27 Jul 23

Elements of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

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Last Updated on: 9th August 2023, 12:25 am

Across all the countries in the globe, cases on possession of forged instruments are always handled as a serious crime. The cases are always categorized into three forms of intentions including defrauding, injuring another person and deceiving. In either of the intentions, the case is always handled as a misdemeanor. Many people do confuse forgery and possession of a forged instrument to be one, but the two are always treated as separate crimes. In this article, we are going to major more on some of the Elements of criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument.

Various forms of criminal possession of forged Instruments

Possession of a forged instrument is usually categorized into 3 forms of degrees. In reference to possession of forged instrument the three common categories include;

First degree. Most cases under the possession of forged documents usually fall under this category and involve possession of forged money, government issued securities, bonds, corporate stocks, and stamps.

Second degree. This second degree of possession of forged documents involves possession of forged title deeds, contracts, wills, credit cards, commercial instruments, public records or any material that is required to be filed with a federal agency or an official government documents.

Third degree. This level involves having the possession of any forged written instrument.

Forms of possession of forged instruments

With Knowledge. According to the law on possession of forged instruments there must always be a prove of possessing the forged instrument with knowledge that it was forged. In this case, anyone who possesses a forged instrument unwittingly can never be regarded to have violated the law.

How charges on possession of the forged instrument are punished

Punishment on the possession of a forged instrument is always different depending on the degree of the crime charged against the offender. If found guilty and get convicted over the charges, the punishment in most of the countries is usually as explained below.

Punishment in the first degree. Charges on this degree are usually categorized as Class C. The possible charges if found guilty is usually imprisonment of at least five years but should never exceed ten years.

Punishment in the second degree. Individuals found guilty on this category are usually regarded as Class D felony, and the punishment on this level is usually imprisonment of at least one year but not more than five years.

Punishment in the third degree. Charges on this level are regarded as Class A misdemeanor, and the convicted individuals usually face possible imprisonment of at least three months but should never exceed a year.

Defense Strategies against criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

If you will at any time find yourself in the arms of the law for claims of possession of forged instruments, there are key things you need to know. To initiate with, the charges are always broken down into three forms to allow the convicted individual to build a defense strategy against their offense. In this case, to be proven guilty or face charges against these convictions, there are three things that the prosecutors must provide proof of. Among them include knowledge that the instrument was forged, prove that you hold the instrument with intent to defraud, injure another or deceive and thirdly a prove that you uttered the possession of a forged instrument.

If the prosecutor fails to give a proof of the three things behind bars, then they can never get any right to put you behind bars. This measure has been kept in place since forged instruments can easily go through the hands of many people before someone realizes that it was fake. In other cases, the person may have been charged for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. On the same note, the most appropriate defense strategy for your case will usually depend on the specific facts you provide for your case.


As we have seen from the review above, charges on possession of forged instruments can be a complicated one. In this case, it requires the help of a qualified and highly skilled attorney to help you work through the case. Defense attorneys specializing with these cases are usually aware of exactly what the prosecutors are up to, and therefore you can be sure of them creating a story that will prove your innocence from the charges.

Don’t deal with Elements of criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument alone. Speak to the Spodek Law Group today.

New York Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

If you are guilty of New York Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, it means in layman’s terms — having knowledge that the instrument in your possession is forged and being fraudulently used to deceive or defraud another person or business. Under the New York state statute, anyone who engages in this type of fraud, may face charges of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree. If you are convicted, you may face jail time and sizable fees. If you find yourself charged with this type of offense, you should seek the help of a skilled attorney immediately. New York state has hundreds of attorneys with decades of experience dealing with these issues. You should be aware of your rights. An attorney skilled in defending crimes of forgery will be of great help.

The key element of any type of forged instrument rides solely on the issue of “intent.” If prosecutors fail to establish an intent to defraud, you will likely not face conviction. A prosecutor will have a much better chance in prosecuting you if you do something like attempt to pass off a fake check. But there may be some cases where it’s not so cut and dry. Either way, you need to get a defense attorney to sort the situation out for you. Some people may not feel the need to get a handle on this as soon as possible. But under New York law, the consequences can prove more severe than you may know.

Under the New York law statutes, intent to defraud is established when you create an error or disadvantage against another person. Intent to defraud, established after the People V Briggin court decision, is pretty broad. The decision was further explained under New York’s People V Kase. In this case, the defendant (Kase) was found not to have committed fraud of any type for the purpose of gaining property or giving anything in return. The instrument, in fact, was filed to disrupt governmental operations. A highly-skilled attorney can look at your case to determine if any established case law or court cases my apply to your situation.

Again, if your case lacks an intent to defraud, there is no case. This applies to New York Law pursuant to criminal possession of a forged instrument first degree, second degree and third degree. Hire legal counsel as soon as possible to get clarity on your case. Your attorney will attack all angles of defense.

According to New York state law, possession of a forged instrument is broad and can include a variety of items. While the law states that a written item is a forged instrument, it can in fact, be related to other items. In fact, the specific definition of a written instrument under New York law specifies:

“..any instrument of article, including computer data or a computer program containing written or printed matter or the equivalent thereof, used for the purpose of reciting, embodying, conveying or recording information, or constituting a symbol of evidence or value, right, privilege or identification, which is capable of being used to the advantage or disadvantage of a person.”

The law determines what lines were crossed. For instance, if you are in possession of a credit card, ID card, passport, documents or anything of the like, and you alter it, that would constitute intent. It is pretty cut and dry. Knowingly defacing or altering the document shows that you were attempting to use the item in a fraudulent manner. However, there are times when just the possession of items will not constitute intent.

If you need to obtain a full understanding of what laws you may have broken, you should find a forgery attorney as quickly as possible. There is no way you will be able to navigate the New York legal system alone. You will need help to protect yourself and your rights. This type of case needs the help of an experienced lawyer. Don’t put yourself in jeopardy by enlisting the help of someone who has little to no experience. If you need help, contact a New York criminal defense lawyer today. The information and consultation is free. Make that call and protect your rights.