Forgery in Nevada: Definition, Penalties, Defenses, and More

Forgery is a serious crime with far-reaching implications and penalties. In Nevada, the crime involves attempting to defraud another person through the use of counterfeit or falsified documents. A white-collar crime, forgery carries severe penalties if convicted.

In this article, we’ll shed light on Nevada’s forgery laws, its potential defenses, penalties, and the critical role a criminal defense attorney plays in navigating these legal waters.

If you or someone you know is facing forgery or any other criminal charges, contact our attorneys at The Defenders. Our team of expert criminal defense attorneys has decades of experience in representing clients in Nevada.

Defining Forgery in Nevada

In Nevada, the crime of forgery is the act of intentionally deceiving another individual through the use of counterfeit or altered documents. This crime can take many forms, from signing another person’s name on a document without their consent to modifying legal instruments such as wills or deeds. Often, the aim of forgery is to obtain financial gain, increase power or reputation, or harm another’s reputation or livelihood.

Forgery is a multifaceted crime with a broad range of activities that fall under its umbrella. It includes actions such as creating or altering a false instrument and passing it off as genuine with the intent to defraud.

Common Instances of Forgery

Broadly, forgery can manifest in several ways, including but not limited to:

  1. Signing another’s name on a document without their permission like signing a check, contract, or agreement.
  2. Creating or altering a legal instrument like a will or a trust
  3. Falsifying a deed or court order
  4. Producing counterfeit money or lottery tickets.
  5. Modifying a property deed, mortgage document, or real estate lease.

It’s important to note that simply signing a false name on a document does not classify as forgery unless the signer attempts to pass off the document as genuine.

The Three Essential Elements of Forgery

To be charged with forgery in Nevada, three essential elements must be proven:

  1. Passing a False Instrument as True: This involves the use or attempted use of a falsified document as if it were genuine.
  2. Knowledge of Falsity: The person must be aware that the document they are using is not genuine.
  3. Intent to Defraud: The person must deliberately attempt to deceive another by presenting the false document as true.

Penalties for Forgery in Nevada

Forgery is a category D felony in Nevada, punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison and up to $5000 in fines. This crime is not eligible for a criminal record seal until 5 years after the case is closed.

Here’s a breakdown of penalties for different forgery offenses in Nevada:

Type of Forgery Penalties
Forging Documents Category D felony:
– 1-4 years in prison
– up to $5,000 in fines
– Restitution
False Certificate to Instruments Category D felony:
– 1-4 years in prison
– up to $5,000 in fines
Possessing or Receiving Forged Instruments or Bills Category C felony:
– 1-5 years in jail
– Up to $10,000 in fines
– Restitution
Forgery of Signatures of Public Officers Category D felony:
– 1-4 years in prison
– up to $5,000 in fines
Gross misdemeanor:
– Up to 364 days in prison and/or
– Up to $2,000 fine
Counterfeiting Stamps and Labels Misdemeanor:
– Up to 6 months prison and/or
– Up to $1,000 fine
Selling Goods Containing Forged Stamps Misdemeanor:
– Up to 6 months prison and/or
– Up to $1,000 fine
Counterfeiting Trademark or Design Misdemeanor:
– Up to 6 months prison and/or
– Up to $1,000 fine
Selling or Displaying Goods with False Trademark Category D felony:
– 1-4 years in prison
– up to $5,000 in fines
Category E felony:
Probation and a suspended sentence (but if you have two or more felony convictions:
– 1-4 years in prison
– Up to $5,000 in fines
– Up to 6 months prison and/or
– Up to $1,000 fine
Fraudulent Registration of a Trademark Misdemeanor:
– Up to 6 months prison and/or
– Up to $1,000 fine

Common Defenses Against Forgery Charges

There are several defenses that can be employed when fighting forgery charges. These defenses include:

  • No forgery occurred: this defense involves establishing that the document in question was not falsified or that the accused was falsely implicated.
  • There was no intent to defraud: Here, the defendant’s attorney argues that while the document might have been falsified, there was no intent to deceive on the part of the accused
  • The police conducted an illegal search: If the police conducted an unlawful search and seizure, any evidence obtained can be dismissed by filing a motion to suppress evidence.

