How much legal trouble am I facing for forging a check of $20? 49 Answers as of July 18, 2011

I need to know how much the charge is and how much jail time.

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Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
It's not so much the amount, but the fact that you forged the check. I believe it's a "D" Felony (without researching it yet) which carries a maximum of up to 7 years on jail. That's the maximum, butif this is a first offense, then it would not likelyinvolve any jail ifeverything falls right in your case. You should hire a good, experienced attorney to handle it for you. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/18/2011
Bloom Legal, LLC
Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
If you have reason to believe that you are being charged with forgery, the potential penalties upon conviction in Louisiana are: -Fines up to $5,000 -Jail time up to 10 years Because of the small amount in question, the charges against you may not be as serious but this is not guaranteed and this matter certainly should not be treated inconsequentially.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 7/15/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
This response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. However you should hire an attorney to try to obtain an ACOD- adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal- which means the case is adjourned for 6 months and if you do not get in trouble again the case will be dismissed.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/15/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
It appears that you could be charged with either forgery 3d or criminal possession of a forged instrument 3d. Both of these offesnes would be a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail and a fine not to exceed $6,000.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 7/15/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
If you do not have a prior criminal record you will probably be offered a misdemeanor plea and be placed on probation. You committed a serious crime for $20 and that shows a total lack of judgment on your part. You must consider your reputation and future employment opportunities before you do something that is illegal and foolish as you are bound to get caught. You must make better decisions in the future.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/15/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    In Colorado, class 5 felony; penalty could be probation, prison from 1-3 years, $1,000 to $100,000 fine, mandatory parole 2 years.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Misdemeanor.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    In WA standard ranges (of jail or prison time) are based on the seriousness level of the crime charged and the criminal history of the defendant. Forgery is a Class C Level I offense. With no prior felony criminal history the sentencing range is 0 - 60 days and as much as 29 months with significant history.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    The crime of forgery can be filed as a felony or misdemeanor. If filed as a misdemeanor you are looking at a possible sentence of up to one year in county jail. It is not likely the DA would file a 20.00 forged check case as a felony but if they did you are facing the possibility of a state prison sentence. However, your jail sentence will depend in great part upon your prior history including your prior criminal record, if any.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Forgery is a Felony crime no matter how much was involved. Felony crimes are sentenced based upon the person's personal criminal history combined with the specific charge of conviction. This need to be individually determined.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    You are in a lot of legal trouble because forging a check is a felony.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Forgery in the first degree (possessing and passing a forged document - for example, a check) 1 to 10 years. Forgery second degree (possessing but not passing the document) 1 to 5 years.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Aaronson Law Firm
    Aaronson Law Firm | Michael Aaronson
    How much legal trouble am I facing for forging a check of $20? I believe theft by check is a class B misdemeanor up to one year in jail. Theft of anything less $500 is usually a class "C" misdemeanor which is only punishable by fine, no jail time. I believe when the theft is committed by passing a check it kicks it up to a class B misdemeanor.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    > We are criminal lawyers in Augusta, Georgia. We recommend you retain a criminal defense attorney ASAP concerning your rights and options in the forgery case, for which the maximum potnetial statutory sentence could be up to ten years. Of course, no one can predict the ultimate outcome, but you should have legal representation. Good luck! >
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Forgery and uttering and publishing are both 14 year felonies.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    It's a felony that can bring 16 mos-3 years prison, but it would probably be resolved as a misdemeanor, with aggressive representation, with a fine and probation, depending, of course, on what your record is.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    The punishment would depend on your record, your circumstances in life, the details of the case, etc. It does not sound like a very serious offense. There is a chance that jail time will not be required.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Uttering and Publishing checks is normally a felony. It carries `14 years
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Chastaine Law Office
    The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
