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29 Nov 23

How Serious is a Federal Forgery Charge?

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Last Updated on: 15th December 2023, 06:51 pm

How Serious is a Federal Forgery Charge?

Let me tell you, federal forgery charges are no joke. I’ve seen people get 5, 10, even 15 years in prison for getting caught with fake documents. And the fines? Up to $250,000 in some cases. Not fun.
So what exactly makes these charges so serious? Well, there’s a few things:

Strict Laws with Harsh Penalties

There’s a whole bunch of laws around forgery that apply to federal documents and transactions with the government. Some of the main ones are:

  • 18 U.S.C. § 471 – Forgery of federal obligations or securities. That’s up to 10 years in prison.
  • 18 U.S.C. § 495 – Forging endorsements on federal checks or using fake documents to get money from the government. Also up to 10 years.
  • 18 U.S.C. § 510 – Messing with Treasury checks or bonds. Yep, up to 10 years again.

And the list goes on. You get the idea – the penalties are no joke. These laws don’t play around.

Federal Judges and Prosecutors Take Them Very Seriously

Not only are the laws strict, but federal judges and prosecutors tend to take forgery cases really seriously.
They see crimes like check fraud and document forgery as an attack on the government itself. So they come down hard on people charged with this stuff.
I’ve seen federal prosecutors push for years and years of prison time for relatively small-time forgery cases. And judges often go right along with the harsh sentences.
There’s just not a lot of sympathy there for people messing with federal stuff.

Very Hard to Get Charges Dismissed or Reduced

Because of how seriously everyone takes federal forgery crimes, it can be extremely difficult to get the charges dismissed or reduced.
Prosecutors tend to overcharge in these cases in my opinion. They stack multiple charges for the same basic crime.
And good luck trying to plead out to lower charges. Doesn’t happen often.
You also can’t expect much leniency at sentencing. The judges follow the sentencing guidelines pretty closely.
So if you’re found guilty, you’re almost certainly doing prison time. The only question is how much time you’ll get.

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What Are Some Defenses That Can Help?

Now I don’t wanna scare you too much. There definitely are defenses that a good lawyer can use to fight federal forgery charges. Some of the main ones are:

  • You didn’t actually commit the forgery yourself
  • You didn’t know the documents were forged
  • You were coerced or under duress when you committed the crime
  • The documents don’t meet the exact legal definition of “forgery” under the law
  • Violations of your rights in the investigation process

A skilled federal criminal defense lawyer will look closely at the details of your case to try to build one of these defenses.
If we can create enough reasonable doubt about your guilt, we may be able to either beat the charges completely at trial or at least negotiate a better plea deal with less prison time.
But I have to stress – federal forgery cases are still extremely tough to defend. The odds are stacked against you from the start. So fighting the charges aggressively with an experienced lawyer is critical.

Getting Charged With Federal Forgery? Don’t Panic, But Take it Very Seriously

Listen, getting hit with federal forgery charges is scary. As you can see, the penalties are severe and the system is kinda rigged against defendants.
So don’t stick your head in the sand! These cases require taking very aggressive action right from the start.
Get an expert federal criminal defense lawyer on your side immediately if you or a loved one is being investigated or charged. Fighting back hard gives you the best chance of avoiding years behind bars.
The stakes are high, but strong legal defenses do exist in many cases. So get the ball rolling now by contacting my firm for a free case evaluation. Don’t leave your fate in the government’s hands!
This article was written by a passionate federal criminal defense attorney who hates seeing good people get steamrolled by unfair charges. Reach out now to discuss your case!


Citations:

18 U.S.C. § 471

18 U.S.C. § 495

18 U.S.C. § 510