The Texas government has determined there are twenty-two ways someone can commit fraud. Unfortunately for you, this increases your chances of accidentally or unknowingly committing a criminal offense! When you are charged with check forgery, understanding what penalties you face is essential, as this is a serious criminal charge that can impact the rest of your life. The following blog explores this in further detail and explains why you need the assistance of an experienced Houston white-collar crimes defense attorney.
What Is Check Forgery?
Check forgery, also called check fraud, occurs when someone allegedly uses paper or digital checks and attempts to pass them off as another party. For example, stealing a checkbook and writing checks to yourself is considered a forgery, as the owner of the checkbook did not write or authorize the checks.
However, this isn’t always as simple as pretending to be another person and writing checks. This also includes writing bad checks, creating counterfeit checks, or chemically altering checks.
What Happens if I’m Accused of This Crime?
Depending on the aggravating circumstances of the offense, it can either be considered a felony or a misdemeanor. The courts will consider the amount of money that was allegedly stolen. In Texas, if the damages are under $2,500, it will likely be deemed a misdemeanor, while any amount over is a felony.
In most instances, check forgery is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. This means you can expect to face up to one year in jail and a maximum of $4,000 in fines. A felony charge will increase the penalties, and anything over $2,500 but under $30,000 will be classified as a state jail felony. This charge includes a minimum of 180 days in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
What Should I Do if I’m Facing These Charges?
If you are facing check forgery charges, it is imperative to enlist the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. In some instances, we may be able to prove that it was a simple error. For example, if you work for an elderly couple, you may be able to provide evidence that they requested your help to write out a check.
Similarly, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had intentions to defraud an individual or business. Depending on the circumstances, it can be challenging to prove this, and your legal team may be able to cast reasonable doubt on their argument.
At the Gonzalez Law Group, our lawyers will examine the details of your case to help fight for the best possible outcome for your unique circumstances. Contact our legal team today to learn more about what we can do to assist you through this process.