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Forgery Overview

In Texas, the crime of forgery is defined under Section 32.21 of the Texas Penal Code. There are several key elements that prosecutors must prove to convict someone of forgery:

  1. Forging a Writing:  This element refers to creating, altering, or authenticating a written document  in a way that makes it appear genuine when it is not.  “Writing” can include a physical document, electronic record, or any other medium used to communicate information. Examples include checks, driver’s licenses, credit cards, contracts, or even wills.
  2. Without Authorization:  The accused must have acted without the proper legal permission or authority to create or alter the document.
  3. Intent to Defraud or Harm:  A crucial element is the intent to deceive or harm another person.  The prosecution must show the accused intended to use the forged document to gain some kind of advantage or cause some kind of loss to another person.

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Utterance: The act of using or presenting a forged document is sometimes referred to as “uttering” a forged instrument. Texas law also considers possession of a forged document with the intent to utter it a crime.
  • Types of Forgery: Forgery can encompass a wide range of acts beyond creating a fake document. Examples include erasing or adding information to a genuine document, forging signatures or endorsements, or even creating counterfeit money or trademarks.
  • Degrees of Forgery: The severity of forgery charges in Texas depends on the type of document involved. Forgery of financial instruments like checks or credit cards typically carries harsher penalties than forging less sensitive documents.

If you are facing forgery charges in Texas, it’s important to consult with an attorney.  An attorney can advise you on the specific details of your case, the potential consequences you face, and possible defense strategies.