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Forgery

Under New York Penal Law § 170.00, a written instrument is defined as “any instrument or article, including computer data or a computer program, containing written or printed matter or the equivalent thereof, used for the purpose of reciting, embodying, conveying or recording information, or constituting a symbol or evidence of value, right, privilege or identification, which is capable of being used to the advantage or disadvantage of some person.” A person who—with the intent to
defraud, deceive, or injure another party—falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument can be charged with forgery in New York.

Possession of a forged instrument—with the knowledge that it is forged and with the intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another party—is also a criminal offense. Both of these crimes can be misdemeanor or felony offenses, and convictions have the potential to result in serious long-term consequences for alleged offenders.

Lawyer for Forgery Arrests in Nassau County, NY

If you have been arrested or you think that you might be under investigation for an alleged forgery offense in New York, it is in your best interest to not say anything to authorities without legal representation. Contact Law Office of Stephanie Selloni as soon as possible for help possibly getting the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Stephanie Selloni is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Nassau County who represents clients accused of white collar crimes in Glen Cove, Garden City, Freeport, Massapequa Park, North Hempstead, and many other communities on Long Island. Call 516-972-1212 right now to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will let our lawyer provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case.

New York Forgery Offenses Information Center


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Forgery Penalties on Long Island

Article 170 of the New York State Penal Law established three degrees of forgery offenses. The type of written instrument involved in the alleged offense determines the degree of the crime.

Forgery in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law § 170.05

In general, a person commits forgery in the third degree when—with the intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another party—he or she falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument. Forgery in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Forgery in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law § 170.10

An alleged crime becomes the class D felony offense of forgery in the second degree punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 if an alleged offender—with the intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another party—falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument which is or purports to be, or which is calculated to become or to represent if completed:

  • A deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment, commercial instrument, credit card, or other instrument which does or may evidence, create, transfer, terminate or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obligation or status;
  • A public record, or an instrument filed or required or authorized by law to be filed in or with a public office or public servant;
  • A written instrument officially issued or created by a public office, public servant or governmental instrumentality;
  • Part of an issue of tokens, public transportation transfers, certificates or other articles manufactured and designed for use as symbols of value usable in place of money for the purchase of property or services; or
  • A prescription of a duly licensed physician or other person authorized to issue the same for any drug or any instrument or device used in the taking or administering of drugs for which a prescription is required by law.

Forgery in the First Degree, New York Penal Law § 170.15

An alleged offender can be charged with the class C felony offense of forgery in the first degree punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000 if he or she—with the intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another party—falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument which is or purports to be, or which is calculated to become or to represent if completed:

  • Part of an issue of money, stamps, securities or other valuable instruments issued by a government or governmental instrumentality; or
  • Part of an issue of stock, bonds or other instruments representing interests in or claims against a corporate or other organization or its property.

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Related Forgery Crimes in Nassau County

While forgery offenses in New York relate to the creation of a forged instrument, people can also face criminal charges for the possession of a forged instrument. The penalties for criminal possession of a forged instrument are largely the same as forgery offenses:

  • Criminal possession of a forged instrument in the third degree, New York Penal Law § 170.20 — It is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for an alleged offender to—with knowledge that it is forged and with intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another party—utter or possess a forged instrument.
  • Criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, New York Penal Law § 170.25 — It is a class D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 for an alleged offender to—with knowledge that it is forged and with intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another party—utter or possess a forged instrument of a kind specified in New York Penal Law § 170.10.
  • Criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree, New York Penal Law § 170.30 — It is a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000 for an alleged offender to—with knowledge that it is forged and with intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another party—utter or possess a forged instrument of a kind specified in New York Penal Law § 170.15.

New York Penal Law § 170.40 makes it a class D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 for an alleged offender to possess forgery devices. A person can be charged with this crime if he or she makes or possesses with knowledge of its character any plate, die or other device, apparatus, equipment, or article specifically designed for use in counterfeiting or otherwise forging written instruments; or with intent to use, or to aid or permit another to use, the same for purposes of forgery, he or she makes or possesses any device, apparatus, equipment or article capable of or adaptable to such use.

State law in New York also criminalizes forgery relating to a vehicle identification number (VIN). Under New York Penal Law § 170.65, forgery of a VIN is a class E felony offense punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

An alleged offender can be charged with forgery of a VIN if he or she:

  • knowingly destroys, covers, defaces, alters or otherwise changes the form or appearance of a vehicle identification number on any vehicle or component part thereof, except tires; or
  • removes any such number from a vehicle or component part thereof, except as required by the provisions of the vehicle and traffic law; or
  • affixes a vehicle identification number to a vehicle, except in accordance with the provisions of the vehicle and traffic law.
  • with intent to defraud, knowingly manufactures, produces or reproduces a vehicle identification number label, sticker or plate which was not manufactured, produced or reproduced in accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the United States National Highway Safety Administration and/or in accordance with the provisions of the state vehicle and traffic law.

New York Penal Law § 170.70 also makes it a class E felony offense for an alleged offender to possess a vehicle, vehicle part, or VIN label, sticker, or plate in which the VIN has been removed in violation of federal law.


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New York Resources for Forgery Offenses

Article 170 | New York State Penal Law — View the full text of the statutes governing forgery-related offenses in New York. In addition to forgery crimes, also learn about criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of forgery devices, and unlawfully using slugs (objects or articles which are capable of being inserted or deposited in coin machines as improper substitutes for genuine coins, bills, or tokens). You can also find information about forgery and illegal possession of a VIN.

New York State Unified Court System | Criminal Jury Instructions — On this website, you can download the jury instructions that are provided for each type of forgery offense listed under Article 170 of the New York State Penal Law. The instructions not only define each crime but also list each element of the offense that a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order for jurors to find alleged offenders guilty of the offenses. Jury instructions are rarely used verbatim because they need to be customized for the unique aspects of individual cases, but the instructions still provide a helpful overview of what will be considered in these types of cases.


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Law Office of Stephanie Selloni | Nassau County Forgery Lawyer

Do you believe that you could be under investigation or were you already arrested in New York for alleged forgery? Do not make any kind of statement to authorities without legal counsel.

Nassau County criminal defense attorney Stephanie Selloni aggressively defends clients in Lynbrook, Oyster Bay, Long Beach, Hempstead, Mineola, and surrounding areas on Long Island. She can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call 516-972-1212 or complete an online contact form today to schedule a free initial consultation.


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