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Defense for Forgery in New Jersey

Have you been charged with Forgery or Fraud? Do you need the best New Jersey Forgery Attorney you can find? I am Anthony N. Palumbo, Union County defense attorney and partner of The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo. Not only do I have over 35 years of criminal trial experience, but I am also a former prosecutor, and I know which defenses are necessary to win your case. A crime of forgery requires the prosecution to prove you had a very specific intent when you committed the crime. Depending on the circumstances of your case, I may be able to prove that you did not have the proper intent or state of mind to commit forgery, and the charges against you may be dropped.

I understand that being charged with a crime this serious can be frightening and can raise many doubts about your future, but you don’t have to be afraid. While every case is different, I ensure the best possible outcome given the circumstances of your case. Contact me today for a free initial consultation at 908-272-9700 , and let’s talk about some possible defenses for you. Our firm represents clients throughout New Jersey including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, Union County, Somerset County, Hudson County, and Essex County. In the meantime, take a look at this page. It should answer some of your immediate questions by helping you understand what is required for a Forgery conviction, and explaining the attaching penalties for different kinds of forgery offenses.

In addition to Forgery, I also defend charges of:

  • Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Theft by Deception
  • False Statements
  • White Collar Crimes
  • Internet Fraud
  • Perjury
  • Money Laundering
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Prescription Fraud

Understanding the Crime

In order to be guilty of forgery under the laws of New Jersey, a person must have (1) committed an act of forgery; and (2) done so with the proper intent. If you are missing either the act or the proper intent, you cannot be convicted of forgery. One of the many ways an attorney can defend you against charges of forgery is by asserting that you did not have the required intent to commit the crime. Forgery, unlike fraud requires a showing of specific intent in order for a conviction. Your lawyer may be able to prove that even though you committed the act, you did not have the requite intent to satisfy a conviction.

Requirements for a Conviction
Look at the two lists below. One is labeled “intent” and the other is labeled “act.” You need at least one item from the “intent” list AND at least one item from the “act” list for a conviction.

For instance, a person may be guilty of forgery if that person has acted with one of the following intents:

  • With purpose to defraud anyone; or
  • With purpose to injure anyone; or
  • With knowledge that he is making it possible for a fraud or injury to be made by someone else.

If the person has one of the intents above, he is guilty of forgery if he also:


  • Alters or changes any writing of another without his consent;
  • Makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues or transfers any writing so that it looks like someone else who actually did not approve did it or of a fake person, or to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence that was made up, or to be a copy of an original when no such original existed; or
  • Utters any writing which he knows to be forged in a manner specified above.

Definition of a “Writing”
You may be wondering exactly what a writing is. Under the laws of New Jersey, a writing is:

  • any method of recording information (i.e. printing), including money, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges, trademarks, access devices, and other symbols of value, right, privilege, or identification, sales receipts, universal product code (UPC) labels and checks, forged, copied or imitated checks.

An attorney may be able to have the charges dropped by proving that the instrument you used does not meet the definition of a “writing” under the statute and therefore you cannot be prosecuted for forgery. This is just another reason why it is so important to have an attorney.

Possession of forgery devices
In addition, a person can be convicted of forgery if they are found to possess a forgery device with the intent

  • To use; or
  • To aid or allow another to use it; and
  • For the purpose of forging written instruments.

Thus, here is another example of why it is so important to have an attorney when charged with Forgery. An attorney may be able to show that even though you possessed the device, you had no intent to use it, and the charges may be dropped.

Forgery devices include access devices and personal identifying information, and any device, apparatus, equipment, computer, computer equipment, computer software or article specially designed or adapted to such use.

To read the entire New Jersey Statute that relates to Forgery see N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1

Penalties for Forgery

Generally forgery is a 4th degree crime which carries a prison sentence of up to 18 months, but if forgery occurs under certain circumstances, the charge may be upgraded to a 3rd degree offense. A 3rd degree offense carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison. The following situations will result in a 3rd degree offense for forgery:

  • The writing is part of an issue of money, securities, postage or revenue stamps, or other instruments, certificates or licenses issued by the government, or part of an issue of stock, bonds or other instruments representing interest in or claims against any property or enterprise, personal identifying information or an access device.
  • The writing is a check.
  • The writing is 15 or more forged or altered retail sales receipts or universal product code labels.
  • The person possesses a forgery device.

There is an additional charge upgrade when you forge a driver’s license in New Jersey. If you forge a driver’s license, the offense will be upgraded to a 2nd degree charge which carries a penalty of 5-10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

If you have been charged with Forgery, don’t wait until it’s too late. Forgery is a crime and a conviction can result in jail times, serious fines, probation, community service, and a negative impact on your future employment abilities. Don’t end up behind bars, when you can have your charges dropped. Call now for a free initial consultation at 908-272-9700 , and let me give you the representation you need to get your life back on track.