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Forgery of a Financial Instrument

Financial crimes, although aren’t violent, are still prosecuted seriously under Texas law. Using deceptive means as a way to defraud another person or organization such as forgery of a financial instrument is a crime in Texas. It can include a variety of scenarios including filling out credit card information in another’s name to forging a stranger’s name on a check.

If you or someone you know has been charged with forgery of a financial instrument, then it’s important you have legal representation secured as soon as possible. It’s a common misconception among people that white collar crimes carry little to no penalties. In reality, a forgery charge can result in serious fines in the thousands and even time behind bars.

White Collar Crime Attorney for Forgery in Austin, Texas

In Texas, forging or altering a financial document is a criminal offense with serious penalties. If you or someone you know has been charged with a white collar crime, we urge you to get in contact with an experienced and resourceful attorney such as Kevin Bennett.

The Law Office of Kevin Bennett has been in practice representing clients in Texas courts for years. He has the skills, defense techniques and knowledge needed to fight for your charges. Additionally, attorney Bennett is passionate about what he does and cares for his clients. You will never be left on the back burner or face scrutiny from the staff at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Call (512) 476-4626 today to set up your first consultation free.

The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents people throughout the greater Travis County area including Austin, Pflugerville, Lago Vista and Del Valle.

Overview of Forgery Crimes in Texas


What Constitutes Forgery of a Financial Instrument in Texas?

Financial crimes involving someone altering, making, forging, or possessing a forged writing of a financial instrument can result in harsh penalties. Under the Texas law, you’re guilty of forgery of a financial instrument if you forge writing with the intent to defraud or harm another person.

This definition may seem vague because it covers a wide range of crimes. According to Texas Penal Code Section 32.21, the term “forge” means:

  • To make, complete, alter, execute or authenticate any writing that purports:
    • To be the act of another who didn’t authorize it;
    • It was executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence that was false; or
    • A copy of an original when no original document existed
  • To transfer, issue, register the transfer of, publish, pass or utter a writing that was forged in one of the ways listed above; or
  • To possess a writing that is forged with the intent to transfer, issue, register the transfer of, pass or publish it

The term “writing” refers to any type of:

  • Money, token, stamps, coins, seals, badges, credit cards and trademarks;
  • Printing or any other method of recording information; or
  • Symbols of privilege, right, value or identification

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Penalties for Forgery of a Financial Instrument in Texas

The consequences associated with forgery of a financial instrument are nothing to laugh about. The penalties depend on the specific circumstances of the case including what type of financial writing was forged and if it was used to obtain property or services. Committing forgery of a financial instrument without aggravating factors is a class A misdemeanor.

The penalties for a class A misdemeanor include:

  • Up to one year in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $4,000

The crime is enhanced to a state jail felony if the financial writing forged was one of the following documents:

  • Will;
  • Deed;
  • Deed of trust;
  • Mortgage;
  • Security agreement;
  • Security instrument;
  • Credit card;
  • Check;
  • Authorization to debit an account at a financial institution;
  • Similar sight of money, contract, release or another commercial instrument

A state jail felony’s maximum penalty includes:

  • Up to 2 years in state jail; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Forgery of a financial instrument is enhanced to a third-degree felony charge if the document altered is or purports to be:

  • A government record;
  • A document important to the issue of money, securities, postage or revenue stamps; or
  • Other instruments issued by the state or national government; or
  • Documents related to stocks, bonds or other instruments representing the interests and assets of another person

Third-degree felonies are punishable by:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

If it’s proven in trial that the crime was committed to obtain or attempt to obtain a property or service, the crime will be reclassified based on the amount of the property or services stolen. These penalties include the following:

  • Less than $100 – Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to $500;
  • $100 – $750 – Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
    • Up to one year in jail; and
    • A fine of up to $4,000
  • $750 – $30,000 – State jail felony, which is punishable by:
    • Up to two years in state jail; and
    • A fine of up to $10,000
  • $30,000 – $150,000 – Third-degree felony, which is punishable by:
    • Up to 10 years in prison; and
    • A fine of up to $10,000
  • $150,000 – $300,000 – Second-degree felony, which is punishable by:
    • Up to 20 years in prison;
    • A fine of up to $10,000
  • More than $300,000 – First-degree felony, which is punishable by:
    • Up to 99 years in prison; and
    • A fine of up to $10,000

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Additional Resources

Identity Theft and Fraud – Visit a document provided by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office to learn more about identity theft and fraud. Learn more about identity theft, how it can damage your credit and how to monitor your credit for any fraudulent activity.

Forgery Laws in Texas – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about forgery laws in the state of Texas. Access the site to learn more regarding financial crimes such as forgery, writing a bad check, trademark counterfeiting and more.


Forgery Defense Lawyer in Travis County, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with the crime of forgery of a financial instrument, it’s imperative you have secured legal representation. Forgery involving a financial instrument is a serious crime and depending on the facts of the case you could be saddled with felony charges. That means expensive fines and even time spent in prison.

Fight back with quality representation from The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Kevin Bennett is the managing attorney and has a love for what he does. He represents clients for all types of crimes and has years of experience and resources. Call (512) 476-4626 to set up your first consultation free. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents people throughout the greater Austin area including Lago Vista, Del Valle, Bee Cave and Pflugerville.


This article was last updated on September 30, 2019. 

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