Hands holding credit card and using laptop. Online shopping

It’s hard for technology and lawmakers to keep up with the ways criminals commit white collar crimes. Fraudsters use credit cards, websites, checks, or whatever technology they can get their hands on in order to defraud a victim and take money or information.

We document and exchange our information in many different ways, so New York lawmakers have created legal terms that account for the many documents, technologies, and avenues in which our personal or financial information is recorded, however they may change over the years.

The term “criminal possession of a forged instrument” may seem vague, and it certainly covers a lot of ground, but it enables members of the criminal justice system to communicate about a case without diving into specifics.

What Exactly Does Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument Refer To?

Forgery is the act of creating or changing a document or instrument with the intention of committing fraud. An individual may be charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument if they are holding or using a type of document or instrument that meets the definition in the law, knows that the instruments have been forged, and has the intention to defraud.

Examples of forged instruments include:

  • Checks
  • Credit Cards
  • Promissory Notes
  • Driver’s License
  • Money orders
  • Titles
  • Securities
  • Deeds
  • Bonds
  • Currency
  • Computer Data

What Are the Consequences for Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument?

If you have been arrested for criminal possession of a forged instrument, you face felony charges. Specifically, this crime is a class D felony in New York.

Upon conviction, individuals who do not have a previous criminal record will face up to seven years in prison. Aggravating factors (like a previous criminal record) and other associated charges may mean that the convicted individual is sentenced to even more time behind bars.

This is why it is so important for people who are charged with this crime to fight back with a strong defense.

Defense Strategies for Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

If you are facing this charge, there are a few different parts to it that can be broken down and used individually to build your defense strategy. Let’s look at the three things that the official definition of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument says need to be present in order for someone to be convicted.

A person is guilty of criminal possession of a forged instrument when:

  • With knowledge that it is forged
  • and with intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another,
  • he utters or possesses any forged instrument.

The prosecution will have to prove all three of these things in order to put you behind bars.

For example, say you attempted to cash a bad check. Maybe you were given a fraudulent check after you sold someone a car or a television, but thought that the check was legitimate.

If the prosecution cannot prove that you knew the instrument was forged, you will not have to spend time behind bars. Forged instruments, including currency or deeds, can go through many hands before someone realizes that it is fake. In some cases, the person charged was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is just one way you may be able to defend against this charge. The appropriate defense strategy will depend on the specific facts of your case. For more information on how you can get a positive outcome, talk to a NY criminal lawyer.


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