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
- Prescriptions for drugs
- 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;
- 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.