New York takes forgery crimes very seriously, and those found guilty of possessing forged documents can face serious consequences. One of the charges that individuals may face in such situations is Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument. This charge is a felony offense in New York and can carry harsh penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record that can impact one’s future prospects. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will take a closer look at the Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in New York, including what it means, how it is prosecuted, and the potential consequences of a conviction. If you or someone you know is facing this charge, it’s important to understand the severity of the situation and seek out experienced legal counsel to mount a strong defense.
The “real danger” arises when the offense is a felony, even if an arrest for Criminal Possession of a Forged Document in New York is a crime punishable by imprisonment and a permanent criminal record. A White Collar defense lawyer familiar with the Penal Law can explain the distinction between a felony and a misdemeanor, but understanding how the elements of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law 170.25, differ from the lesser misdemeanor and pose a much greater risk to all aspects of your life is essential to mounting a successful defense against an indictment or other prosecution.
Elements Of 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.
It’s crucial to remember that there are some general words, like “affect a legal right,” that allow a Grand Jury to upgrade charges even while there are very specific types of instruments that “push up” the crime to a felony.
Penalties For 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.
Defending Against Second Degree Criminal Possession Charges
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.
Examples Of First Degree Criminal Possession Cases
You may be charged with a crime if you changed the legal language in a contract to sell a house or if you use a credit card that is entirely fake or a legitimate card in your name but the chip contains account information belonging to someone else.
Depending on how, or even if, you utilize an instrument that was purportedly made or altered fraudulently, prosecutors may be able to prosecute you with more than one offense. These offenses frequently occur together with other White Collar Crimes including Grand Larceny, Forgery, and Identity Theft.
No matter how many counts you may be charged with, two key elements of this charge should stand out. There is always a chance of going to jail or getting a criminal conviction that cannot be expunged. Do you have an answer to the accusations? If not, are you able to change your behavior? What are the immigration repercussions of your arrest and conviction, professional licensure, or even simple employment with NYC or another employer in the public or private sector, even in the best-case scenario?
Hiring A New York Lawyer For Second Degree Criminal Possession Cases
If you are facing second degree criminal possession charges in New York, it is highly recommended that you seek the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Here are some steps you can take to find and hire the right lawyer for your case:
- Research and gather information: Start by researching criminal defense lawyers who specialize in second degree criminal possession cases in New York. You can look for lawyers online, ask for referrals from friends and family, or contact the New York State Bar Association for a referral.
- Check their credentials: Once you have a list of potential lawyers, check their credentials to ensure they are qualified to handle your case. Look for their educational background, years of experience, and any awards or recognitions they have received.
- Schedule a consultation: Schedule a consultation with each lawyer on your list. This is your opportunity to discuss your case and ask any questions you may have. During the consultation, pay attention to how the lawyer communicates with you, their level of expertise, and whether they seem genuinely interested in helping you.
- Check their track record: Ask about the lawyer’s track record in handling second degree criminal possession cases. Find out about their success rate in securing acquittals or reducing charges for their clients.
- Discuss fees: Finally, discuss the lawyer’s fees and payment arrangements. Make sure you understand how much they charge and what services are included in the fee. Also, ask about any additional costs or expenses that may be involved.
In summary, hiring a New York lawyer for second degree criminal possession cases involves conducting research, checking credentials, scheduling a consultation, checking their track record, and discussing fees. By following these steps, you can find an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.