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What Is Forgery, and How Is it Punished in Tennessee?

Posted on in White Collar Crimes

Union County forgery charges defense lawyerYou may have heard the term “forgery” before and associated it with a white collar crimeForgery is defined as the act of creating or altering a form of writing, therefore making it false and fraudulent. According to Tennessee law, it is illegal to forge a writing with the purpose of committing fraud against someone else. Whether an individual forged something intentionally or accidentally, this type of charge can carry significant penalties if a person is convicted, including jail time. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help those facing these serious charges build a strong defense to avoid a conviction.  

Understanding Actions that Can Lead to Forgery Charges

The state of Tennessee defines forging as creating, altering, completing, executing, or authenticating something in writing to make it look like it was:

  • Created or executed by a person who did not authorize such an action.

  • Produced at a false time or place, or in a false sequence.

  • A copy of an original that never actually existed.

In addition, doing any of the following in Tennessee can lead to forgery charges: 

  • Issuing, publishing, passing, or transferring a forged writing.

  • Possessing a forged writing to make it seem like a copy of the original.

  • Making false entries in record books.

It is important to note that under Tennessee law, "writing" can involve printed documents or any other types of recordings or seals, such as copyrights, trademarks, money, and more. One of the most common types of forgery includes falsely replicating another individual’s signature, such as on a check. Another example is forging a physician’s signature on a prescription with the intent to obtain medication. Art forgery may involve writing an artist’s name on a piece of artwork so it appears to be an original or genuine copy.

Penalties for Forgery in Tennessee 

In Tennessee, the punishments for forgery crimes are the same as those for theft offenses. This means that the penalties depend on the value of the property that was compromised. If the forged writing leads to a loss between $10,000 - $60,000, it is charged as Class C felony. If the loss is between $60,000 - $250,000, it is a Class B felony, which is an elevated charge. Under Tennessee law, forgery must be charged as at least a Class E felony, which results in standard penalties of one to two years in prison and up to $3,000 in fines. However, jail terms can be longer for offenders who have previous convictions on their records.

Contact a Knox County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Forgery is a serious crime in the United States, including the state of Tennessee. If you or someone you know is facing time behind bars because of alleged forgery, you need to contact a skilled Knoxville, TN criminal law attorney as soon as possible. Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney has years of experience handling complex criminal cases. He and his legal team will thoroughly review the details of your situation and fight for your rights throughout every step of your case. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 865-281-1000. 

Sources: 

https://www.tn.gov/finance/looking-for/fa-fraudinfo.html

https://www.tn.gov/aging/learn-about/elder-abuse/fraud.html

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