Counterfeiting is a serious crime that can lead to a lengthy jail sentence, extremely high fine, and a permanent criminal record. The laws governing counterfeit currency and other items and instruments come from multiple sources and can be quite complex.
Because offenses involving counterfeit currency can have a devastating effect on the local or even national economy, they are treated very harshly by the government.
If you have been accused of counterfeiting, you need advice from an experienced Ft. Lauderdale counterfeiting lawyer who knows the details of the applicable statutes, how they are interpreted, how they fit in with the facts of the case, and how to build the best possible defense considering the circumstances.
Because counterfeit money and goods are often circulated in interstate and international commerce, federal law usually governs cases involving counterfeiting offenses.
Counterfeiting is the reproduction of money, documents, or goods. It often refers to creating copies of US currency, but the term can also apply to personal or business checks, securities, credit cards and debit cards, promissory notes, and even postage stamps.
Counterfeiting in Broward County can also mean unauthorized reproduction of clothing and other consumer goods that are made to look like expensive, designer products. These products are commonly referred to as “knockoffs.”
The most serious punishments are imposed on the unauthorized reproduction of money. Although counterfeiting currency is an ancient crime, improvements in technology have made it easier than ever to create counterfeit bills, coins, and other financial instruments, Congress has responded by increasing the already stiff penalties for this crime.
Congress raised the maximum prison sentence for currency counterfeiting from 15 to 20 years. The maximum fine used to be $5,000, but now the courts have discretion to impose much larger fines, up to $250,000 or more depending on the financial effects on other parties. The law also prohibits possessing tools (including modern digital technology) used in counterfeiting, meaning a Ft Lauderdale counterfeiting attorney may be necessary even if the good was never actually produced.
Although many counterfeiting cases are federal, states can also prosecute for these offenses, often under more general laws against forgery, fraud or theft.
Although it is illegal to pass, sell, import or even possess counterfeit currency, it is only a violation of U.S. counterfeit statutes if it is proven that the currency was held, used, or attempted to be used with the intent to defraud. Thus, proving fraudulent intent becomes a key element of the case.
Intent to defraud not a required element in cases where an individual has been charged with possessing certain items used to make counterfeit instruments.
Since fraudulent intent is required for a conviction in many instances, various arguments showing lack of intent are often successfully raised by Ft Lauderdale counterfeiting lawyers in counterfeit cases.
For example, it might be argued that allegedly counterfeit bills were so obviously fake that they were created as a joke and there was never an intent to pass them as genuine.
If you are facing criminal charges of any kind—especially ones that can carry severe penalties, such as counterfeiting—you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to seek out advice from a counterfeiting lawyer in Broward County who has worked in the criminal courts for years, and who know how to work aggressively to defend your rights.
An experienced Fort Lauderdale counterfeiting lawyer at Leifert & Leifert will know how the laws apply to the facts of your case, how to raise appropriate defenses, and can guide you through the process to work toward the best possible resolution.