    Hard to say. It will depends alot on your criminal history.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    It is a state jail felony for which you could receive from 6 months to 2 years in a state jail facility (with no parole.) If you are eligible, you could also receive probation.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You are facing 1 to 10 years in prison for a 1st degree forgery, irrespective of the amount on the check. What the sentence will entail isa function of fyour prior history, age and other factors.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You may face misdemeanor charges with a maximum penalty of one in jail. If you have a clean record then you may do much better.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    It depends on what you are charged with. If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, you should consult directly with an attorney and consult with them privately. Most attorneys provide free initial consultations. If you are ultimately arraigned, the arraigning judge will advise you of your maximum possible penalties and should receive a copy of that information with your police report. In Michigan, speaking generally, crimes involving checks range from uttering & publishing, a fourteen felony, to a "non-sufficient funds," a misdemeanor. It all depends on a person's particular circumstances. Further, a person's prior criminal history may have a substantial impact on any possible jail time for a particular charge. For example, if a person has prior felony convictions and if they are charged with a felony, they may be charged as a "habitual offender," which could substantially increase the possible penalties.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Not terribly serious; probably a misdemeanor - punishable by a maximum of 90 days and a $1,000.00 fine; however, how serious it is depends upon whether or not you have a criminal record and whether you have done this before.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    You will not be going to jail for a bad check with that small of an amount. Even if you have a substantial criminal record the chances of jail are unlikely, but still technically possible. That amount would be a misdemeanor and probation would be the most likely sentence plus restitution of course. You may also be eligible for a diversion program which could keep the conviction off your record upon successful completion. Speak with an experienced criminal attorney to have him review your case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    Forgery is a 'wobbler'. That means it is punishable as either a misdemeanor, up to 1 years in jail or as a felony, with 16 months, 2 or 3 years of punishment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Law Offices of Dustan Neyland
    The Law Offices of Dustan Neyland | Dustan Neyland
    You need to talk to an attorney in your area, but a check forgery in any amount could be prosecuted as high as a 3rd degree felony with a range of punishment of probation or 2 - 10 years in prison.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    The charge of Forgery is the same whether the forgery involves a dollar or a million dollars. In the State of Washington, felony crimes are designated with the letters C, B and A with C felonies being the least serious. A felony is typically a crime that is more serious than a misdemeanor and can result in more than a year in jail or prison. Forgery in Washington is a class C felony. Sentencing of people convicted of felonies in Washington is covered by what is known as a Determinate Sentencing System. In other words, the judge is required to impose a sentence within a specific range of months depending on the defendant's criminal history and the seriousness level of the crime. How it works is the court takes the defendant's criminal felony history and derives an "criminal history score." Then the court considers the current crime along with any other current felonies and comes up with a point score. The scores are added together to produce an "offender score." Next, the court consults the Adult Felony Sentencing Guidelines book to obtain a "Standard Range" of sentencing for the calculated offender score. That sentencing range is stated in terms of so many months to so many months. For example, for most C felonies with no prior felony convictions have a sentencing range of 0 to 12 months. There are also sentencing options. If you have no felony convictions, the court may use the "First-time Offender Waiver." That would result in a standard range of 0 to 90 days in the local county jail. There are also other sentencing options. To figure out time you are facing, I would need to know your criminal history. However, you can go on line to the Washington Sentencing Guidelines Commission and download the scoring sheet for Forgery and calculate the Standard Range yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Grundy Law Firm, PLLC
    The Grundy Law Firm, PLLC | Elvin Grundy
    Whenever a person falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument - REGARDLESS OF VALUE - a forgery has occurred. (Even forging a check for $1 can expose you to forgery and identify theft charges. (See A.R.S. 13-2002-13-2008). Forgery is a very serious crime in Arizona and classified as a class 4 felony exposing you to potentially 4.5 years of prison time. Immediately consult an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney, as these types of crimes are vigorously prosecuted in Arizona.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Forgery (Penal Code section 470) is a "wobbler" and can be a felony (maximum 3 years state prison) or a misdemeanor (maximum of 1 year in county jail). There are other potential charges as well - passing a fictitious document (another felony), burglary (for entering a building to pass the check), etc. It's a low dollar amount, but the conduct could put you in some hot water. Time to find a good local criminal defense attorney to sit down and discuss the facts of the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Youll learn the actual charge[s] filed against you when you appear for arraignment at your first court hearing. The charges determine how much time would be imposed if convicted. When charged with a felony [unlikely in your case], you potentially face one or more years in prison if convicted; on a misdemeanor, you potentially face up to 6-12 months in jail. Multiple counts and charges multiply your problems. If you have priors and strikes, they are penalty enhancements under the 3 Strikes rules. If this constitutes a probation or parole violation, factor