How Much Jail Time Do I Face for Forgery Charges in New York City?

How Much Jail Time Do I Face for Forgery Charges in New York City?

Dealing with forgery charges in New York City can be scary and overwhelming. You probably have a lot of questions about what penalties you may face if convicted. This article provides an overview of common forgery crimes and potential sentences in NYC, with advice from criminal defense lawyers.

What is Forgery Under New York Law?

Forgery involves falsely making, completing, or altering a written instrument with the intent to defraud or harm others ([1]). Common forgery charges in New York include:

  • Check Forgery: Passing bad checks or falsely signing another person’s name on a check. This includes payroll, insurance, and tax refund checks ([2]).
  • Prescription Forgery: Creating fake prescriptions or altering legitimate ones to obtain drugs illegally ([3]).
  • Document Forgery: Fabricating or falsifying documents like IDs, licenses, deeds, titles, contracts, invoices, etc ([4]).
  • Art Forgery: Selling counterfeit art or antiques while claiming they are authentic ([5]).

What Are the Penalties for Forgery in New York?

Forgery sentences in New York depend on the value of property involved and your criminal history. Possible penalties include ([6]):

  • Up to 4 years in prison if the forged instrument is valued at over $1,000.
  • Up to 7 years if previously convicted of forgery.
  • Up to 15 years if convicted of forgery involving over $100,000.

Lower-level forgery involving less than $1,000 may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. Potential sentences include:

  • Up to 1 year in jail.
  • Probation up to 5 years.
  • Fines up to $1,000 per charge ([7]).

What Factors Determine My Forgery Sentence in NYC?

Judges consider many factors when imposing sentences for NYC forgery convictions. These include ([8]):

Your Criminal History: Repeat offenders face harsher sentences. First-time convictions may get probation if values are low.

Type of Document Forged: Penalties are higher for government IDs and financial instruments.

Value of Property: Higher values or losses lead to longer sentences.

Victim Impact: Judges consider if victims suffered major losses or harm.

Intent and Motive: Penalties may be mitigated if acts were not for financial gain.

Addiction Issues: Treatment may substitute jail time if related to substance abuse.

Taking Responsibility: Admitting guilt and cooperating typically earns lighter punishment.

What Should I Do If Facing Forgery Charges in NYC?

If questioned or arrested for forgery crimes in New York City, experts strongly advise:

  • Remain silent and avoid explaining anything to police without your lawyer ([9]).
  • Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights in court ([10]). Public defenders handle many cases and have less time to focus on yours.
  • Seek treatment if substance abuse contributed to decisions to commit fraud. Showing rehabilitation can help reduce sentences.
  • Gather evidence like bank statements, receipts, emails, texts, or letters that may support your innocence or otherwise mitigate penalties.

Though forgery charges should be taken very seriously, skilled NYC defense lawyers can often negotiate reduced charges or punishments on your behalf, particularly for first-time or non-violent offenders. With adequate legal representation and a proactive approach, many defendants avoid extensive jail time and can rebuild their lives after serving their sentences.

Finding the Best Forgery Lawyer in New York City

All New Yorkers have the right to experienced legal counsel when facing criminal prosecution. Though any attorney can handle forgery cases, those who specialize in fraud and financial crimes often achieve better outcomes for clients.

When researching defense lawyers in New York City, look for these important qualifications ([11]):

  • Focus on criminal law with extensive trial experience defending white-collar and fraud charges.
  • Strong record of favorable verdicts including dismissed charges, not guilty findings, reduced sentences, etc.
  • Familiarity with local courts, judges, and prosecutors which facilitates better plea bargains.
  • Resources to conduct independent investigations to contest police and plaintiff evidence.
  • Affordable legal fees with flexible payment plans for defendants facing financial hardship.
  • Good client communication skills and transparency about case strategy and prospects.

Don’t leave your freedom in the hands of an inexperienced or indifferent lawyer. The best NYC defense attorneys will aggressively defend your rights at every step, maximizing the likelihood of charges being reduced or dropped entirely.

What’s Next If You or a Loved One Face Forgery Charges?

Dealing with prosecutors and navigating New York criminal courts is challenging, but an experienced forgery lawyer can guide you through the complex legal process while giving your case the attention it deserves.

If you or someone you love have been arrested or charged with financial crimes like fraud or counterfeiting in the NYC area, please contact our firm for a free consultation with a seasoned defense attorney. Call 555-123-4567 or complete our online intake form and let us help you put these charges behind you so you can move forward with your life.