Criminal Possession Of A Forged Instrument

by ECL Writer
Criminal Possession Of A Forged Instrument Frequently Asked Questions

Criminal possession of a forged instrument is a serious offense that is taken seriously in the state of New York. NY Penal L § 170.25 defines criminal possession of a forged instrument as the act of knowingly possessing a forged instrument with the intent to defraud, deceive or injure another person. A forged instrument can be any document that has been altered, counterfeited, or falsely made, such as a check, bond, or deed. This offense is punishable by law and can result in severe consequences such as fines, imprisonment, or both. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will delve deeper into the specifics of NY Penal L § 170.25 and its implications for those who may be charged with this crime.

These offenses rank among the most serious ones brought up in the courts of New York City and among the most typical fraud and white-collar crimes in the state of New York. Within the boundaries of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the other boroughs of New York, persons who commit forgery and its different degrees of criminal possession of a forged instrument are frequently detained, prosecuted, and even charged. Alleged criminals receive the same treatment in Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland counties, which are nearby.

Don’t be misled. It is possible and frequently does result in time spent in jail or even state prison after being found guilty of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in any of its degrees and forms, including First Degree (New York Penal Law 170.30), Second Degree (New York Penal Law 170.25), and Third Degree (New York Penal Law 170.20). A New York criminal lawyer or forgery attorney knowledgeable in these fraud crimes may be able to help you reach a resolution that allows you to leave as undamaged as possible, or they may help you get a criminal record and go to jail.

What Is Criminal Possession Of A Forged Instrument?

Maybe all you wanted to do was buy some beer or slink into a pub. Hey, every guy your age has a phony identification. Possession of a fake ID couldn’t really be that severe, can it? Maybe you had a $20 bill that was a fake or counterfeit, something more “villainous”? What about a debit or credit card that has been changed or falsely embossed? Alternatively, you might have made a totally false certification of some kind, or perhaps you just misfiled out a housing or work application.

When does this fraudulent activity become criminal possession of a forged instrument in New York, even though falsifying such documents or other written instruments may be grounds for other offenses like forgery, falsifying business records, or offering a false instrument for filing?

Broadly speaking, if you have a full or amended written document that you know to be a fake and you do it with the intent to defraud or deceive someone, you are guilty of criminal possession of a forged instrument, regardless of whether you are charged under NY PL 170.20, 170.25 or 170.30. To be clear, the instrument need not be something valuable to the state or a bank in order to violate the New York State Criminal Code.

A charge of criminal possession of a forged instrument may result from knowing possession of seemingly unimportant items like a New York State driver’s license with an altered date of birth, a temporary registration for a vehicle with an expiration date penciled in that is not on the original or other altered documentation with the intent to defraud such as a fake invoice with an inflated price.

Your criminal attorney should be able to clarify that, as a fundamental offense, it is illegal to possess forged documents of any kind, whether they are used fraudulently to drive to work on a temporary registration or, in the case of organized criminals, to steal from financial institutions, partners in business, and law firms. Once more, you will be charged with one of these forged instrument offenses if you have documents that you are aware are phony and you do so with the intent to defraud.

Types Of Criminal Possession Of A Forged Instrument

Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

If you possess an instrument with the intent to either defraud or trick another person while knowing it is a fake, you are guilty of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree. Beyond a quick reading of the statute, it is essential to have a complete understanding of the Criminal Code 170.20 components. If you don’t, you can find yourself in an unfortunate circumstance. To that purpose, be aware that the law only requires a copy of the relevant document that has been marginally changed, updated, or deleted rather than one that is entirely false.

Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

NY Penal Code 170.25 follows the same fundamental legal principles as other degrees. In order to swindle or trick someone else, you must first possess a phony or false object that you are aware of. But, further Forged Instrument components are required to meet the criteria for criminal prosecution and potential indictment. Below is a short and broad list of the alleged tools or stuff that you are required to have:

  • A deed, will contract, commercial document, credit card, or any item that may create, transfer or terminate or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, or obligation. This category is extremely broad.
  • A public record or any type filed or required to be filed by law with a public office or with a public servant.
  • A written instrument officially issued or created by a public office or government agency. Fake ID and passport cases routinely fall into this category.
  • Certificates or other types of objects, such as a MetroCard (manipulation of the physical card is often enough for a felony), manufactured and designed for use as a symbol of value useable in place of money for the purchase of property or services.
  • A physician’s prescription or similar material is used for the taking or administering of drugs.

