Connecticut Forgery Lawyer
A Forgery arrest in Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Ridgefield or Greenwich can lead to serious felony or misdemeanor charges against you in Connecticut criminal court. As Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys will agree, the most common Forgery arrests in Connecticut arise in forged prescription drug cases as well as forged and fake ID cases in Stamford, Greenwich, Fairfield, Norwalk and Westport. However, no matter what the underlying accusations are, a Connecticut arrest for Forgery under must be handled with care. It is a crime of dishonesty, and if convicted of a Forgery crime in Connecticut, then it can detrimentally affect your immigration status as well as your employment prospects, especially if you are thinking of working the financial services or health care sectors. Employers simply do not want to take the chance of exposing their customers’ money, valuables and financial instruments to the threat of Forgery. Thus, if you are arrested for Forgery in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, or anywhere else in Connecticut, then you should call a top Connecticut theft attorney right away to understand your rights and begin preparing an aggressive defense.
Forgery in the Third Degree
The least serious Connecticut Forgery charge is Forgery in the Third Degree under C.G.S. 53a-140. To be arrested in Connecticut for Third Degree Forgery, you must be accused of falsely creating, altering, or even possessing a written instrument which you know to be forged. And you must do so with the specific intent to defraud, deceive or injure another individual or business entity. This refers to any document and does not have to be a government-issued, business-issued, or bank-issued document to be arrested for this charge. All that matters is that you have altered, fabricated, or were in mere possession of a forged document, and that you did so with the intent to defraud or deceive another. This is a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a $1000 fine, and probation.
Forgery in the Second Degree
The next serious Forgery crime in the Connecticut criminal law books is Second Degree Forgery pursuant to C.G.S. 53a-139. This charge is more specific as to the categories of documents that are covered and protected by Connecticut law. You are guilty of 53a-139 Second Degree Forgery in Connecticut if, with the intent to defraud or deceive another, you alter or possess a written instrument which you know to be forged, and such document falls into any of these categories: (1) a will, deed, contract, legal document or other commercial instrument, (2) a public record filed with a public office (i.e. a social security card or driver’s license application), (3) a government-issued document or written instrument (a driver’s license), or (4) a written prescription for drugs or controlled substances. Forgery in the Second Degree is a Class D Felony, which carries up to 5 years in jail, a $5000 fine, and probation.
Forgery in the First Degree
First Degree Forgery per C.G.S. § 53a-139 is identical to Forgery in the Second Degree; however, it covers only the forging of money, currency, stamps, stocks or bonds. It is the most serious Forgery charge, but due to the limited scope of the statute, it is not as commonly charged as Second Degree and Third Degree Forgery charges in Connecticut. It is classified as a Class C Felony and carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence, $10,000 fine and probation.
Forgery of Symbols
One additional Forgery-related charge worth discussing is Forgery of Symbols under CGS 53a-142. This charge goes hand-in-hand with Credit Card fraud arrests in Stamford and Greenwich. You are guilty of 53a-142 Forgery of Symbols in Connecticut when, with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, you alter or possess a forged written instrument which is used as “symbols” of money for the purchase of property or services. In plain speak, this law applies to forged or illegally manufactured credit or debit cards. An arrest for 53a-142 Forgery of Symbols is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a $2000 fine, and probation. With the popularity and credit card theft and identity theft scams running rampant around the country, we are seeing an increase in 53a-142 Forgery of Symbols arrests.
Are Greenwich, Darien, Stamford and New Canaan Fake ID Forgery Arrests Really a Felony?
