Will I be in trouble for using a fake twenty dollar bill? 50 Answers as of June 26, 2013

I received it from change this morning and tried using it at a fast food place. They said it was fake and have to call the police and turn it in but didnt tell me to do anything so I left. Am I in trouble or what do I need to do?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
My first advice would be to obtain an attorney to assist you with this matter. This response does not contain specific legal advice. If you need specific legal advice for your own circumstances, I recommend consulting with an attorney experienced with these types of matters. Most attorneys provide free initial consultations. Simply because a person is charged does that mean that they will be found guilty. Anyone charged is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutor must prove any allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. Allegedly using fake money could result in very serious federal felony charges and those types of issues raise the ire of a litany of both federal and state agencies.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/6/2011
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
Counterfeit money is a strict liability crime. That means whether you know you had it or not, it's still a crime to be in possession of and use it. However, if you can convince the prosecutors that you honestly just got it and didn't know it was fake, they probably won't charge you. However, I would suggest consulting with a criminal attorney that has experience with counterfeit cases just to get his opinion and be on the safe side.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq.
Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq. | John J. Connors, Esq.
Knowingly trying to pass off phony money is illegal. If you had no knowledge, then that is a defense. Chances are that nothing will come of it, but if you receive any information that alerts you to the fact that you may be charged, immediately see a competent criminal defense attorney prior to saying anything to anybody.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/23/2011
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
You can only be charge with passing a counterfeit bill if you had knowledge that it was not legit.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/22/2011
Bloom Legal, LLC
Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
You can turn it over to police or just discard it. If no report was filed, which it doesn't sound like there was, this does not seem like something that you are risking any liability over.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 8/21/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Yes. You passed a counterfeit bill. Throw it away and pray the cops are lazy.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/20/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Yes. Using counterfeit currency is a felony level offense and can be charged as a federal offense. However, it does require an "intent" to pass a counterfeit bill. 12 - 24 Mos.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    If you knew it was fake and used or attempted to use it you could be in a lot of trouble both federal and state. If contacted by authorities say nothing . Talking probably will not change their mind about arresting you. If you knew was false, just "lawyer up".
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Thank you for your inquiry Knowing use of a fake $20 can result in charges. Your case will be investigated. If satisfied that you did not knowingly do this, then you may not be charged. however, if you intentionally tried to pass the bill, even though you got it somewhere else, then you could still be charged. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    You will have to wait and see if you get charged with a crime, if so hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Your summary states that you received a counterfeit twenty dollar bill and yet you tried to pass it off at a fast food place...possibly because you felt the cashier would be young and stupid? You made the conscious decision to commit a federal crime that carries twenty years in prison for twenty dollars...and you did it on a surveillance camera. After they mentioned the police you finally realized that it was perhaps a bad idea to try to use counterfeit money and now the FBI will be studying that video to try and find the kid who is passing bogus bills. At least you were not stupid enough to wait around for the police because there is a good chance that they would have gotten you to admit that you knew for sure that it was fake when you gave it to the cashier. First, never go to that fast food restaurant again, Second, never go to any fast food restaurant again, they have bad food loaded with salt, fat, and calories. Third, call an experience criminal attorney to handle the matter since you may be arrested and charged with a very serious federal offense which you are totally guilty of committing on camera. If you don't have a prior arrest the police will probably not be able to find you, but don't mention this to anyone and stay out of that area for a few years.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/9/2013
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    If you did not know that the bill was fake then you will not be in trouble. If you are charged with a crime you need an attorney
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    All crimes require a mental element and it seems like you had no idea it was a fake bill, so I believe you would have a good defense. In terms of leaving and being charged it is possible, but if the police don't have a name or address for you it seems unlikely. The best thing to do is not discuss matter with anybody. Do not talk. Good luck,
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    You might be.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Keep your mouth shut and hope that you never hear about this again. Passingcounterfeit currency is a felony and a serious matter. If you are approached by law enforcement to provide a statement it will be by the U.S. Secret Service the same ones who provide protection to the President. If approached and they want a statement I suggest that you hire an attorney to go with you or to advise you.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    If you knew the bill was fake and tried to use it, that is a crime. If you did not know it was fake then you probably won't be charged.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    Wait to see if you are charged (do they have your identifying information?), then hire an attorney or request for one to be appointed if you cannot afford one.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    How do they know who you are? Except you have now given the police a lead. Please don't post criminal case facts on a public website!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    You could be in trouble if you knew it was fake and tried to pass it off, but if you got it today and didn't know if it was a fake they will not really do anything, as they are looking for the people who make and distribute them.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    You could only be in trouble if they prove that you passed the bill in order to defraud. If you are contacted by police don't make any statements without a lawyer. Otherwise don't do anything.