As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, the crime of forgery is discussed primarily in Florida State Statute 831.01 but also in 831.02.
According to s. 831.01, forgery has been committed when someone falsely makes, alters, forges or counterfeits a public record, or a certificate, return or attestation of any clerk or register of a court, public register, notary public, town clerk or any public officer, in relation to a matter wherein such certificate, return or attestation may be received as a legal proof; or a charter, deed, will, testament, bond, or writing obligatory, letter of attorney, policy of insurance, bill of lading, bill of exchange or promissory note, or an order, acquittance, or discharge for money or other property, or an acceptance of a bill of exchange or promissory note for the payment of money, or any receipt for money, goods or other property, or any passage ticket, pass or other evidence of transportation issued by a common carrier, with intent to injure or defraud any person.
As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, because a violation of s. 831.01 is considered a felony of the third degree, if you are charged with a violation of s. 831.01, you face up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines. Because all of our lawyers are former prosecutors, we know that in order to successfully prosecute a forgery case, the state must prove that the misleading actions taken by the defendant (as described above) were carried out with the intent to injure or defraud someone. Simply doing any of the things listed above is not a crime under s. 831.01, just as making a false statement is not the same thing as lying.
As noted previously, forgery is also dealt with in the Florida State Statutes in s. 831.02, which similarly states that whoever utters and publishes as true a false, forged or altered record, deed, instrument or other writing mentioned in s. 831.01 knowing the same to be false, altered, forged or counterfeited, with intent to injure or defraud any person, shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines.
Forgery is not a clear-cut offense; like we mentioned above, there must be sufficient criminal intent behind the act of forgery in order to legitimize charges and, of course, a conviction. We’ve spent decades handling these types of cases, first as lawyers representing the state, who prosecuted individuals for violating the forgery laws, and then (currently) as criminal defense lawyers representing and defending those who have been charged with forgery offenses outlined in s. 831.01 and 831.02. Because of our experience, we know what strategies work in defending these types of cases.
If you’ve been arrested for or charged with forgery in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, contact our criminal defense lawyers at Leifert & Leifert to schedule a free consultation. You can reach us by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363).