What would the sentence be for a first offense, forgery? 41 Answers as of June 28, 2013

I allegedly tried to cash a check at a bank that was given to a friend from his aunt. My so called friend changed the name on the check without my knowledge. The check was for $1200 and it is my first offense.

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Austin Hirschhorn, P.C.
Austin Hirschhorn, P.C. | Austin Hirschhorn
If your friend changed the name on the check and you tried to cash it, you might be charged with uttering and publishing but not forgery.

Based upon your recital of the facts you could very well have a defense to any criminal charges against you based upon your lack of knowledge about the alteration of the check but you would probably have to tell all about your "friend" and let him deal with the criminal charges that might be brought against him.

You don't indicate if there has been a criminal complaint filed against you and if one has been filed how far the proceedings have gone. You will need the services of a competent defense attorney and if you have not done so, you should hire one.

The amount of the check and the fact that you have no prior criminal record would be of great help to you in getting a favorable disposition of the charges against you.

The crime of forgery carries a maximum penalty of 14 years and requires that the perpetrator have knowledge of the forgery. It is not possible for me to speculate about a possible sentence without more information about the case.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/23/2012
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
No way of giving you a definitive answer as it is do dependent on the judge and the facts. I assume you must have an attorney so such questions should be directed to him or her.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/23/2012
Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
Most likely restitution and probation but maybe county time not more than 90 days.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/14/2012
Law Office of Richard Southard
Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
It varies tremendously based on which county the case is pending in. Some counties will reduce this to a misdemeanor some will seek a felony conviction. You need to speak to a local attorney in the county where the charge is pending.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/14/2012
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
This would either be a forgery first or a theft of property first.

Both are Class B felonies punishable by imprisonment of not less than 2, nor more than 20 years.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    It depends upon the actual severity level of the offense you are charged with. The usual result should be for probation.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Probably probation. But the issue is did you know the check was bad? If not you should fight the case since your friend was using you as a dupe.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    The factual situation stated does not constitute an act of forgery on your part and it it unclear what name change was made by the friend.

