Forgery is an incredibly prevalent crime in the United States, but many don’t know this fact as it’s quite an “invisible” crime. However, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III) 1.1 million fraud-related reports were filed in the year 2017. The reports illustrated that consumers ended up losing $905 million dollars due to these forgery related schemes. Statistics similar to these have ended up being the catalyst for lawmakers to impose harsher penalties for white collar offenders, including those charged with forgery.
Forgery is a serious white-collar crime that could result in years in prison depending on the circumstances. Not only that, but since the offense is considered a crime of moral turpitude it will be difficult to obtain employment upon release. You may have also potentially have issues applying for housing, loans, professional licensing and higher education institutions as well because of your criminal record.For these reasons and more, we highly encourage you to seek legal counsel if you’ve been charged with a type of forgery.
Forgery Defense Attorney, Harris County | Texas Fraud Laws
The penalties for forgery have the potential to alter your life forever. Fight back against the allegations by hiring an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney with Horak Law. Matthew Horak and his team have the skills, resources, and experience needed to take on any white collar case, no matter how severe the charges.
Set up your first consultation with Horak Law by calling our office at (713) 225-8000. Horak Law is located in Houston and The Woodlands, but accepts clients throughout Texas including Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Harris County, Montgomery County, and Liberty County.
Forgery Texas Penal Code
Forging a signature or using a document with a forged signature as an official record or document is a direct violation of Texas Legislature. The crime of forgery can extend to all types of records including official licenses, insurance registration, checks, deeds, amongst other authorized documentation. Forgery is defined under the Texas Penal Code Section 32.21 as one of the following:
- Issuing, registering the transfer of, passing, transferring, or publishing a forged writing
- Possessing a forged writing and had intentions to register the transfer of, issue, transfer, or publish the writing that’s forged
- Creating, altering, or authenticating writing and:
- The writing was never authorized by the proper entity or person
- The writing states it was executed/signed at a specific time/place or was in a numbered sequence when in reality neither is true
The phrase “writing” in context to the forgery statute means:
- Any print or method of recording information
- Identification of symbols or symbols of value, right or privilege
- Badges, tokens, trademarks, coins, seals, credit cards, stamps and/or money
Is Forgery a Felony or Misdemeanor in Texas?
Under the Texas Penal Code, the consequences for forgery rely on the type of document involved and what the document purported itself to be. According to the statute, forging writing of any of the following will result in an automatic state jail felony.
- Deed of Trust
- Credit Card
- Security Agreement
- Authorization to debit an account
The maximum sentence for a state jail felony in Texas includes:
- Up to 2 years in jail
- A $10,000 fine
Forging any of the following records/documents will result in a third-degree felony.
- Bond, issue, stock, or other documents that represent interest
- National or state issued documents
- Revenue stamps or postage
- Issue of securities or money
- Government record
The Texas Penal Code defines “government records” as any of the following:
- Election records or ballots
- Writing kept for government reasons
- Liability proof for motor vehicle insurance
- Permits, licenses, seals, titles, letters of patents, corticates, and any document issued by the state or federal government
- Writing kept, received or belongs to the government
- Documentation needed to run a mobile food business
The maximum consequence a person can face for a third-degree felony includes:
- Up to 10 years in prison
- A $10,000 fine
If you didn’t forge one of the documents listed above, then the penalty for the crime will depend on the value of money/services/goods/property appropriated due to the forgery. The chart below discusses the penalties for forgery in Texas.
|Value of Money Appropriated||Offense Classification||Imprisonment Term||Fine|
|Less than $100||Class C Misdemeanor||N/A||$500|
|$100 or more, but less than $750||Class B Misdemeanor||180 days in county jail||$2,000|
|$750 or more, but less than $2,500||Class A Misdemeanor||12 months in jail||$4,000|
|$2,500 or more, but less than $30,000||State Jail Felony||24 months in state jail||$10,000|
|$30,000 but were less than $150,000||Third Degree Felony||10 years in prison||$10,000|
|$150,000 or more, but less than $300,000||Second Degree Felony||20 years in prison||$10,000|
|$300,000 or more||First Degree Felony||99 years or life with a minimum of 5 years||$10,000|
Texas Forgery Statute – Visit the official website for Texas Penal Code to find more information regarding forgery and fraud related offenses. Access the laws to learn the elements of the crime, consequences upon conviction, penalty enhancements, and other related offenses.
Houston PD | Financial Crimes Unit– Visit the official website for the Houston Police Department and learn more about their Financial Crimes Unit. Access the site to learn more about identity theft, financial responsibility, and contact information for the police unit.
Harris County Forgery Lawyer | White Collar Crimes, TX
If you or someone you know has been arrested for forgery or another related crime, it’s within your best interest to contact Horak Law. Matthew Horak has over ten years of practice handling white collar crime cases such as forgery or embezzlement. He can analyze your case thoroughly and develop a formidable defense for your case right then and there. Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation with Matthew Horak in either Houston or The Woodlands.