27 Jul 23

First Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

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Last Updated on: 9th August 2023, 12:20 am

Known as the “counterfeit money” statute, first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument is one of the most serious forged instrument crimes in New York. A felony that can lead to fines and a lengthy prison sentence, it is also considered serious enough of a crime that in addition to being investigated by New York police detectives, the U.S. Secret Service will also likely be involved. Thus, if you find yourself facing severe consequences associated with New York Penal Code 170.30, it is best to hire a defense attorney who has experience handling these cases, such as a lawyer from the firm of Raiser and Kenniff.

Defining New York Penal Code 170.30
Since these cases involve numerous complexities, it is important to understand the details of New York Penal Code 170.30 in order to properly fight the charges against you. To begin with, it states you must possess an instrument you know is fake, which can include being falsely created, altered, or changed in some manner. Along with this, you must be in possession of this instrument with the intent to trick or deceive another person. However, it is important to note that to be charged with this crime, you must be in possession of an instrument of value issued by the U.S. government or a government agency, such as money, securities, or stamps. If you are found to be in possession of items such as credit cards, passports, deeds, or similar items that provide a legal right, you will likely face felony or misdemeanor charges that are not considered first-degree offenses.

Penalties and Punishments
Since this is considered a Class C felony, it is not mandatory the court sentence you to prison if convicted. However, since courts often take a dim view of defendants in these cases, if you are given a prison sentence, it will likely be for anywhere between five and 15 years. But as your defense attorney will realize, the judge will have the option to hand out a prison sentence of only one to three years, or perhaps even put aside a prison sentence and instead sentence you to probation, fines, community service, or a conditional discharge. However, unless your case is dismissed or a violation is found to have occurred regarding your case, you will have a permanent criminal record.

Defense Strategies
While at first it may seem to you as if there is no choice but to plead guilty to the charges, your defense attorney from Raiser and Kenniff will know there are numerous strategies that can be used in your defense. For example, in attacking the District Attorney’s case, your lawyer will challenge how police recovered the counterfeit items, which in some instances can result in unreasonable search and seizure. In other cases, your attorney may argue you had no knowledge the items in your possession were fake, which would mean you never had any intent to defraud anyone. And in some situations, your lawyer will move to have any statements or admissions made by you be inadmissible in court, which can be effective if the statements were made without your attorney being present, or if they were made under duress or before you were read your Miranda rights.

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Related Crimes and Offenses
In addition to the examples mentioned earlier, there are other crimes and offenses that also fall under this category. Two of the most common are Grand Larceny and criminal Possession of Stolen Property, which must involve counterfeit money being used to make the purchases, and Enterprise Corruption, which means law enforcement and the district attorney believe you are either part of or the leader of a criminal organization. In these cases, which are all felonies, penalties can range from up to four years in a city or county jail to 25 years or more in a state prison.

If you find yourself facing these charges, be prepared to have the district attorney fight hard for a conviction against you. Because of this, you will need the services of a skilled defense attorney from Raiser and Kenniff to ensure your legal rights are protected each step of the way. Otherwise, you may be facing many years in jail or prison.

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The most serious crime involving a forged instrument in the state of New York is criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree. If you are arrested for first degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, you can expect to be visited not only by police but by the Secret Service as well. As per the New York Penal Law 170.30, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree is classified as a class C felony, which means you could face a prison term of as long as 15 years, even if it is your first offense. In general, facing any forged instrument, forgery or fraud type of criminal charges in the state of New York requires that you seek the assistance of a skilled and experienced New York criminal attorney. However, if you face charges of first degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, they are the most serious of all and you should absolutely hire an attorney no matter what.

New York Penal Law 170.30 Defined

Criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree as per New York Penal Law 170.30 was founded on the same principles as the lower degree crimes of criminal possession of a forged instrument. To be charged with the crime, you must first actually have in your possession an instrument that you know was forged, as in changed, altered or falsely created, and you must possess the instrument with the intention of defrauding or deceiving another person. In general, the type of instrument in your possession is what distinguishes criminal possession in the first degree from lesser felonies and misdemeanor crimes. Your attorney can explain to you that the New York Penal Law 170.30 generally involves instruments that are believed to be money, stamps, securities or any type of valuable instrument that is normally issued by the government or by a government instrumentality. Another way that the crime falls under the category of criminal possession of a forged instrument is if the item was stock, bonds or something else that represents the interest in or claims against a corporation or other organization as property.

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What Crimes are Associated with criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree?

Although there is no guide that is predetermined as to how the allegations surrounding a criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree arrest, investigation or indictment proceed, there are two key aspects that criminal attorneys examine during such a case. The first is not as serious and typically involves a person who has counterfeit or fake money on his or her person. It’s not uncommon in such cases for there to be no proof of a larger scheme involved, depending on the specific amount of the fraudulent money that is uncovered. However, if the individual was trying to use or pass on the money, the charges can change. The second situation that can result in a prosecution involves larger schemes. Such cases can include wiretaps, search warrants and RICO type of cases. In such a scenario, the individual can be charged with a number of other felonies, such as:

• Forgery
• Grand larceny
criminal possession of stolen property
• Identity theft
• Falsifying business records
• Offering a false instrument for filing
• Enterprise corruption

What Should You Do if You are Investigated or Arrested for criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree?

Generally speaking, there is no one kind of defense for an allegation or arrest of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree. Each and every case is unique and requires thorough examination. Regardless of the circumstances, it is extremely important to hire an experienced criminal attorney who has a depth of knowledge of this particular kind of crime. It is the best way to avoid receiving a felony record and time in prison. It is of utmost importance to get familiar with the law and speak to a skilled New York criminal defense attorney who can take a good, hard look at your case and come up with potential defenses that can help your cause.

Possible Defenses for First Degree criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

There are certain defenses your attorney can use to your advantage in your case when you face criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree. These are the most common:

• You didn’t know the instrument was fake or fraud
• You unknowingly possessed one fraudulent bill among several legitimate bills

If you have been arrested in New York for first degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, it’s important to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately. Get in touch with a lawyer so that you can have the charges against you reduced or even dropped.