Forgery is the use of a falsified document or other item that’s intended to defraud someone. The document or item can be handwritten, typed, or printed from a computer. It can also be a document that has been altered in one of the same ways.

Even possession of a forged document can be charged as a crime.

Types of forgery include:

• Checks and other banking documents

• Property deeds, contracts, and powers of attorney (POA)

• Artwork, or copying art to present as genuine

• Diplomas to falsify educational records

• Counterfeiting, such as money or reproduction of goods, i.e., designer bags and other high-end products

• Falsifying federal documents, such as military or immigration documents

• Securities

• Prescription forgery (see below)

Forgery can also be part of other types of fraud charges.

If you’ve been contacted by federal agents or district attorneys to discuss possible forgery charges, speak with one of Farkas & Crowley’s experienced federal criminal defense attorneys immediately.

Federal And State Charges

The crime of forgery can be charged in both state and federal courts, depending on the circumstances. Federal investigations can take months or years before charges are filed so that the agency can gather sufficient evidence. The federal agencies involved have near unlimited resources to pursue their investigations. 

Federal forgery charges

If the documents are intended to defraud the federal government, involves money, or federal documents, such as a passport or passport application, they are charged as federal forgery. Mailing or carrying a forged document across state lines upgrades the charges from state to federal, and invokes much harsher penalties.

Florida State charges of forgery

Even if a charge is federal, Florida can still file its own state-level forgery charges separately from the federal charges.

Florida’s own state statutes (Fla. Stat. § 831.07) establish basic forgery as a third-degree felony, with a potential for five years in prison and fines of $5,000.

Whether state or federal, Farkas & Crowley’s criminal defense attorneys are ready to help defend you against forgery charges.

Prescription Forgery

Prescription fraud occurs when a person uses a deceptive means—forgery—to illegally obtain a prescription, including:

• Using a forged signature from a physician to obtain a prescription

• Forged or false identification to obtain a prescription

• Other illegal means to obtain a prescription

In addition to forgery, prescription fraud is usually charged as a felony. Additional drug charges may be included if a person obtains one or more prescription drugs by forgery or other methods of deceit.

• Illegally possessing a prescription form is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of $5,000, even without obtaining medication.

• Illegally possession of a prescription form and illegal possession of a controlled substance is an add-on charge that includes five years in prison and an additional $5,000 in fines.

Possession of a large number of prescription pills can lead to charges of drug trafficking, even if the pills were acquired solely for personal consumption.

Legal Defenses Against Forgery Charges

Forgery charges involve the intent to defraud, and prosecutors will have to prove that someone did. One defense we will use is to deny that an accused person had the intent to defraud, and did not knowingly commit forgery or fraud. We can also show if another person, not the accused, intended to defraud by committing forgery.

Evidence examination is also another defense strategy. A person may be unaware that something they received is a forgery, and carefully reviewing evidence will reveal that.

One affirmative defense is if the accused acted under coercion to commit the forgery. Another is to show that the accused acted with the consent of the alleged victim.

Similarly, if the evidence being used was gathered using a violation of your civil rights, we may be able to prevent that evidence from being used against you.

The Penalties for Forgery

Federal forgery charges are harsh, and can lead to as much as 20 years in prison. The judge will have discretion during sentencing and has the option of including special considerations if applicable.

At the state level, forgery begins as a third-degree felony with up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. But two or more charges will greatly increase both jail time and fines.

Whether state or federal, forgery charges can lead to significant fines and jail time, and greatly impact your rights. If you learn that you are being investigated or accused of forgery, do not answer questions from a federal agent or other law enforcement.

Speak with our attorneys immediately before you do anything else. We’re here when you need us.


Adam Farkas and Jacqueline Crowley are experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers who understand the rights of Americans when it comes to being a criminal defendant. We are experienced with criminal cases in federal court, including forgery. We will defend your rights and bring a rigorous defense to your case.

With Farkas & Crowley, you get our experience as former prosecutors as well as our experience as a dedicated defense team to help you get the best possible outcome for your case. Call us 24/7 at 561-444-9529.


Looking for a criminal law firm? Farkas & Crowley, P.A. are the attorneys for you. They are extremely knowledgeable of the law and go the extra mile for their clients. Their expertise and impeccable work ethic are hard to beat. Available 24/7. Highly recommended.

-Marla Newman

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Farkas & Crowley, PA

Criminal Defense & Family Law Lawyers