4 Types of Forgery Crimes Under Virginia Law
From counterfeit bills to fake IDs and altered birth certificates, there are many different types of forgery crimes. In most cases, forged documents, records, and other instruments are used to perpetrate fraud. In order to comprehend the boundaries of this offense, the following sections will explore four types of forgery crimes under Virginia law.
- Forgery of a Public Record
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-168, it is unlawful to forge a public record. This is in part due to the importance of public records in the administration of government benefits and privileges. Section 18.2-168 includes government records, certificates, returns, and attestations in the definition of a public record.
Using this broad standard, most documents that originate from a public officer or employee can qualify as a public record. Any person who violates Section 18.2-168 is guilty of a Class 4 felony.
- Forgery of a Government Seal
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-169, it is unlawful to forge an official government seal. Various branches of the Virginia government use these seals to legitimize official documents. Specifically, Section 18.2-169 prohibits any person from forging the seal of:
- The Commonwealth of Virginia;
- A Virginia legal court;
- A Virginia public office;
- A Virginia political body; or
- A Virginia corporate body.
Additionally, it is unlawful under Section 18.2-169 to possess or hide any instrument capable of forging any government seal mentioned above. In either case, forgery of a government seal is a Class 4 felony in Virginia.
- Forgery of a Financial Instrument
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-170, it is unlawful to forge a financial instrument, such as cash, coins or bank notes. In specific terms, Section 18.2-170 prohibits any person from:
- Forging coins, notes, bills, or other financial instruments;
- Constructing coins, notes, bills, or other financial instruments in the name of a nonexistent banking company;
- Using coins, notes, bills, or other financial instruments with knowledge of its forged, false, or counterfeit nature.
Any person who violates Section 18.2-170 is guilty of a Class 4 felony in Virginia and potentially subject to prison time and criminal fines.
- Forgery of a Writing
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-172, it is unlawful to forge other writings that do not qualify as public records, government seals, or financial instruments. This is a general requirement, applying to a wide range of writings and documents. If any person forges such a writing, they are guilty of a Class 5 felony. The same applies when a person uses such a writing with knowledge of its forged, false, or counterfeit nature.
Contact Us Today for Assistance
If you are facing criminal charges for forgery or another fraud offense in Virginia, it is wise to contact a trustworthy criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP have recognized capabilities in criminal defense, including forgery and other fraud offenses. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.