those new and old charge[s] in as well. If this is a simple misdemeanor, with no prior convictions or arrests, effective plea-bargaining, using whatever legal defenses, facts and sympathies there may be, could possibly keep you out of jail, or at least dramatically reduce it, depending upon all the facts. Not exactly a do it yourself project in court for someone who does not know how to effectively represent himself against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion program, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Those answers depend somewhat on your past criminal history. You could be facing Larceny by Check, Larceny Under $250, Fraud, Uttering, etc. There are many different crimes that you can be charged with and then, depending on the facts of the case and your prior criminal history, you could be facing more or less harsh proposals from the district attorney. Although it may seem like a minor offense to you, and unless you have a lengthy criminal history or have some egregious accompanying issues, it is very unlikely that you would be sentenced to jail, it is still a crime that could cause you all sorts of problems over the span of your life if you are found guilty of it. Speak with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of William S. Smith
    Law Office of William S. Smith | William S. Smith
    Under Massachusetts law, a conviction for forgery carries with it up to 10 years in state prison or up to 2 years in jail. The actual amount you will receive if convicted will depend on whether you are convicted after plea or after trial, your prior criminal record, if any, your background and other circumstances. This is a very serious matter for which you should retain the services of an experienced, skilled defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You could be facing a forgery charge for this offense. they may just charge with you with the misdemeanor of theft by deception or deceptive practices, but the prosecution has the right to charge you with felony forgery. Punishment depends on your criminal background. I cannot tell you what an attorney would charge you because every lawyer has a different price, and because I do not know what charge you are being charged with.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A theft by forgery where the amount is under $500 is a misdemeanor. It is still serious and may be punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. With the assistance of an attorney, however, a stay of prosecution may be possible to assist you in avoiding a very serious conviction
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Grant & Grant
    Grant & Grant | Richard L. Grant, Esq.
    Generally speaking, Forgery is punishable for 1 year in county jail or state prison. It is recommended that you immediately consult with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney without any further delay.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Rodney Nosratabadi
    Law Office of Rodney Nosratabadi | Rodney Nosratabadi
    You could face anywhere from the maximum of one year to three years in jail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    You would likely face a misdemeanor charge for forgery. Some district attorney's offices offer diversion program where you can take a class and pay a fine and restitution and get the case dismissed. If not and the case can't be won, then a typical offer for someone without a record involves a plea to misdemeanor with 3 years of informal probation, a fine of several hundred dollars, and restitution, if any is owed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of James Christie, LLC
    Law Office of James Christie, LLC | James Christie
    Under Alaska law, the amount of the forged instrument is of no significance to the forgery statutes. Forging a check likely qualifies as Forgery in the second degree, AS 11.46.505. Forgery in the second is a class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a $50,000 fine. You will likely also face a misdemeanor theft charge for the theft of $20 from someone's bank account.
    Answer Applies to: Alaska
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    Any forgery can be charged as a felony. A felony is the most serious charge in NH. It is impossible to tell what will happen without your history, details of event. Sadly, every court and judge varies, so ultimately what happens may be based on the prosecutor, judge and defense lawyer. I advise you to hire the best local defense lawyer available. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    Assuming you have no criminal record, you are more than likely not going to jail. Even with a record, the infraction is small. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you do not have the funds, go to your local public defender's office to see if you qualify for their services.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Christopher Lee
    The bad check law of California recognizes the act of knowingly writing a bad check as a punishable crime. A bad check is written when a person ("drawer") writes a check to a person or business ("payee") knowing that there are insufficient funds to cover the amount of the check, or if the drawer stops payment after writing the check. To be convicted, the prosecution must prove that at the time you wrote the check, either acting on behalf of yourself or as an agent to another, there was a lack of sufficient funds to cover full payment of the check. The prosecution must also show that you were aware of the insufficient funds at the time and that you acted with the intent to defraud. As defined under California Penal Code Section 476a, writing a check while knowing that funds are insufficient can be charged as a misdemeanor offense that can result in sentence of up to one year in county jail. In some circumstances this offense can also be filed as a felony with a jail sentence of up to three years in state prison. This crime is also penalized civilly under California Civil Code Section 1719, which imposes the obligation to not only pay the face amount on the check, but also a statutory service charge or a statutory penalty charge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
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