It’s important to note that it’s not a defense to forgery charges that there were no victims or that nobody lost money due to the forgery.

Proving Forgery in Court

Proving forgery can be challenging for prosecutors as it involves demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had the intent to defraud.

This often relies on circumstantial evidence such as eyewitness testimony, communications between the defendant and others, photographs, and/or video surveillance.

To establish intent to defraud, prosecutors often rely on evidence such as transaction records and computer data.

The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you ever find yourself facing forgery charges, it is critical to act swiftly and sensibly. The first and most important step is to secure legal representation. A skilled criminal defense attorney with expertise in forgery cases can make a significant difference to the outcome of your case. They will help you understand your charges, the potential consequences, and the best strategies to defend your rights.

Keep in mind, a conviction can lead to severe penalties and long-lasting repercussions, including a criminal record that can hinder future opportunities. It’s crucial not to make any statements to law enforcement or legal authorities without your attorney present. Anything you say can be used against you in court, potentially complicating your case.

Remember, the prosecution must prove all elements of forgery including intent to defraud beyond a reasonable doubt. If they cannot meet this burden of proof, the charges against you may be reduced or dismissed altogether. Your attorney can help identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, challenge the evidence, and advocate vigorously on your behalf.

Moreover, if the charges cannot be dismissed, a clever attorney might be able to negotiate a plea bargain, where you plead guilty to a lesser charge, potentially avoiding a felony conviction and reducing your sentence. Alternatively, they can represent you in court, ensuring that your side of the story is heard and your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Remember, the legal system can be complex and daunting, particularly for those unfamiliar with it. However, with the right legal counsel, you can navigate the murky waters of a forgery case and seek the best possible outcome.

Related Crimes

Forgery is often charged alongside other crimes such as burglary, theft, and computer crimes. For example, if someone steals a checkbook and forges checks from the stolen account, they can be charged with both forgery and theft.

Similarly, if someone hacks into an online account and transfers money to another account using a forged signature or document, they can face charges of computer fraud as well as forgery.

Embezzlement is another related crime which involves using a stolen or forged document to gain access to funds from an employer. Depending on the amount of money involved and the nature of the offense, embezzlement can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor.

The penalties for related crimes such as burglary, theft, computer fraud, and embezzlement can vary significantly depending on the particular circumstances. Therefore, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible if you are facing any such charges.

Facing Forgery Charges? Hire The Defenders

If you or a loved one have been accused of forgery, The Defenders can help. Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys has extensive knowledge and expertise in defending against forgery charges. We understand the law and the legal system, and we know how to build a compelling case on your behalf.

We will fight for your rights every step of the way, from pre-filing negotiations to courtroom proceedings. Our priority is to ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your case.

If you’re facing forgery charges, don’t wait another minute. Contact The Defenders and let us help you get your life back on track. Call us today and schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.

The Defenders Criminal Defense Attorneys - Best of Las Vegas Gold WinnerFrequently Asked Questions

What is considered forgery?

Forgery typically involves the creation, alteration, or use of a written document or signature with the intent to defraud or deceive.

What are the common types of forgery?

Common types of forgery can include forging signatures, altering legal documents, creating false identification cards, and producing counterfeit money or goods.

What are the potential penalties for forgery?

Penalties for forgery can greatly vary depending on the severity of the crime. They can range from fines, probation, and community service to imprisonment for several years.

Can forgery charges be dropped or dismissed?

Yes, forgery charges can be dropped or dismissed if the evidence is insufficient or if the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had the intent to defraud.

How can a defense attorney help in a forgery case?

A defense attorney can help in various ways – from challenging the evidence and identifying weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, to negotiating plea bargains or representing you in court. Having an experienced attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

What are the defenses against forgery charges?

Common defenses include claims that no forgery occurred, there was no intent to defraud, or the evidence was obtained through an illegal search. Remember, it’s important to consult with an attorney for advice tailored to your specific case.

Can I seal my record if I’m convicted of forgery?

Generally, yes. A forgery conviction can be sealed if certain conditions are met, such as completing the sentence and the waiting period or probationary requirements and having no subsequent criminal convictions. It’s important to speak with a qualified attorney who can explain your options and help you navigate the process. Your attorney can provide more information on whether this is an option for you.a

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