Forgery and producing false identification in Utah can have significant consequences. A conviction can result in up to 15 years in prison as well as substantial fines for forging identification documents. You can face forgery or related charges not only for creating false documents but for other actions such as altering a valid driver's license, signing another person's name to a document, or issuing documents without proper authorization.
Salt Lake City Forgery Lawyer
Levitt Legal, PLLC can help you avoid severe penalties and consequences for your charge of forgery or producing false identification in Northern Utah. Salt Lake City forgery attorney Darren Levitt is experienced and knowledgeable in all areas of Utah criminal defense, including forgery and producing false identification charges.
Contact Levitt Legal, PLLC at (801) 455-1743 for a free consultation about your forgery charge today.
Utah Forgery Information Center
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Forgery Charges in Salt Lake County
Forgery is defined by Utah Code § 76-6-501(2) as making any unauthorized alteration to a document with fraudulent intent, or distributing altered documents with knowledge that a fraud is being facilitated. It is also considered “forgery” to produce or distribute any document which:
- Pretends to be the act of another person, whether that person actually exists or not
- Pretends to be an act on behalf of and with the authority of another person or organization. Even if you sign your own name to the document, this is still considered a “forgery” if you do not have the authority to create or distribute the document on behalf of that person or organization
- Pretends to have been executed with a false time, place, or numerical sequence
- Pretends to be a copy of a document that does not actually exist
Acts that may result in a forgery charge include passing bad checks or other financial documents, signing another person's name to a government document, altering a document issued by a private entity and then submitting it to a government agency for identification or verification purposes, or attaching a dated signature to a document it was not originally intended for.
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Forgery of an Identification Document in Utah
It is an even more serious offense to be charged with producing or transferring a false identification document such as a driver's license or passport. Identification document includes any document made or issued by or under the authority of a governmental entity of a type intended or commonly accepted for the purpose of identification of individuals. This includes documents issued by the state of Utah, the federal government, other state governments, and foreign government entities such as Mexico, a Canadian province, or the European Union.
You can be charged with this offense for producing or transferring identification documents that were not actually issued by the government authority that they purport to be issued by, and also for deceitfully altering government identification documents after they have been issued. For example, if you alter the birthdate on your driver's license, this is considered “production of a false identification document.”
You may also be charged with this offense for:
- Transferring stolen identification documents, such as Social Security cards
- Transferring identification documents that you know were not produced with lawful authority, for example a driver's license illegally produced by a rogue DMV agent
- Production, transfer, or possession of equipment or authentication features intended to be used in the production of false identification documents
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Penalties for Forgery in Salt Lake City
Forgery is a third-degree felony in Utah. A conviction can result in a sentence of up to five years in prison. A conviction can also result in a fine of up to $10,000, in addition to forfeiture of materials and equipment involved in the forgery.
Producing or transferring a false identification document is a more serious second-degree felony. A conviction can result in a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, along with a fine of up to $10,000, in addition to forfeiture of materials and equipment involved in the forgery.
Any conviction will also stay on a permanent criminal record and show up on background checks. You may also face additional related charges for an act of forgery, for example you may face charges of theft or attempted theft if the goal of the forgery was to fraudulently acquire money or other property.
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Defenses to a Utah Forgery Charge
To obtain a forgery conviction, the prosecution generally must prove that you acted knowingly and for fraudulent or deceitful purposes. If you come into possession of a document that you believe to be real, you should not be convicted of forgery for transferring or attempting to use this document. If you genuinely believe you have authority to sign a document on behalf of another, such as an employer or family member, this may be a defense to a forgery charge.
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Find a Forgery Lawyer in Salt Lake City
After being arrested or charged with a serious crime, such as forgery or producing or transferring a false identification document, you should contact an experienced forgery attorney as soon as possible. Call Levitt Legal, PLLC today to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case and possible defenses to help you obtain the best possible outcome.
Call (801) 455-1743 for a free consultation about your forgery charge today.