What Is The Law On Forgery In Georgia And What Are The Punishments For It?
Forgery is a crime where a person intentionally, wilfully and deliberately alters, recreates, possesses or produces any existing work of value with the intention of profiting off of it. In the State of Georgia, there are four degrees of forgery, and each degree has its own category of crimes and punishments that anyone found guilty of this crime may be penalized for.
What does Georgia Consider to be 'forgery'?
In Georgia, anyone found guilty of producing, possessing or uttering a forged document can be punished under the law. Forgery is a crime involving deception, and is only considered a crime when the original namesake of the forged item was unaware of such a forgery and did not give their permission to use it.
Intention is very important when it comes to all crimes related to forgery. What this means is that a person must have the knowledge that what they are producing or in possession of is a forged document. If a person possesses such an item without the knowledge that the item is forged, then such a situation cannot be considered as forgery.
An example of this is a person who purchases an illegal and forged concert ticket, but does not know that the ticket is forged. However, if they were aware that the ticket was forged and tried to pass it off as authentic, then they can be charged for this crime.
Similarly, the person responsible for producing and selling the concert ticket can also be held liable for and guilty under forgery laws in Georgia.
What are Georgia's Four Degrees of Forgery?
The Georgia Code, Title 16, Chapter 9 has the chapter titled 'Forgery and Fraudulent Practices'. Under it, there are four degrees of forgery:
- Forgery in the First Degree: When a person forges any item that is not a check, does so using a fake name, and the person who allegedly made it did not give them such permission, and they are in utterance of it, then it is a forgery in the first degree.
- Forgery in the Second Degree: When a person forges any item other than a check, uses a fake name while doing so, and the person who allegedly it is named after did not give them an authority to do so, then it is a forgery in the second degree.
- Forgery in the Third Degree: When a person forges a check that is valued at $1500 or above, yet the alleged person it is named after did not give them such authority.
- Forgery in the Fourth Degree: When a person forges a check that is valued at under $1500, and the alleged owner who it was forged after did not give such authority, then it is a forgery in the fourth degree.
What are the Punishments for Forgery in Georgia?
Georgia assigns penalties for forgery based on the degree it falls under. The punishments in the State are:
- Forgery in the first degree is a felony that is punishable by a time in prison that is not less than one year and not more than fifteen years.
- Forgery in the second degree is a felony that is punishable by time served in jail that is not less than one year and not more than fifteen years.
- Forgery in the third degree is a felony punishable by incarceration for a period of not less than one and not greater than five years.
- Forgery in the fourth degree is a misdemeanor punishable by one year in prison. However, if this offense is committed more than twice, then on the third instance, the convict will be given a felony charge. The punishment for this felony charge is imprisonment not less than one year or more than five years.