Forgery is a serious offense that involves the creation or alteration of legal documents, signatures, or other forms of written instruments with the intent to deceive or defraud others. In the state of Texas, forgery laws are in place to protect individuals and institutions from financial losses and to maintain the integrity of legal documents. Let’s delve into what constitutes forgery in Texas, examine notable examples, explore the penalties for this crime, and highlight the importance of seeking legal counsel from an experienced attorney like John R. Teakell at Teakell Law.
What Is Forgery?
Forgery occurs when someone intentionally alters, makes, completes, executes, or authenticates a writing with the intent to defraud or harm another person. This can include counterfeiting checks, altering medical records, forging signatures on legal documents, or creating fake identification cards. The act of forgery undermines the trust and reliability of legal instruments, potentially causing severe financial and legal repercussions for victims.
Examples of Forgery in Texas
Falsifying financial documents: A person alters bank statements or income records to secure a loan or obtain financial benefits fraudulently.
Counterfeiting checks: An individual creates counterfeit checks, often using stolen or forged signatures, with the aim of cashing them or making unauthorized purchases.
Tampering with legal documents: Forging signatures on contracts, wills, or property deeds with the intent to deceive or unlawfully transfer ownership is a serious offense.
Fabricating identification documents: Creating false identification cards, passports, or driver’s licenses to assume another person’s identity or to gain access to restricted areas.
Altered medical records: Modifying medical records, such as changing diagnosis information or adding false treatments, to defraud insurance companies or escape liability.
Penalties for Forgery
The penalties for forgery in Texas vary based on the severity and extent of the crime committed. The offense is typically categorized into three levels:
1. Class A Misdemeanor: In cases involving the forgery of a financial instrument worth less than $2,500, individuals may face up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
2. State Jail Felony: If the forged instrument is valued between $2,500 and $30,000, the offense is elevated to a state jail felony. Convicted individuals may face 180 days to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
3. Third-Degree Felony: Forgery of a financial instrument exceeding $30,000 in value is considered a third-degree felony, carrying a prison sentence of two to ten years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Seek Legal Assistance from Teakell Law
Navigating forgery charges in Texas requires the expertise of a skilled attorney who understands the complexities of criminal law. John R. Teakell, a renowned lawyer at Teakell Law, possesses extensive experience defending clients in forgery cases. With his in-depth knowledge of Texas forgery laws and commitment to providing personalized representation, Attorney Teakell can help build a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific situation.
If you or a loved one are facing forgery charges in Texas, do not hesitate to reach out to Teakell Law for a comprehensive legal consultation. Give us a call to schedule an appointment and secure the professional guidance you need to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.