If arrested for Forgery, you need an Illinois Forgery Attorney to fight for you. While property crimes not involving violence are not often highly publicized, they are taken extremely seriously by Illinois authorities and aggressively prosecuted. As with any other criminal matter, a forgery case has the potential to result in probation, fines, restitution, as well as jail time. In addition, the presence of a forgery issue on your criminal record will be part of the public record, and has the potential to keep you from getting a job or obtaining a state-issued license, along with other potential collateral consequences. Consequently, it is very important that people who are accused of forgery in Illinois do everything in their power to defend their reputation avoid a conviction appearing on their record. Fortunately, an experienced criminal defense attorney can often mitigate the potential consequences you may face and in some cases may be able to keep you from being accused in the first place.
The Illinois Forgery Statute
Under 720 ILCS 5/17-3, it is illegal to knowingly and with the intent to defraud:
- Create a false document or change any document to make it false, when the document is apparently capable of defrauding another person;
- Issue or deliver a document that falls within the category described above knowing that it was falsified
- Possess a document known to fall within the above category with an intent to issue or deliver it;
- Unlawfully use a digital signature of another person; or
- Unlawfully use another person’s signature device of another person to create an electronic signature.
Forgery can encompass a wide variety of conduct, but often takes the form of fraudulent checks or other financial instruments. Fortunately, there are many potential defenses that an attorney may be able to make when defending against allegations of forgery. The specific defenses raised will depend on the circumstances of your case, but often include:
- Lack of intent to defraud or deceive;
- Lack of knowledge that a document was forged;
- Compulsion; or
- Lack of competence to have committed the crime.
Whenever a crime requires that the defendant act “knowingly” or with “intent,” it requires the state to establish that element beyond a reasonable doubt. Because it is impossible to read a person’s thoughts, intent or knowledge can be inferred from other evidence. Because the evidence of intent is inherently circumstantial, the requirement also provides defense attorneys an opportunity to present additional evidence suggesting lack of intent or knowledge. Negating one element of a crime is sufficient to have a case against you dropped or obtain an acquittal.
These arguments are often very technical and require a thorough understanding of criminal law and procedure. As a result, it is important that people facing an Illinois forgery case consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
Retaining an experienced criminal defense lawyer at the beginning of a criminal matter can often result in a much better outcome than you would receive if you proceeded unrepresented. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyers, call Goldman & Associates today at (773) 484-3131 or (847) 215-2600.