Forgery is a felony-level crime. New Jersey defines forgery as the crime of creating or altering a document or other instrument without authorization to do so and in order to defraud another person. A person can also be charged for using an item known to be forged even if he/she did not create it.

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1a, in order to be convicted of forgery, an individual must have:

  • altered or changed “any writing of another without his authorization”;
  • made, completed, executed, authenticated, issued or transferred “any writing so that it purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act…”; or
  • presented “any writing which he knows to be forged in a manner specified” above.

In order to be convicted of the crime of forgery in New Jersey, the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual performed at least one of these three actions “with the purpose to defraud or injure” another individual.

Commonly forged items include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Documents of title or deeds
  • Stocks or bonds
  • Checks
  • Prescriptions for drugs
  • Passports
  • Drivers Licenses
  • Credit cards

What Is Considered Forgery and What Are the Penalties for Forgery in NJ?

Third-degree forgery: Forgery of the following items is a third-degree felony in New Jersey:

  • money, securities (such as government bonds), postage, licenses, or other instruments issued by the government;
  • corporate securities (such as stocks or bonds), or other instruments representing interest in or claims against property (such as deeds or liens);
  • prescription blanks;
  • checks;
  • personal identification documentation (IDs).

In New Jersey, possession of a forged device is also a third-degree felony. A person convicted of a third-degree felony in New Jersey faces a possible sentence of three to five years in prison, a fine of at least $500, or both.

Fourth-degree forgery: Forgery of items other than those listed above and for possession of 15 or more forged or altered sales receipts or UPC labels, are a fourth-degree crimes in New Jersey. A conviction of fourth-degree forgery in New Jersey means a possible sentence of up to 18 months in jail and/or a fine of at least $200.

Disorderly-person forgery: Possession of a single forged or altered sales receipt or UPC label is a disorderly person’s offense (akin to a misdemeanor). A conviction of a disorderly person’s offense can result in a sentence of up to six months in jail, a fine of at least $100, or both.

The law offices of Carlos Diaz-Cobo is experienced and committed to successfully defending individuals accused of forgery. Call the Law Offices of Carlos Diaz-Cobo at 732-249-1125.