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What Is the Law on Forgery in Delaware and What Are the Punishments for It?

A Forgery is an act of imitation, copying or laundering money illegally, with the intention of deceiving or harming someone. In the State of Delaware, forgery is considered to be a criminal offense. While the punishment for a forgery depends on the degree to which the victim was deceived or harmed, the offender can face a long prison sentence and will be required to pay a considerable amount as a fine if convicted at the court.

Forgery in Delaware

As per § 861 of the Delaware Code 11, forgery can be defined as any action wherein a person is guilty of committing one or all of the following frauds, with the intention of deceiving, harming or incriminating another person or aiding someone else to commit the fraud of:

1) Altering a document or any such written material without being authorized to do so by the owner

2) Illegally creates, imitates, completes or authenticates any piece of writing or art which is owned or made by another person without their permission or consent.

Delaware Forgery Law

3) A person is in possession of a document or any such written article which they know is a Forgery.

If an offender is convicted for forgery, they will be punished as per the amount of loss incurred by the injured party. Depending upon the severity of the offense, the crime could be classified anywhere between Class F felony to a Class A Misdemeanor.

Forgery in the First Degree

As per § 861 of the Delaware Code:

  1. a) A person guilty of forging part of issued money, stamps, securities or any other such valuable instrument that is issued by the government or any similar agency or governmental instrumentality, and/or
  2. b) a part of issued bonds, stocks or any similar documents that may represent a person's interest in or claim against a corporation, business house or similar organization or property, will be convicted for a forgery in the first degree.

Forgery in the first degree is classified as a Class F Felony. The person or persons convicted for forgery in the first degree will have to serve a prison term for a maximum of 3 years.

Delaware Forgery Law

Forgery in the Second Degree

According to the Delaware law, a forgery in the second degree is a forgery wherein the documents or any other written instruments are:

  1. a) A codicil, deed, will, commercial instrument, contract or any other such instrument which affects the legal rights of an individual, or
  2. b) A form or similar instrument that has been filed or needs to be filed in a public office, or a public record, or
  3. c) An instrument or document created by the public office or a public servant, or
  4. d) Any instrument issued as part of tickets or tokens, certificates or public transport transfers that are usable in place of money, or
  5. e) A prescription provided by a licensed physician or any other individual licensed to provide the same as per the law.

Offenders guilty of forgery in the second degree can be charged with a Class G Felony. They will have to serve a prison term of up to 2 years.

Forgery in the Third Degree

Any Forgery apart from those listed in the forgery of the first and second degree can be classified as a forgery in the third degree. As per Delaware Law, forgery in the third degree is a Class A Misdemeanor. Those found guilty will have to serve a prison term for a maximum of one year. They will further have to pay a fine of up to $2300.

No matter what kind of forgery the offender(s) is convicted for, they will have to pay compensation to the injured party, in addition to serving their sentence and paying a fine.

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