Forgery is the altering, falsifying, or imitating of a document with the intent to defraud someone. The goal with forging a document is to have the person who is accepting the document believe it is authentic. Georgia has four separate degrees of forgery.

What Is Forgery in the First Degree in Georgia?

Forgery in the first degree is the crime of knowingly making, possessing, or altering any writing with the intent to defraud. The writing is a forged writing because the perpetrator:

  • Used a fictitious name or another person’s name
  • Added new provisions and/or changed preexisting provisions
  • Changed the date
  • Made it appear that the writing was authorized by someone who did not authorize it

The perpetrator must also utter or deliver the writing to the intended victim.

Does Forgery in the First Degree Include Forging a Check?

No. A forged check is the crime of altering or creating check that is not real. The person is accused of changing the amount on the check or forging the owner’s signature. The person then attempts to deposit or cash the check. Under Georgia law, a check is the only kind of writing that is not included under forgery in the first degree.

Is the Crime Limited to Written Documents?

Contrary to a more traditional way of thinking, a “writing” for the purposes of Georgia’s forgery law is not limited just to letters, books, and other such documents. According to Georgia law, a “writing” refers to any printing or other method of recording information, money, trademarks, credit cards, badges, seals, stamps, as well as other symbols of value, identification, privilege, or right.

What Is Intent to Defraud?

A person possesses an intent to defraud when they want to deceive, injure, or trick another person to gain a benefit such as money or property.

Is This Criminal Charge the Similar to Falsifying Documents?

Yes. Falsifying documents means to modify, change, or alter a document in order to deceive another individual. The document is known by the perpetrator to be false, but they attempt to pass it off as authentic.

What Is the Punishment for Forgery in the First Degree?

Forgery in the first degree is a felony in Georgia. A conviction is punishable by one to 15 years in prison.

Should I Contact a Lawyer Regarding My Forgery Charge?

Forgery in the first degree is a serious felony in Georgia. Contact a Georgia criminal lawyer immediately the learn about the defenses available to you and how you can fight the charge.