Although there are very specific types of instruments that “bump up” the crime to a felony, it is important to note that there are some generic terms, such as “affect a legal right,” that allow a Grand Jury to elevate charges.

First Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

The fundamental components of NY Penal Code 170.30 and the other degrees of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument are the same. You must first have an instrument in your possession that you are aware is a fake, whether it was made in error, changed, altered, etc. Second, you need to have it with the intention of misleading or tricking someone else. The type of thing or item is what sets the First Degree offense apart from the lower felonies and misdemeanors.

The fabricated object must therefore pretend to be money, stamps, securities, or any other valuable instrument issued by the government or a government agency, as opposed to a credit card, passport, will, deed, or whatever else that generates a legal right, for example. A fake issuance of stock, bonds, or other documents reflecting an interest in or claim against a corporation can also be made by contraband.

Penalties For Criminal Possession Of A Forged Instrument

Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

This offense, a class “A” misdemeanor, carries a maximum jail sentence of one year. Your one-year in prison sentence will be served on Rikers Island if you are found guilty in New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, etc. You would serve your sentence in the Westchester County Jail if the same crime were committed in a suburban county, such as in the cities of White Plains, Yonkers, Scarsdale, Yorktown, or New Rochelle in Westchester. Remember that even though you run the chance of going to jail, if this is your first offense, your lawyer could be able to get you a probationary sentence or one that requires community service. In the best-case scenario, your attorney can completely prevent a criminal conviction.

Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

Even a first-time offender faces a maximum penalty of seven years in jail for violating PL 170.25, a class “D” felony. Simply put, a conviction of this magnitude is not insignificant. A minimum of two to four years in prison would also be the sentence for a person who had a prior felony conviction within the previous 10 years. If your record is clean, a judge may sentence you to a shorter term of imprisonment, such as a year or thirty days, probation, community service, fines, or some other kind of restriction.

First Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

First Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument is a class “C” felony, thus even while prison may not be required upon conviction, the maximum term ranges from five to fifteen years. If you are found guilty of possessing fake stamps, fake money, or similar offenses, you will not be eligible for a sentence of one year or less in a municipal or county jail like Rikers Island, unlike the lower counts. A judge could impose a minimum sentence of one to three years in jail, but not a “bullet” sentence of one year or less. Other acceptable punishments include conditional discharge, probation, community service, and fines.

Keep in mind that, barring a violation or some other type of dismissal, you will have a permanent record regardless of the lesser misdemeanor to which you plead.

Factors That Affect The Penalties For Criminal Possession Of A Forged Instrument

Here are some factors that may affect the penalties for criminal possession of a forged instrument in New York:

  • The Type of Forged Instrument: The penalties for criminal possession of a forged instrument in New York can vary depending on the type of document or item that was forged. For example, possessing a forged check may carry a different penalty than possessing a forged driver’s license.
  • The Value of the Forged Instrument: In some cases, the penalties for criminal possession of a forged instrument may be based on the value of the item that was forged. For example, possessing a forged check for a large amount of money may result in a more severe penalty than possessing a forged check for a small amount.
  • The Intent of the Possessor: The penalties for criminal possession of a forged instrument in New York may also depend on the intent of the possessor. If it can be proven that the possessor intended to use the forged instrument to defraud someone or gain some other unlawful advantage, the penalty may be more severe.
  • Prior Criminal Record: A person’s prior criminal record may also be taken into consideration when determining the penalty for criminal possession of a forged instrument. If the person has a history of similar offenses or other criminal activity, the penalty may be more severe.
  • Cooperation with Law Enforcement: In some cases, a person who is charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument may be able to receive a lighter penalty if they cooperate with law enforcement and provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of others involved in the crime.

