Did I commit check forgery if I returned the money back to the owners account? 46 Answers as of June 25, 2013

If I performed check forgery but did return the money back into the owner's account, does this help my case? I also did cash the money but did return it with in 2-3 days.

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Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
It is still a crime even though you made restitution by giving the money back. You did not have permission to forge the check and cash it.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/20/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
The law is mostly focused on the alleged act itself; not the subsequent remedial measures to correct the harm. Obviously, if there are no damages, that could, in a scenario where a person is being sentenced after a conviction from a plea or trial; remedial measures may limit their potential liability to the alleged victim.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/5/2011
D T Pham Associates, PLLC
D T Pham Associates, PLLC | Duncan T Pham
You can argue mitigating circumstances.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/25/2013
Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law
Donahue, Sowa & Magana Attorneys at Law | Glenn M. Sowa
The restitution will only help if and when it comes to the time of sentencing as a factor in mitigation. You could have been charged with forgery even if you didn't cash the check. Forgery is the making of a false document, not the taking of the money.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 9/12/2011
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
Yes, you did. You could also be charged with theft, even though the money was returned. In both instances the acts of forgery and theft were completed once you obtained the money. The fact that the money was subsequently returned does not "erase" the crime. The question becomes whether or not the case will be prosecuted and that is up th the prosecuting attorney.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/12/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Merely returning the proceeds of your crime of forgery to their rightful owner may help your case in its penalty phase but is not likely to absolve you of culpability for the commission of the crime itself if the prosecutor decides to prosecute it (in my opinion).
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 9/12/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    It may help your case but it is not a defense.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/12/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    Yes you did. Once you took the money then you were guilty.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/12/2011
    Hess & Schubert
    Hess & Schubert | Ted Hess
    1. Returning money after it has been stolen-whether by a taking, fraud, forgery, etc.-is not a defense. It is a matter which extenuates the offense, however.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/12/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    It can help your case and because of that they might be lenient. But it still was a crime. You need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/12/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Return of the money within a day or so does not excuse this offense. The offense was committed once the check was negotiated or cashed. You can still be charged and convicted.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/12/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The offense is complete when the forgery occurs. Paying restitution of the amount may mitigate potential consequences, but it does not erase the offense. You should consult with experienced defense counsel immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/12/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    It's still forgery even if you give the money back.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/25/2013
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    The crime is committed at the time the act occurs. If you forged the check, even though you later returned the money, then you committed the offense. Many times, however, the State will not prosecute cases in which there has been a single act and full restitution has been made - especially if the offender is a first offender (and the complainant agrees.) If you are contacted by anyone from the bank or law enforcement, do not talk to them and instead go seek the advice of counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/12/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    It sounds to me as if you committed forgery. The fact that you might have repayed the money later does not change that fact. If you are charged with a crime, you need to hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/12/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    It does not negate the offense but you did make restitution before being apprehended. That might lessen a plea offer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/12/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    The crime was the act of making the check and taking the money in the first place. Making restitution is not a defense to the charge, but is certainly mitigation, which should lessen the severity of the sentence. In all probability, charges will probably not be pressed, as you made good in repaying the victim.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    Well, it will certainly help you resolve the case favorably, but it does not negate the fact that you committed a forgery and possibly a theft. Much will depend on the amounts involved and the attitude of the person whose check was forged and money taken. You should seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber | Michael R. Garber
    It's still theft by forgery, but returning the money does help some.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Of course you committed a forgery. The fact that you returned the money immediately may make the DA decide not to prosecute and if he does the judge will certainly take that into consideration in sentencing you and in the restitution order.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Offices of Andrew Bouvier-Brown
    Law Offices of Andrew Bouvier-Brown | Andrew J. Bouvier-Brown
    You can still be charged with a criminal offense. You should absolutely not be discussing this matter with anyone except a criminal defense attorney. It does help that you returned the money, but not in the way that will prevent you from being charged with a crime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    The court may be more lenient in sentencing but your paying restitution is not a defense.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    You violated P.C. 470 right when you cashed the check. The fact that you paid the money back does not matter in the guilty or not guilty of the violation. Paying the money back will be looked upon as a mitigating factor and if convicted will reduce the punishment. You need an attorney that will fight for you on this case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    It definitely helps your case, but does not wash out the act of forgery. It does eliminate a prospect of charges for theft.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The crime was complete with you forged and cashed the check. The fact you returned the money may mitigate in your favor but will not absolutely absolve you of criminal responsibility.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Anderson Walsh PLLC
