Falsifying a document, also known as forgery, occurs when a person changes, modifies, or alters a document so that it is not authentic. The person does this to deceive the individual accepting the document. Georgia has four degrees of forgery.
Forgery in the first degree occurs when a person alters, makes, or possesses any writing, other than a check, that is falsified, and then delivers or utters the writing to the victim. According to Georgia law, a forged document is one that has:
- Another name, either fictional or real, than the original name
- A different time or date than the original time or date
- New or altered provisions
- Been made to appear that it was authorized by someone who did not provide authorization for the document
Forgery in the second degree is similar to forgery in the first degree, but with one key difference. A person is accused of altering, making, changing, or modifying any writing to intentionally defraud another individual. The way the modification occurs is by using another name, date, or invalid authority. The difference between the two degrees of forgery is that the perpetrator never actually gives the false writing to their intended victim under forgery in the second degree. If the perpetrator gave the forged writing to the victim, then they would have committed forgery in the first degree.
No. Just as with forgery in the first degree, a writing for forgery in the second degree does not include a check. According to Georgia law, a check is any instrument used for payment or transmitting money that is drawn on a bank or on demand. A writing is considered anything else in print or otherwise recorded. This include trademarks, money, coins, stamps, identification badges, and credit cards.
Forgery in the first degree is a felony under Georgia law. The punishment for a conviction of forgery in the first degree is imprisonment for one to 15 years.
While forgery in the second degree is also a felony, it comes with a lesser punishment that forgery in the first degree because it is a lesser crime. The punishment for a forgery in the second degree conviction is one to five years in prison.
Yes. Contact a Georgia criminal lawyer immediately to find out more regarding your forgery charge. Your lawyer will help you determine the best way to proceed with your case.