Texas Forgery Laws
Overview of Texas Forgery Laws
Texas forgery law makes it a crime to forge a "writing" with intent to defraud or harm another person. If the defendant is being charged with having forged two or more writings, then there will be a presumption that he or she did intend to defraud another person. A writing can be any of the following things:
- Any kind of printed or recorded information (including a signature)
- Money, coins, tokens, stamps, seals, credit cards, badges and trademarks
- Symbols of value, right, privilege or identification
Example: Bob made a forged copy of a rare coin and wanted to sell it to Joe since he knew Joe enjoyed collecting rare coins. He told Joe that it was an authentic rare coin and Joe believed him and purchased the forged coin. Bob has committed forgery.
Forgery is a type of fraud.
Defenses to Forgery Charges
- Lack of intent to defraud or harm another person
- Age (Minors may get lighter punishments than adults)
- The writing was not forged
Penalties and Sentences
Under Texas forgery law, the crime is generally charged as a "Class A" misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of no more than one year in a county jail and/or a fine of no more than $4,000. It may be elevated to a state jail felony if the writing is or purports to be a will, codicil, deed, deed of trust, mortgage, security instrument, security agreement, credit card, check, authorization to debit an account at a financial institution, or similar sight order for payment of money, contract, release, or other commercial instrument.
Forgery may be charged as a third degree felony if the writing purports to be money, securities, postage or revenue stamps, a government record, or other instruments issued by a state or national government, part of an issue of stock, bonds, or other instruments where the writing represents claims against another person.
If the offense was committed against an elderly person, the punishment may be increased by one degree. For example, if the crime would normally be that of a second degree felony, it could then be elevated to a first degree felony if committed against an elderly individual.
Texas Forgery Laws: Statute
Texas Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 32 (Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 32 -- scroll down for section dealing with forgery)
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact a Texas criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.