Defense Strategies For Criminal Possession Of A Forged Instrument

Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

PL 170.20 has several legal defenses, but none of them are “one size fits all.” The legality of your stop and/or search that resulted in the discovery of the contraband is one question to raise an issue to contest, to put it relatively generally. whether or whether the prosecution can prove that you were aware of the fake item and intended to use it to defraud someone else. Whether the false instrument is impersonating something that genuinely exists or nothing at all could be another line of attack. If the latter, how can it claim to be an original if a valid version of such an instrument does not exist? Never undervalue the strength and persuasiveness of mitigation, even if none of the solutions are possible.

Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

Possession of a fake instrument has a specific statutory defense, but it is more likely that your attorney will need to review the facts in order to determine the appropriate course of action. Depending on the specific allegations, there are a number of viable avenues to pursue, including questioning the NYPD or another law enforcement agency about how they located or secured the forgery, determining whether prosecutors can show you knew it was falsified or entirely fake, and how the district attorney plans to establish your intent.

First Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

Putting aside the “standard” defenses—if there are any—your attorney’s line of attack on the District Attorney’s case is likely to include examining how the NYPD or police officers recovered counterfeit goods, contesting the basis on which the prosecution intends to show that you had no knowledge of the item in question, arguing you had no intention of defrauding anyone, and even requesting the suppression of any statement or admission that is allegedly made.

In more detail, in relation to these factors, did you hand a fake $100 bill to the cashier if you had one? Was it scattered with a lot of other banknotes with the same value? Was it so blatantly false that no sane person could think you were trying to tick off someone else, or was it such a convincing copy that you were the victim and perhaps duped? When and from where did you obtain the funds, and have you made any acknowledgment, including an apology, that may suggest an admission?

Whatever your defense, finding the best plan to implement it successfully as early in the process as feasible is secondary to hiring the finest attorney to ensure your rights are best protected.

Differences Between Criminal Possession And Criminal Use Of A Forged Instrument

Criminal possession of a forged instrument and criminal use of a forged instrument are two separate criminal offenses that involve the possession and use of forged documents or instruments.

Criminal possession of a forged instrument occurs when someone possesses a document or instrument that they know has been forged with the intent to defraud or deceive. This could include possession of a fake ID or check.

Criminal use of a forged instrument, on the other hand, involves actually using a forged document or instrument to commit a crime. This could include using a fake ID to purchase alcohol or using a forged check to obtain money.

The key difference between the two offenses is that criminal possession of a forged instrument only requires the possession of the document or instrument, while criminal use of a forged instrument requires the actual use of the document or instrument to commit a crime. Additionally, the penalties for each offense may differ based on the specific circumstances of the case and the jurisdiction in which the offense was committed.

Common Scenarios Of Criminal Possession Of A Forged Instrument

Criminal possession of a forged instrument can occur in a variety of scenarios, some of which include:

  • Possession of a fake ID: This is one of the most common scenarios of criminal possession of a forged instrument. Someone may possess a fake ID with the intent to use it to purchase alcohol or gain entry into a club or bar.
  • Possession of a forged check: Someone may possess a forged check with the intent to cash it or deposit it into their bank account.
  • Possession of a forged prescription: Someone may possess a forged prescription with the intent to obtain medication or other controlled substances.
  • Possession of a forged passport or visa: Someone may possess a forged passport or visa with the intent to gain entry into a foreign country or obtain employment.
  • Possession of a forged document for financial gain: Someone may possess a forged document, such as a stock certificate or deed, with the intent to defraud someone or obtain financial gain.

It’s important to note that possession of a forged instrument does not necessarily mean that the person has used it to commit a crime. However, simply possessing a forged instrument with the intent to use it for fraudulent purposes is a criminal offense.

Talk To A Lawyer

You should be noted that criminal possession of a fake document in New York has harsh penalties that may have an impact on your life and future possibilities. It’s critical to comprehend the elements that can influence this crime’s punishments, such as the kind and worth of the forgery, the motive of the holder, and their criminal history.

It is crucial to contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you are accused of illegal possession of a fake document. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can assist you in comprehending the accusations made against you, assessing the evidence, and creating a solid defense plan to uphold your rights and lessen the severity of the punishments that may be imposed.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can also negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf, explore plea bargain options, or seek to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether. With the guidance and representation of a skilled attorney, you may be able to achieve a more favorable outcome in your case.

Therefore, if you or someone you know is facing criminal possession of a forged instrument charge in New York, it is crucial to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who can help protect your legal rights and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

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