Yes. The best Stamford and Norwalk criminal lawyers recognize that possession or use of a Fake ID—usually a fake Connecticut or other state driver’s license—is a violation of 53a-139 Forgery in the Second Degree. Even just possessing a Fake ID in Connecticut can lead to a felony arrest. Many underage drinkers believe that if you do not show the police your Fake ID then you have not committed a crime; however, during a routine traffic stop, we have often seen police look through wallets and purses of teenagers. During these searches, the legality of which is sometimes questionable, police have found Fake IDs and other contraband (such as marijuana and drug paraphernalia), which ultimately escalates a routine traffic stop for a Stamford moving violation to a Stamford Felony arrest for 53a-139 Forgery in the Second Degree. Therefore if you have been arrested for Possession of a Fake ID and 53a-139 Forgery in the Second Degree, then you should call a Stamford Forgery lawyer as soon as possible to understand how you can get your felony 53a-139 Second Degree charge dismissed.
Getting Arrested for Forging Drug Prescriptions under 53a-139
Another common Forgery arrest scenario occurs when a suspect steals drug prescription pads from a doctor’s office and forges prescriptions for narcotics, pain medication, or Oxycontin. Forging a doctor’s signature and then passing the prescription off to a drug store or pharmacy constitutes a Connecticut 53a-139 Forgery in the Second Degree arrest in Stamford, Darien, New Canaan or any other Connecticut jurisdiction. Know that your local CVS (or local drug store) pharmacist has been trained in detecting forged prescriptions and will not hesitate to call the police on you. We usually see these cases brought against individuals battling drug and narcotics addiction. Most of the time these people are not committing 53a-139 Second Degree Forgery as a profit-making business enterprise; rather, they are desperate to feed their addiction. Fortunately, the Mark Sherman Law Stamford criminal lawyers have years of experience in positioning their Forgery clients as victims of drug addiction. As a result of our experiences with Connecticut Forgery arrests—coupled with our ability to assemble comprehensive and compelling mental health and mitigation materials for our clients—we have seen courts give second (and even third) chances to our clients through various pre-trial diversionary programs such as the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program, the Supervised Diversionary Program (formerly the “Psych AR Program”), and the CADAC diversionary program for those battling drug addiction. While the court system is designed to punish, it also serves to rehabilitate defendants. The Mark Sherman Law team tries to promote the latter goal in getting the best results for their clients, persuading prosecutors and judges to promote rehabilitation above all else.
Fighting Your Stamford Connecticut Forgery Charges
There are several ways the Mark Sherman Law team of criminal defense lawyers will break down and attack a Forgery case. Just because you may possess an altered document or government instrument does not necessarily mean you are guilty of a Connecticut Forgery crime. The government still needs to prove you possess the intent to defraud, deceive or injure another party. This is a high hurdle for the police and prosecution. Especially when you did not present the forged document or instrument to the police and instead, provided the officer with your legally valid driver’s license. Intent is best inferred from your actions, and if you conducted yourself in compliance with laws by showing a police officer a valid ID, then a judge or jury can presume you did not have the intent to defraud or deceive anyone. Additionally, the Mark Sherman Law firm offers a “two-attorney” review of all police reports, witness statements, and surveillance tapes and recordings in your Stamford, Danbury or Norwalk court Forgery arrest case. We carefully scrutinize the evidence against you for police errors, omissions, and constitutional defects. Too often we see other lawyers overlook sloppy police work to the detriment of their clients. That’s why our team approach guarantees a thorough review of the evidence in your case. Our only goal is results—getting your Connecticut Forgery arrest and charges dismissed or otherwise resolved to your sole satisfaction.
Contact a Stamford Forgery Criminal Lawyer Today
As illustrated above, Forgery cases can go in many different directions, ranging from harmless cases of Fake IDs among college students to the more serious crimes of forging drugstore prescriptions and counterfeiting money. The reality, however, is that most Forgery cases are felony charges which, if not handled properly, can have a lasting and devastating impact on your criminal record and employment prospects. Don’t go to court alone on Forgery arrests. Fake ID arrests and forging drug prescription cases can snowball into probation and a criminal conviction history if you do not have an experienced Connecticut criminal lawyer by your side. Call a Mark Sherman Law criminal lawyer today for a consultation on your Connecticut Forgery arrest. The stakes are too high not to make a phone call.