Maryland Forgery Defense Lawyer

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In Maryland, the authorities take fraud crimes extremely seriously. Fraud crimes demonstrate a quality of dishonesty in a person that often makes them dangerous to the public. Forgery is one of the more frequently charged crimes of fraud. If you are convicted of forgery, you can face not only harsh penalties from the justice system like long jail sentences, but also the ruin of your professional career. Many professional licensing agencies will revoke licenses and certifications if you are convicted of a fraud crime like forgery.

At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our skilled Maryland forgery defense lawyers know how to defend against these charges in court. We also have the experience to negotiate with the prosecutors to get the charges downgraded or dismissed altogether. We will guide you through every step of the process and work to reach the best possible resolution of your case. For a free, confidential consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.

Definition of the Crime of Forgery in Maryland

The basic definition of forgery is altering an official writing or creating a fake writing in such a way as to make it look real, and then using it for some sort of gain. You can also be charged with forgery for trying to pass off as authentic a document that you know to have been altered or falsely created, even if you did not personally alter or create the document. An example would be creating a fake title to a car that you actually stole and do not own.

There are 15 subsections of the section of the Maryland code dealing with forgery crimes. Those subsections describe the different types of forgery charges that the state can bring. Below, we give a brief description of the crimes covered by each of the subsections.

  • Creating counterfeits of private documents such as checks, bonds, and deeds
  • Using or issuing to others falsified private documents
  • Having a fake vehicle title in your possession
  • Creating counterfeit U.S. money
  • Having in your possession or giving to others counterfeit U.S. money
  • Creating fake public documents, such as court records
  • Altering a public record
  • Forging the signature of a court employee or judge
  • Creating a fake public seal
  • Creating a fake comptroller’s stamp
  • Creating a fake order for money or items
  • Creating a fake prescription
  • Creating a fake trademark
  • Creating counterfeit tokens, like coupons or event tickets
  • Using fake money or coins to get something of value out of a vending machine

What Happens When You Are Charged with Forgery

After you have been arrested for forgery, the first court proceeding you will face will be what is known as an arraignment. At your arraignment, the judge will read the forgery charges against you, advise you of your rights while facing these charges, and ask for you to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. An experienced Maryland forgery defense lawyer like those at Rice, Murtha & Psoras is almost certainly going to advise you to plead not guilty at this point while they request discovery and gather all the facts related to your case.

If you have never been previously convicted or a crime and you are charged with one of the lesser forgery offenses, your lawyer will likely try to get you into a pre-trial diversion program. If you complete this program successfully, your charges will be dismissed. If such a program is not a possibility, your lawyer will try to work out a plea deal with the prosecutor. If no deal can be reached or you are not satisfied with the deal offered, our attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras are ready to mount an aggressive defense at trial.

Penalties for Forgery in Maryland

The type of penalties you can face vary depending on the exact nature of your forgery charge.  Below we describe the type of penalties you can face for each of the code subsections listed above.

Creating or Issuing a Counterfeit Private Document

  • Felony
  • Jail up to 10 years
  • Fines up to $1000

Possessing a Counterfeit Private Document, Possessing a Counterfeit Motor Vehicle Title, Possessing or Issuing Counterfeit Money, or Making False Entries in a Public Record

  • Misdemeanor
  • Jail up to 3 years
  • Fines up to $1000

Creating Counterfeit Money

  • Felony
  • Jail up to 10 years
  • Fines up to $10,000

Counterfeiting Public Documents or an Order for Money or Goods

  • Felony
  • Minimum jail sentence of 2 years
  • Maximum jail sentence of 10 years

Counterfeiting a Public Seal or Comptroller’s Stamp

  • Misdemeanor
  • Minimum jail sentence of 2 years
  • Maximum jail sentence of 10 years

Counterfeiting the Signature of a Judge or a Court Official

  • Felony
  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • Fines up to $10,000

Counterfeiting Tokens or Issuing Counterfeit Tokens

  • Misdemeanor
  • Jail up to 1 year

Unlawful Operation of Vending Machines

  • Misdemeanor
  • Jail up to 3 months
  • Fines up to $500

As noted at the outset of this article, the ramifications of being convicted of forgery can go beyond the judicial punishments. Because it is a crime of fraud, you can lose any professional licenses you may have, and you may have difficulty finding work in the future with such a conviction on your criminal record.

Contact Our Maryland Forgery Defense Attorney Today for a Free Consultation

Forgery covers a broad series of criminal acts that involve using or producing fake documents. Many of these charges are felonies and can lead to long jail sentences. Even those that are misdemeanors are taken seriously by the courts and judges may penalize you harshly. It is vital that you have an experienced Maryland forgery defense lawyer like those on the team at Rice, Murtha & Psoras on your side to tell your story and work to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. For a free consultation, call our office today at (410) 694-7291.


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