Des Moines Forgery Lawyers
Allegations of forgery can result in everything from jail time to steep fines to a permanent criminal record. Our Des Moines forgery lawyers are here to give defendants the proactive and aggressive legal defense that their freedom and reputations may depend on.
At Lombardi & Miler Law Firm PLLC, our team isn’t here to judge defendants. Our attorneys are here to fight for them – to explore every legal avenue possible on their behalf. Serving all of central Iowa, we offer free consultations and payment plans. Call us at 515-513-5324 or reach out online today.
What Is Forgery?
The state of Iowa officially defines forgery in Section 715 of the criminal code. Forgery is considered to be present if a person allegedly does any of the following:
- Changes the writing of someone else without their consent
- Authorizes the writing of something that gives off the appearance of being written by someone else
- Accepts a signature as valid a signature when they know that it has been forged or possesses the same
Not every incident that meets these conditions will be considered forgery. It’s also expected that the signature in question has real legal significance. Signatures forged on checks are certainly an example of this. So are signatures on government documents. Art forgery relies on the false replication of the artist’s signature on the work.
Penalties For Forgery In Iowa
Forgery covers a wide range of offenses that can have disparate financial values. That means that our Des Moines forgery attorneys will need to know the specific circumstances of each case before knowing what the potential penalty for conviction is. A charge is typically either a Class D felony or an aggravated misdemeanor.
A Class D felony conviction can bring with it up to five years of prison time and fines that could be more than $10,000. An aggravated misdemeanor could see a two-year jail sentence and a fine of over $8,000.
The common theme is that the prospect of prison time is very real. Furthermore, the crime stays on a defendant’s record after their time is served. While all crimes can be a hindrance to one’s ability to rebuild their life, forgery – with its direct implication of dishonesty – can do serious damage to a person looking to get a job after their sentence is complete. Moreover, forgery is a crime that cannot be expunged from the record. It stands forever.
Contact Lombardi & Miler Law Firm PLLC at 515-513-5324 or fill out our online contact form today and arrange for a free consultation.
Examples Of Forgery
Below is just a sampling of the allegations that a district attorney can bring forgery charges on:
- Forging a signature on check
- Faking personal information on a mortgage application. Giving the large sums of money involved in mortgage lending, this allegation can be particularly serious.
- Pretending to be someone else on a credit card application – in addition to accessing thousands of dollars in credit in their name, a person may also be lowering the credit score of another
- Writing a check from a bank account that the payee has already closed
- Altering prescriptions, which may be attempted by someone struggling with addiction or extreme pain who is seeking higher dosages than what their doctor may have authorized
- Anything that allows for fraudulently getting a government identification
Forgery is often connected to other crimes. The person who is alleged to have used fraudulently obtained credentials to enter a building or log into a computer system might also be charged with burglary and theft.
Defenses Against Forgery
Our forgery lawyers will listen to the details of your case and fashion a defense strategy unique to each circumstance. Some common defense approaches to most cases include:
- Was evidence lawfully obtained? Prosecutors and police have an obligation to have conducted legal searches to get their evidence. Were search warrants obtained? Were those warrants based on probable cause? Our team will find out. If they weren’t, none of the evidence gained in those searches can be introduced in court.
- Was there fraudulent intent? The wide range of forgery crimes means that it can sweep up innocent people in its net. For example, was the bank teller who accepted fraudulent checks really aware they were fraudulent? If a defendant was not aware of what was happening, then it’s the prosecution’s job to prove intent.
- Was duress involved? People who participate in forgery might have been subjected to some type of coercion. If this is the basis for the defense, the burden of proof will shift to the defendant, and the duress must be deemed sufficient to justify the level of fraud that took place. But it is absolutely a valid defense.
All cases involving forgery or any other crime still require the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt – and to gain a unanimous vote of a 12-person jury saying that they did so. That’s a very high legal bar, and a vigorous defense attorney will aim to remind the jury of that bar and create reasonable doubt.
Accessible Legal Defense You Can Trust
Lombardi & Miler Law Firm PLLC is built on the premise that defendants should have a lawyer who believes in them, who will fight for them and whom they can actually reach and talk to. Our attorneys are accessible to defendants and aggressive with prosecutors.