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    You could be charged if there is some evidence you were aware that the bill was a fake.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You won't be in trouble unless you are foolish enough to go back there and get identified.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    Unless you made the $20 yourself or knowingly tried to pass a fake, you should be fine.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    You are not guilty unless you knew it was fake when you tried to pass it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Don't do anything. I wouldn't go back there, though.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Now, nothing. If you get caught and arrested for trying to use it, the charge can be federal felony counterfeiting. You lose. Burn it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    You could be. I would contact an attorney and have him or her available in case you are contacted by the police as a suspect.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    If the folks at the fast food place know you, or can identify you, then you can be in trouble. However, if you were not caught on videotape passing this counterfeit money, I would suggest you hold tight. If you are summoned by the police or any other law enforcement agency, retain counsel immediately to accompany you to the station or office where you are directed to appear. The authorities have a right to conduct an interview of you, and of course, you have a right in invoke your Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    You did not men to pass a fake bill so now you are blameless. Take it to a bank and tell them that you were told that it was fake and could they check it. If it is fake then they would know what to do.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Using a fake bill is a serious crime. The Secret Service are in charge of counterfeit currency in the U.S. and will likely be called, even though you may see this as no big deal. If the police contact you, DO NOT speak with them. They will make it sound like its no big deal for you to just admit that you got the bill and it was yours, even though you didn't make it, etc. The police and Secret Service, and all law enforcement personnel for that matter, will say just about anything to get you to provide evidence against yourself or others. When the police contact you, hire a lawyer. You do not want to play around with this. It is a larger issue than you believe it to be. My number is below if you want to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You can be charged with passing the bill, best to call cops and turn it in.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C.
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. | Loren Dickstein
    Maybe and maybe not. Do not talk to anyone about the incident or the money. I would not post anything else on the internet about it! Do not talk to anyone from law enforcement.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    That depends on two things. First, whether the police can identify you. If not, no worries but the fast food place probably has security cameras. The other issue is whether you knew or had reason to know the bill was counterfeit. If you did or should have known, you can be charged with a felony. If the police, FBI or Treasury agents show up at your door, say absolutely nothing other than "I want to talk to an attorney and have one present at all times." No matter how hostile they get, maintain your silence and assert your right to an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    Don't do anything. If you are contacted by a detective don't answer any questions until you hire an attorney. Yes, you can be in trouble for using counterfeit money.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    If you are identified, you may face a charge of attempting to pass a counterfeit bill. If you are charged, you should consult with an attorney to determine if you may have any viable defenses to the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    Possession and tendering counterfeit funds can certainly lead to felony charges. If this was a legitimate mistake of which you had no knowledge, leaving was not the right thing to do as it is circumstantial evidence of guilty knowledge. None the less, assuming they don't know who you are, tracking you down may be difficult unless they spend the time and effort to use facial recognition software or you return and are recognized. There is typically video surveillance at fast food restaurants. Hiring an attorney at this point may be premature, but you should always be prepared for the possibility that you may be charged. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Yes, if you are caught for passing counterfeit money you can be proscecuted in state court, or federal court if the amount of money is worthwhile to the federal prosecutorial agency.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    For now, nothing. Next time go to a bank and report it, its not worth the trouble.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Contact law enforcement and tell them where you got the bill in change and you will not likely get in trouble. jas Jim Schoenberger 253.444.3111 www.CrimDefLaw.com This communication is intended for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information this is PRIVILEGED or CONFIDENTIAL.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    it is a crime to knowingly pass fake currency.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    If you knew the check was fake and your attempted to pass it off, then yes, you are in trouble. However, it sounds like the restaurant did not take the $20, which means that they probably did not pursue it further. If you received the check innocently in some other transaction, then you should contact the police and report it so they can try and figure where the money came from.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    You definitely could be in trouble I don't think there is much you can do at this point but invoke your right to remain silent if interviewed by the police.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    You could be in real legal trouble if you knew if was counterfeit. Do not disucuss this with anyone and make no statements to law enforcement. Do not go back to this business. Contact an attorney if law enforcement contacts you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel | Gregory M. Abel
    try to figure out where you got it. If you are not the forger, IF the police even investigate, they will ask all of your cash withdrawals, change made, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    They could have called the police, but you lucked out. Now that you know it's fake, if you try to pass it, you could be arrested for a felony for trying to pass a fictitious bill.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Christopher Lee
    Using counterfeit money is against the law and punishable. However, since you did not know it was fake and had no intentions to defraud or make any knowing false representation that the money was real, you have a very good defense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
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