Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument is a serious criminal offense in the state of New York. It is considered a felony and can result in significant penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines. This crime involves the possession of any document, such as checks, credit cards, or passports, that has been altered or counterfeited with the intent to defraud or deceive. The law is designed to protect individuals and businesses from financial fraud and identity theft. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will explore the legal definition of Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in New York and the potential consequences of being charged with this crime. We will also examine some common defense strategies that may be used to fight the charges and protect your legal rights.
The fundamental offense is defined by New York Penal Law 170.20, Criminal Possession of a Forged Document in the Third Degree, even if the criteria of criminal possession of a forgery change depending on the severity of the crime. If you are ultimately found guilty of this minor charge, you will have a permanent record regardless of whether your arrest is handled as a Desk Appearance Ticket or DAT, or you find yourself sitting in Brooklyn, Queens, or Manhattan Central Booking. Even though white-collar crimes are not the most serious, a proactive and planned defensive approach by your criminal attorney can mean the difference between repercussions that could change your life and those that might leave you without a mark once your case is through.
Elements of 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.
Penalties For Third Degree Criminal Possession Of A Forged Instrument
This offense, a class “A” misdemeanor, carries a maximum one-year prison sentence. You will serve your one-year sentence on Rikers Island if you are found guilty in New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, etc. If the same crime is committed in a suburban county, such as in the Westchester municipalities of White Plains, Yonkers, Scarsdale, Yorktown, or New Rochelle, you will spend your sentence at the Westchester County Jail. Though the possibility of incarceration looms, keep in mind that if you are a first-time offender, your lawyer might be able to obtain a probationary sentence or one that requires community service. In the ideal situation, your attorney will be able to completely prevent a criminal conviction.
Defending Against Third Degree Criminal Possession Charges
There are some legal defenses to PL 170.20, but none of them are “one size fits all.” Speaking somewhat generally, concerns and issues that should be brought up concern the legality of the stop and/or search that resulted in the discovery of the contraband. whether prosecutors can show that you had knowledge of the phony item and intended to use it to deceive someone else. The question of whether the false instrument is impersonating something that truly exists or not can be another angle of attack. If the latter, then how can it claim to be an original since no authentic version of such an instrument exists? Never undervalue the persuasiveness or power of mitigation, even if none of the other options are available.