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Maryland's Forgery Laws

The act of forgery in Maryland contains several elements that, when present, would add up to a convictable offense. In order to proceed, the prosecutor has to show evidence that would make a jury believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the state met its burden of proof. Forgery is the possession with intent to use, creation of, or use of a false writing designed to defraud someone. In some cases, forgery can be a federal crime as these cases cross state lines. If you are being charged with forgery, it is important to speak with a Maryland criminal defense attorney.

Overview of Forgery Laws

Forgery is covered under Md. Ann. Code §8-606.1, et. seq., which includes types of forgeries like:

  • Possession of counterfeit documents with an intent to defraud
  • Forgery of specified legal or financial documents
  • Forgery of a state employee, court officer, or judge’s signature

Depending on the crime, you could be put in prison and ordered to pay a fine. If you make or knowingly use forged examples of specified legal or financial documents, you could be facing up to 10 years in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. Possession of these forged documents with the intent to use them in order to defraud someone carries penalties of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

Documents that fall under this category can include:

  • Check
  • Draft
  • Letter of credit
  • Entry in account ledger or book
  • Promissory note
  • Bond
  • Power of attorney
  • Deed
  • Will
  • Motor vehicle title
  • Release
  • Mechanics’ lien waiver or release

Forgery can also involve falsified medical prescriptions. Maryland’s prescription law does not make a distinction between possession and manufacturing. Both can be a misdemeanor charge with a maximum sentence of two years in jail. Given the growing problem with abuse of controlled substances and prescription painkillers, arrests are becoming more common and prosecutors are taking a more serious stance against this crime.

Counterfeiting

When the forgery involves making, altering, or using false currency, it is called counterfeiting. This is a serious offense and is prohibited by federal law. It is also illegal under Maryland state law, which could result in a felony charge with a 10-year maximum sentence.

Retaining a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney

Being convicted of a crime, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, is something you need to take seriously. Even a misdemeanor can result in jail time and have long lasting legal consequences. If you are arrested in possession of fraudulent documents, you could struggle with future employment, getting a loan, getting approved for a credit card, or renting an apartment.

Having a skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney on your side is important. Even if you plan to plead guilty, an experienced attorney can help try to get the charges reduced through a plea deal. On the flip side, a skilled attorney can also keep you from agreeing to a plea deal that is unfair.

If you or a loved one have been arrested on forgery or counterfeiting charges, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at 301-870-1200 to schedule an initial consultation.

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