    That being said, forgery is usually filed as a class C felony in Mo. and can carry up to 7 years prison and a $5000 fine. If you have a clean record you will probably not get the maximum of the first offense but the full sentence range is always a possibility.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    Sounds like you are innocent of the crime. You may want to hire a handwriting expert. You should try and get the video from the bank. It is impossible to say what the sentence you receive could be. I would expect probation depending on the facts.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Frank M Mungo, Attorney at Law
    Frank M Mungo, Attorney at Law | Frank Mungo
    Based on your fact pattern, this sounds like Forgery in the Second Degree. The statute and definition follows: KRS 516.030 Forgery in the Second Degree (1) A person is guilty of forgery in the second degree when, with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, he falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument which is or purports to be or which is calculated to become or to represent when completed: (a) A deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment, commercial instrument, credit card or other instrument which does or may evidence, create, transfer, terminate or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obligation or status; or (b) A public record or an instrument filed or required or authorized by law to be filed in or with a public office or public employee; or (c) A written instrument officially issued or created by a public office, public employee or governmental agency. (2) Forgery in the second degree is a Class D felony. A Class D felony is punishable by a term of imprisonment of one to five years in prison. This type of felony cannot be expunged in the state of Kentucky. Note, you must have an intent to defraud or deceive another person to be convicted of this crime. If someone altered the check without your knowledge, this would be a defense.
    Answer Applies to: Kentucky
    Replied: 8/8/2012
    Herschel Bullen
    Herschel Bullen | Herschel Bullen
    Forgery is a third degree felony. Forgery Utah Code Ann. 76-6-501. The sentence could be anywhere from straight probation to the indeterminate term of zero to five years in prison. That is up to the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/14/2012
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to the judge or jury that you knowingly committed the offense (knew in short that you did not have proper authority to cash it. If you are found guilty or plead guilty, you can get probation or prison time (depending on your prior criminal record and other facts).
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    The type of forgery that you are alleging is known as uttering and publishing which is a felony and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years. The actual sentence that you will received from the court depends upon the sentencing guidelines, which are calculated taking into consideration the specific facts surrounding the convicted charge and your criminal history. Ultimately, the sentence is up to the judge, so it depends upon what jurisdiction you are in and what judge you pull.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A.
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A. | Donald L. Blaszka, Jr.
    In NH, forgery is a Class B Felony with a maximum penalty of 3 - 7 years at the NH State Prison and or a $4,000 fine. You could receive a suspended sentence, restitution, fines and other conditions of your sentence if you plead guilty or are found guilty after trial. I suggest that you speak with an experienced NH criminal defense attorney to review your case.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    4 years in prison.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Ellman and Ellman PC
    Ellman and Ellman PC | Kevin Ellmann
    Given that this is a Felony, you absolutely should consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney to make sure you do everything you can to avoid a permanent Felony conviction entering on your record (and harming you forever). Ideally, you want a resolution that leaves this case ultimately dismissed and eligible for Sealing the records associated with the case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You really need to speak with an attorney. On a first offense without a history you may be able to get the matter resolved without a convictions.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Michael S. Edwards, Attorney at Law, PLLC | Mike Edwards
    The maximum punishment for that offense is 0-5 years in prison. However, with the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney, your punishment can be much less than that, if you cannot beat the case altogether.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    What you really need to do is to sit down with an attorney and discuss your options. Without knowing more it would be difficult for you to receive proper advise this way.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    I cannot give you an absolute answer. The sentencing decision involves the exercise of discretion by the DA and the Judge. It could be a felony or a misdemeanor and there could be jail, but not necessarily. Your attorney can advocate for a dismissal after what is called an informal diversion, where the case is continued for a year and if you don't get into trouble, the charges are dismissed. Everyone, including you, would have to agree on a resolution.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    Why would you plead out to this? If you're not guilty then fight it all the way to trial.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    T.K. Byrne | Timothy K. Byrne
    Anywhere from per trial diversion to prison time.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Goncalves Law Office | Humberta Goncalves-Babbitt
    Under the general forgery and counterfeiting statute the penalty would be up to 10 years imprisonment or a fine of up to $1,000., or both.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    With the amount of the check at issue, this could be charged out as a felony. Why would you be trying to cash a check for a friend. Why couldn't that friend cash his/her own check? You could be looking a jail time. My advice, retain an attorney who can more thoroughly review the facts of your particular case and advise you accordingly.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    Forgery can be a third degree felony charge in Utah, which can carry a penalty of up to 5 years in prison depending on your criminal history. However, if you didn't know about the name change on the check, you may have a good case to defend. Hire a talented lawyer for the best outcome for your case.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Douglas M. Philpott, P.C. | Peter J. Philpott
    It depends on the county and judge. Most of the time it would be probation and restitution.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    It depends on the county. All counties have different parameters for offenses.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    First forgery, or first offense ever. First offense ever, you will probably get probation, and be ordered to repay the money. But let us get it straight, you did not "allegedly try" to cash the check. You cashed the check, y"
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    LEATHERS LAW FIRM
    LEATHERS LAW FIRM | A. Wade Leathers, Sr.
    Sounds like Forgery, 2nd degree, which is a class c felony. It carries a sentence of 1-10 yrs. in prison. A suspended sentence, probation and reimbursement of restitution could be likely if first offense.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    With no significant criminal record, a first felony conviction should result in probation. But, you may be able to get this reduced to a misdemeanor or deferred sentence misdemeanor. If you did not know the check was forged, and you trusted your friend's word, then you did not have the mental element required for the crime. You believed it was a valid check. This is a defense, and I have seen it win at trial the friend is the forger, not you provided you did not know and had no reason to know the check was forged.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    Sounds like you are innocent, so fight it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    As you describe it, the charge should not be forgery. A third degree felony has a potential 5 years in prison sentence. Get competent and aggressive criminal defense counsel immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    John P Yetter | John Yetter
    First offenses are usually subject to a wide variety of possible negotiations. Some counties have deferred prosecution programs for first felonies, which would require you to complete a program including restitution and possibly education programming, but does not include an actual sentence as the case gets dismissed in the end. Otherwise, there may be room for a reduction to a misdemeanor or some other solution which keeps the felony off your record. Worst case scenario is probably some form of probation.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    It sounds like you have a defense if you were not aware the check was altered. Therefore you need an attorney to defend you. Forgery, in this case of a check of over $1200, is a very serious charge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/13/2012
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