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Elements of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument

If you are guilty of New York Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, it means in layman’s terms — having knowledge that the instrument in your possession is forged and being fraudulently used to deceive or defraud another person or business. Under the New York state statute, anyone who engages in this type of fraud, may face charges of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree. If you are convicted, you may face jail time and sizable fees. If you find yourself charged with this type of offense, you should seek the help of a skilled attorney immediately. New York state has hundreds of attorneys with decades of experience dealing with these issues. You should be aware of your rights. An attorney skilled in defending crimes of forgery will be of great help.

The key element of any type of forged instrument rides solely on the issue of “intent.” If prosecutors fail to establish an intent to defraud, you will likely not face conviction. A prosecutor will have a much better chance in prosecuting you if you do something like attempt to pass off a fake check. But there may be some cases where it’s not so cut and dry. Either way, you need to get a defense attorney to sort the situation out for you. Some people may not feel the need to get a handle on this as soon as possible. But under New York law, the consequences can prove more severe than you may know.

Under the New York law statutes, intent to defraud is established when you create an error or disadvantage against another person. Intent to defraud, established after the People V Briggin court decision, is pretty broad. The decision was further explained under New York’s People V Kase. In this case, the defendant (Kase) was found not to have committed fraud of any type for the purpose of gaining property or giving anything in return. The instrument, in fact, was filed to disrupt governmental operations. A highly-skilled attorney can look at your case to determine if any established case law or court cases my apply to your situation.

Again, if your case lacks an intent to defraud, there is no case. This applies to New York Law pursuant to criminal possession of a forged instrument first degree, second degree and third degree. Hire legal counsel as soon as possible to get clarity on your case. Your attorney will attack all angles of defense.

According to New York state law, possession of a forged instrument is broad and can include a variety of items. While the law states that a written item is a forged instrument, it can in fact, be related to other items. In fact, the specific definition of a written instrument under New York law specifies:

“..any instrument of article, including computer data or a computer program containing written or printed matter or the equivalent thereof, used for the purpose of reciting, embodying, conveying or recording information, or constituting a symbol of evidence or value, right, privilege or identification, which is capable of being used to the advantage or disadvantage of a person.”

The law determines what lines were crossed. For instance, if you are in possession of a credit card, ID card, passport, documents or anything of the like, and you alter it, that would constitute intent. It is pretty cut and dry. Knowingly defacing or altering the document shows that you were attempting to use the item in a fraudulent manner. However, there are times when just the possession of items will not constitute intent.

If you need to obtain a full understanding of what laws you may have broken, you should find a forgery attorney as quickly as possible. There is no way you will be able to navigate the New York legal system alone. You will need help to protect yourself and your rights. This type of case needs the help of an experienced lawyer. Don’t put yourself in jeopardy by enlisting the help of someone who has little to no experience. If you need help, contact a New York criminal defense lawyer today. The information and consultation is free. Make that call and protect your rights.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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