Forging documents such as checks, contracts or court orders carries harsh penalties in Nevada. But prison and fines are the least of it. Having forgery on your criminal record could keep you from ever getting hired again for a job.
Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers take a comprehensive approach to forgery cases. First we try to craft a deal that will result in your charges getting reduced or dismissed. If that does not work, we will then take your case to a jury and fight zealously for a "not guilty" verdict.
Below you will find general information about Nevada forgery law and how we can help you.
Forgery is when someone creates or uses a falsified document with a deliberate intent to defraud. Nevada forgery cases typically involve allegedly counterfeited checks, contracts, money orders, wills, deeds, court orders and powers of attorney.
The legal definition of forgery in Las Vegas, Nevada comprises, "false making, counterfeiting and the alteration, erasure or obliteration of a genuine instrument in whole or in part, the false making or counterfeiting of the signature of a party or witness, real or fictitious, and the placing or connecting together with intent to defraud, of different parts or the whole of several genuine instruments." (NRS 205.085)
There are many different forms of forgery in Nevada. The following are some of the most commonly litigated examples:
- signing a contract with someone else's name
- paying with a fake check
- altering the terms of a deed
- printing a counterfeit money order
- creating a false court order
Which defense would work best in your Las Vegas forgery case depends on the facts. The following are two common defenses frequently employed to fight Nevada forgery charges.
- No forgery occurred: Perhaps someone is angry at you and falsely accused you of forgery. Your attorney may hire expert witnesses to attest to the documents' authenticity, your handwriting, etc.
- You did not mean to defraud anyone: You are not liable for forgery if you did not know the document was forged and had no intent to defraud. Maybe you were framed. If the prosecution cannot prove you intended to defraud beyond a reasonable doubt, then forgery charges should not stand.
There are many different types of forgery in Las Vegas, and each kind carries its own specific punishment:
In general, forging documents such as deeds, wills, checks, contracts or court orders is a category D felony in Las Vegas. That also goes for counterfeiting state seals and law enforcement badges. The penalty includes:
- restitution, and
- 1 - 4 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe up to $5,000 in fines
Meanwhile, knowingly possessing or receiving forged documents with the intent to defraud is a category C felony in Nevada. The same holds true for counterfeiting or possessing counterfeit gold. The sentence for a category C felony in Nevada is:
- restitution, and
- 1 - 5 years in prison, and
- maybe up to $10,000 in fines
Forging trademarks may be punished anywhere from a category D felony in Las Vegas down to just a misdemeanor in Nevada. It depends on how the trademark was used. A misdemeanor in Nevada carries:
- restitution, and
- up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines
If you are an immigrant, a forgery conviction may be enough to have you removed from the U.S. This is because forgery in Nevada may be considered an aggravated felony. To learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada and how we can help, go to our article on the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.
Accused of Forgery? We can help . . .
Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers are happy to speak with you for free about your case. Call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). We may be able to reduce your charges to lesser offenses or have them dropped completely.
To learn about California forgery law, go to our informational article: California Forgery law.