Forgery Criminal Defense Lawyer in Charleston, SC
The crime of forgery in SC covers a wide range of conduct – most people think of forgery as signing someone else’s name without permission, but it is much broader than that…
What is forgery in South Carolina, and what are the potential penalties for a SC forgery conviction?
What is the Definition of Forgery in SC?
Forgery in SC is much more than just forging someone’s name on a check or other document. It applies to any “instrument of writing” like a check, money order, contract, letter, affidavits, or any other document, and includes:
- Making a false document;
- Forging a false document or signature;
- Counterfeiting a false document (although federal law enforcement usually steps in when money is counterfeited, this statute also covers counterfeit bills);
- Erasing, making changes to, or falsifying land records;
- Helping someone else to commit a forgery;
- Causing someone else to commit a forgery;
- Paying someone else to commit a forgery; or
- Publishing a forgery.
Even if someone else forged or created a check, affidavit, or other document, you can be arrested and found guilty of forgery simply for presenting the document or attempting to cash a fraudulent check…
Can I Go to Jail for Forgery in SC?
A SC forgery conviction carries prison time, and, in many cases, there will be multiple counts of forgery – a separate charge for each check or other document that was presented.
The potential penalties are based on the dollar amount:
- Up to three years in prison if there is no dollar value – this would apply to an affidavit or other non-financial documents;
- Up to five years in prison for each financial document up to $5000; or
- Up to ten years in prison for each financial document up to $10,000.
Do I Have to Pay Restitution if I’m Convicted of Forgery in SC?
If the alleged victims lost money, you will be required to pay restitution if you are convicted.
Whether you plead guilty or are found guilty at trial, you are entitled to a restitution hearing where, if you do not agree with the amount of restitution claimed, you can challenge the amount and require the prosecutor and alleged victims to present testimony and evidence to prove the amount of the losses.
If the prosecutor goes forward on multiple forgery indictments for multiple checks, there will also be substantial court costs and fines attached to each indictment – in some cases, if there is a guilty plea, the prosecutor can dismiss all but a few of the charges and attach the restitution to the remaining charges, which reduces the total court costs and fines.
How Do I Defend Against Forgery Charges?
First, get a Charleston criminal defense lawyer immediately – do not talk to police or investigators until you have met with your attorney.
You may have several defenses depending on the facts of your case. We may be able to demonstrate that you are innocent of the charges after an independent investigation. The state may have problems with their evidence – they will have to prove that the documents in question were forgeries, which may require expert testimony or witnesses from stores or banks who can testify as to a document’s authenticity.
You may have a reasonable explanation for what happened, that the police and alleged victims have not been listening to…
SC Forgery Criminal Defense Attorney in Charleston
If you have been charged with forgery in the Charleston, SC area, we will investigate your case, negotiate with the prosecutor, get your case dismissed, find an acceptable resolution, or try your case to a jury.
Call Charleston forgery defense lawyer Grant B. Smaldone now at (843) 808-2100 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation about your case.