Forgery is an offense under the Illinois Criminal Code that involves misrepresentation with fraudulent intentions. There are many different types of forgery in Illinois. Depending on the object of forgery in question, the punishment can fluctuate greatly. In most cases, forgery crimes include extended confinement and hefty fines.
What are the Illinois Laws Against Forgery?
720 ILCS 5/17-3 establishes the Illinois laws against forgery. Under this section, a person commits forgery if they demonstrate fraudulent intent and knowingly:
- Creates a false document or alters any document to make it false;
- Delivers or uses such a false document, knowing that the document is false;
- Possesses a false document with the intention to deliver or use it and knowing that the document is false;
- Uses the digital signature of another person unlawfully and without authorization; or
- Exploits the signature device of another person unlawfully and without authorization to create a false electronic signature.
In this context, the term “false document” includes but is not necessarily limited to documents that:
- Contain false information of a material nature;
- Claim falsely to be prepared in an official manner; or
- Indicate lawful authority even though such authority is misrepresented.
It is also worth noting that the term “digital signature” has a specific definition under the Financial Institutions Electronic Documents and Digital Signature Act. And the terms “signature device” and “electronic signature” have specific definitions under the Electronic Commerce Security Act.
How Does Illinois Penalize Forgery?
Section 17-3 also details how Illinois penalizes forgery offenses. Under this section, there is a multifaceted punishment system in place. In other words, the applicable penalty changes based on the type of forgery offense in question.
Forgery is a Class A misdemeanor when the crime involves a forged coin or academic degree. Though it does not qualify as a violation if the academic includes an explicit disclaimer providing “for novelty purposes only.” If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois, the maximum punishment includes 364 days in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines.
Forgery is a Class 4 felony when the crime involves a single forged Universal Price Code Label. If convicted of a Class 4 felony in Illinois, the maximum punishment includes 36 months in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines.
In all other cases, forgery is a Class 3 felony. If convicted of a Class 3 felony in Illinois, the maximum punishment includes 60 months in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.