In Georgia, forgery can either be a felony or a misdemeanor, and is classified into four degrees: first, second, third, and fourth. Third and fourth degree forgery charges involve checks, whereas first and second degree forgery charges involve other documents and instruments.
Forgery in the first degree occurs when a person knowingly creates, changes, or possesses documents under a false or fictitious identity, or represents a document made by another person, at another time, under different circumstances and intentionally uses those documents or document to either defraud another person or put her or himself in a better position. Second degree forgery only involves the creating, altering, or possessing the documents with the intent to defraud; a person doesn’t have to carry out the act of using the documents or instruments to be found guilty. The definition of instruments is broad, but can include identification, money (i.e. counterfeit bills), and badges.
Forgery in the third degree involves checks greater than $1,500 and occurs when a person creates, alters, possesses, and attempts to pass off under another person’s authority or even a fictitious a person or authority as legitimate with the intent to defraud another. Forgery in the fourth degree involves the same elements, except deals with checks less than $1,500 and is considered a misdemeanor.
The Statutory Punishment
First degree Forgery is a felony and, upon conviction, an individual may face up to 15 years prison time.
Second degree Forgery is a felony and carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.
Third degree Forgery is a felony and carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.
Fourth degree Forgery is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000, up to 12 months imprisonment, or both.
Forgery in Georgia is a complex law that, in the past few years, has grown even more complicated. The State has recently expanded its categorization of forgery by spreading out the type of punishment that offenders may receive. Forgery is a crime that requires an element of knowledge and intent. In court, conviction-happy prosecutors can easily turn a situation of misunderstanding and no ill intent into a “W” in their win column, possibly leaving an individual with a permanent stain on her or his record.
Don’t leave the fate of having a criminal record or your freedom up to chance. It is the prosecutor’s job to win convictions; in court, their win is your loss. You need a competent lawyer that will fearlessly and aggressively fight for your best interests. You need to hire ROY YUNKER LAW.