraignment. If you haven’t secured an attorney by the time of your arraignment—which is your first appearance before a judge—and therefore do not have a lawyer’s counsel, do not plead guilty.
- Hire an attorney. As soon as you are able to, hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts.
- Be smart when released. If you are released on bail, be smart about your choices. Do not engage in any criminal activities or associate with those engaging in criminal activities.
Call The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski Today
If you have questions about criminal forgery or are facing criminal charges for forgery, our experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski can help. Call us as soon as you are charged for the legal counsel you need and deserve. You can reach us online or by phone at (978) 397-0011.