Falsifying information on an official document is a serious criminal offense in Omaha. State law imposes various penalties for forgery, depending on the exact nature of the alleged crime. Accordingly, forgery can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense under different circumstances.
Retain an Omaha forgery lawyer if you were accused of forging or illegally altering a document. Regardless of whether you were charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, the consequences you could face upon conviction include steep fines, probation, and lengthy periods of incarceration. Assistance from a white-collar criminal defense attorney could make all the difference in your case.
Varying Degrees of Forgery Defined by State Law
According to Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-602, forgery in the first degree is defined as knowingly and intentionally creating fake money, bonds, bank notes, and/or other written tender. This offense is classified as a Class III felony.
Most forgery offenses in Omaha, however, are charged in the second degree. Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-603 defines second-degree forgery as falsely creating, completing, or altering a written document that grants, terminates, or otherwise affects a legal interest or obligation. A person can be charged with second-degree forgery if they use a false name to sign a legal document, create a fake legal document, or use a stolen identity to complete a legal document. Second-degree forgery is a Class IIA felony in Omaha.
Under Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-605, it is also illegal to knowingly possess a forged document and to knowingly possess materials such as specialized dye and printing plates used to produce forged documents. A well-versed Omaha attorney can help you fight to get your forgery charges dropped or reduced.
What Consequences Could Follow a Forgery Conviction?
The severity of a forgery conviction depends on the degree of charge and the value of the forged assets. For example, first-degree forgery is a Class III felony. A Class III felony is punishable by up to 4 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine.
For second-degree forgery, if the real or purported value of a forged asset is less than $1,500, the offense would be considered a misdemeanor. Forgery involving less than $500 in value is a Class II misdemeanor, whereas forgery involving between $500 and $1,500 is a Class I misdemeanor. Forgery of a document meant to procure between $1,500 and $5,000 in assets or services is considered a Class IV felony offense.
Finally, forgery involving more than $5,000 of real or purported value is a Class IIA felony. Accordingly, the maximum penalties for a second-degree forgery conviction range from 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine to 20 years in state prison.
Potential penalties for possessing forged income or assets vary along similar lines. For example, knowingly possessing any forged bank note, bond, stamp, or other item with direct financial value greater than $5,000 is a Class IV felony punishable by up to 2 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. A local lawyer at Berry Law can offer more insight on how the value of allegedly forged assets can impact charges and criminal sentencing.
Get in Touch with an Omaha Forgery Attorney Today
When forgery is classified as a felony, the consequences that follow a conviction are usually life-altering. Even when this offense is only a misdemeanor, an unfavorable outcome in your criminal case could lead to significant loss of personal and professional opportunities, not to mention fines and jail time.
To effectively defend your best interests against allegations of falsifying documents or counterfeiting funds, you should seek help from an Omaha forgery lawyer. Call Berry Law today to set up a confidential consultation.