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Grand Rapids Forgery Lawyer

The state of Michigan takes all allegations of forgery very seriously and this means punishments for a conviction can be severe. Forgery involves the creation, use, or sale of any document that is altered or false. The most severe allegations involve the falsification of public documents or bank instruments. However, even the alteration of items that are only for personal use is a felony-level offense.

A Grand Rapids forgery lawyer may be able to help if you were accused of forgery. A seasoned fraud lawyer could assist people with understanding the nature of the charges they are facing, the potential consequences for a conviction, and how to design and present a strong defense to defeat the prosecutor’s case.

What Actions Count as Forgery in Grand Rapids?

Forgery, regardless of the exact nature of the allegation, is generally a felony offense. This means a conviction can result in more than a year of imprisonment. However, depending upon the instrument alleged to be forged, there is a range of possible punishments.

The most serious forgery allegations involve the alteration or creation of false public documents. According to Michigan Compiled Law §750.248, it is a crime for any person to change or create a false version of a will, court document, bill of lading, or promissory note. A conviction for this offense can result in a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Allegations that a person forged a document related to the possession of real property is a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison. This can include mortgage loan paperwork, the deed to a house, or land survey documents.

The most common and seemingly innocuous type of forgery involves state-issued documents. The classic example is the use of a fake driver’s license to purchase alcohol but can also include forging a birth certificate or death certificate. According to Michigan Compiled Law §750.252, a conviction can result in up to seven years in prison. Therefore, even seemingly simple offenses such as using a fake ID to get into a bar can have serious consequences.

Possible Defenses Against Document Falsification

Many of Michigan’s forgery statutes provide a defense for those charged with forgery. The laws state that any public notary’s error does not constitute forgery. A notary’s error is a mistake made by a person during the creation or copying of a document.

For example, if new parents are completing the application for a birth certificate and accidentally misspell their child’s name, they are considered to have committed forgery because the document contains incorrect information. If they are given the documents by a public notary and the information is incorrect, they will usually not be guilty of forgery.

However, a key portion of any forgery prosecution is that the prosecutor needs to prove that the defendant intended to defraud another party. When a person makes an honest mistake, they can use this defense in court. A Grand Rapids forgery lawyer could help people who believe their arrest for forgery is the result of an honest mistake.

Contact a Grand Rapids Forgery Attorney

Courts in Grand Rapids take allegations of fraud extremely seriously. No matter the type of alleged fraud, the penalties can be severe and carry multiple years in prison. In addition, the conviction generally results in a criminal record that publicly classifies the person as a felon. This classification is likely to affect a person’s employment and living situation.

A Grand Rapids forgery lawyer could help people avoid or reduce these penalties. Attorneys work to help people to understand the exact nature of the charges they are facing, develop an effective defense, and present that defense in court. Contact a lawyer today to discuss your case.