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[A]ny forgery regardless of the penalty provided: No limit
However, it is arguable that this law applies only to felonies. After this section, the statute states:
Other felonies: Three years;
Misdemeanors: Eighteen months
That “other” appears before “felonies” and not “misdemeanors” is striking. This suggests the prior section applies only to felony forgery crimes. (No case law interprets this language.)
Therefore, we argue that prosecutors cannot press misdemeanor forgery charges once 18 months have passed.
1. What is forgery?
Forgery occurs when someone makes or alters a written instrument “with intent to defraud.” Merely possessing a forged instrument may be forgery if the defendant has fraudulent intent. Common examples of forged documents include:
A doctored will;
An unemployment insurance application with a fake SSN;
2 to 6 years in prison (with a mandatory parole period of 3 years), and/or
Fines of $2,000 to $500,000
3. What are the defenses?
Possible defenses to forgery charges include:
The defendant had no intent to defraud;
The document was authentic; and/or
The police conducted an illegal search.
In any case, the D.A. has the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high bar. If the D.A. has insufficient evidence, the charges should be dropped.
Note that prior to March 1, 2022, forgery crimes carried different penalties. SB21-271.
About the Author
Michael Becker has over a quarter-century's worth of experience as an attorney and more than 100 trials under his belt. He is a sought-after legal commentator and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Nevada, California, and Florida.