    Anderson Walsh PLLC | STACI LYNN ANDERSON
    Yes, you did commit forgery. As well as a few other possible felonies. Though that DOES, indeed, help your case that you made full restitution by returning the money to the account. The bank will have you on camera if there is an investigation. If the person whos check you cashed, or someone at the bank, decides to report your actions to the authorities, you will need a good criminal attorney to be there with you when you are questioned by law enforcement. You may think you are helping yourself by saying one thing or another, but I have actually had prosecutors say to me why would I give you a deal? I have an easy case. I have your clients confession. And law enforcement can deceive you to get you to make statements against yourself. You should consult with a good criminal defense attorney in your area to get full advice, based on all of the facts, if you think or even suspect that that this incident will be reported to the authorities.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/20/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Yes. The crime is in the intent, not the damages. Even if you returned it, it can still be a crime.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Just because you returned the money does not alleviate you of the possiblity of charges nor does it provide you a legal defense. However it would most likely be considered a mitigating or correcting factor which could lead to no charges or a reduced charge or sentence.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    The bad news is that the forgery crime was complete before you returned the money. Hopefully, the victim did not call the cops. If they did, hire an attorney in your area and try to work out a "civil compromise" which will dismiss the case. A lot depends on the amount of the check. The larger it was, the more the DA will want to prosecute.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
    Yes. Returning the stolen items does not nullify your criminal act, although it is certainly a mitigating factor. Once the criminal act has been perpetrated, subsequent conduct cannot be used to exonerate you from criminal responsibility, but can be used to limit any punishment that may be imposed.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    The forgery occurred when the check was signed falsely and when the check was passed. Any act to repay the money is merely a mitigating fact that can be considered by the prosecutor in the decision to charge and/or prosecute the crime.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Stealing is stealing. It is no defense if I took someone's property only to give it back two days later. This will certainly help with restitution since that has already been taken care of and you can use it as a positive statement perhaps during allocution of the sentencing phase. That is if you end up pleading guilty or are found guilty after a trial. Speak to an attorney and have him review your case file before agreeing to anything.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    It is a mitigating factor at sentencing, but it is not a legal defense against the charge. Just think, if someone commits bank robbery, but returns the money the next day, does that mean there was no bank robbery? Your best bet is to hire a lawyer to represent you before you incriminate yourself any further.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If you commit a crime of theft it is no defense that you returned the money, but you are not going to jail anyway so it will not help you. You have to make better decisions in life or you will ruin your reputation and job opportunities. Retain a good criminal attorney to try to get it reduced so that you will not have a criminal record for the rest of your life.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    The crime is committed when the act is completed. Once you took the money that did not belong to you the crime was committed, the fact you returned it so quickly shows remorse and should help reduce the punishment should you be prosecuted.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Technically yes, but these facts mitigate your crime and may allow for a reduced charge/sentence or even dismissal.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    If the crime was committed, i.e., you forged your name to a check and then cashed it, then you have committed a crime. Returning the money won't make it not a crime. You may be able to get the charged reduced or dismissed by the crime was already committed.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Sorry no "Do overs" or "Mulligans" in criminal law.Once you presented the check the crime was complete.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    Once the check is forged with crimin intent, the crime is complete. Returning the money is not a defense but may be a mitigating factor.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    It helps you at sentencing and restitution, but the crime was completed once you performed the act.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    The crime was committed. You hope that the victim will be satisfied and allow things to lie as they are.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Adam L. Bantner, P.A.
    Adam L. Bantner, P.A. | Adam L. Bantner, P.A.
    Yes you did. Forgery is committed upon forging the document. You also committed the crime of uttering a forgery when you cashed the check. The fact that you returned the money is good, but it does not change the fact that the crime was committed. To use an extreme example, you cannot unpull the trigger after you shoot someone by returning the bullet to the gun.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    It may help your case as far as restitution is concerned. Unlikely to convince the DA to drop charges altogether. A crime is considered to be committed, when it occurs. In this case, when the forgery was made and check cashed. The fact that any funds were later returned doesn't negate that. That said, do not post any more information on here and start speaking with a few criminal defense attorneys in your area to see what they can do. These public forums can be read by ANYONE, including District Attorneys. You shouldn't be posting details of your case on here, or anywhere else on the internet.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    The crime was likely committed when you took the funds. Returning it goes to "mitigation" of your sentence.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    If you signed someone else's name or used an account that was not yours then returning the money does not make the case go away. The fact that the money was returned is good in some ways. The victim and prosecutor are less likely to push for a conviction. On the other hand it may eliminate an argument that you are innocent because returning the money could look like an admission of guilt. You should be able to call the district attorney and find out if they are filing. Whatever you do you should not discus the case with anyone but a defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
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