Forgery is a very serious economic crime in Arkansas. The definition for forgery under the state law is when a person makes, completes, alters, counterfeits, possesses or utters any written instrument that purports to be or is calculated to become or to represent if completed the act of: 1. A person who did not authorize that act; 2. A fictitious person, or 3. A person who authorized an act that was not authorized by law. Additionally, the person must have the intent to defraud when committing forgery.

There are two different types of Arkansas forgery that carry different penalties. First there is forgery in the first degree. This is when a person forges a written instrument that is money, a security, a postage or revenue stamp, or other instrument issued by the government; or a stock, bond or similar instrument representing an interest in property or a claim against a corporation or its property. Forgery in the second degree is of a deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment, check, commercial instrument, credit card, or other written instrument that does or may evidence, create, transfer, terminate, or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obligation, or status. It can also include public records or documents issued by a public office or government agent.

So the differences, basically, in first and second degree forgery are that first degree forgery is for money, stocks, bonds, or other documents that represent an interest in property, and second-degree forgery is for things that have to do with legal rights, like contracts, wills, checks, and public records. First-degree forgery in Arkansas is penalized more severely. It is a Class B felony which carries a minimum of five years punishment. Second-degree forgery is a Class C felony punished at a minimum of three years. That’s a lot of time for falsifying a document. You should talk to an Arkansas forgery lawyer if you’ve been charged. You must start building a defense. Can the state prove you had fraudulent intent? Was it your name on the documents or someone else? These and other issues must be investigated. Patrick Stegall is an Arkansas forgery crimes lawyer. Whether you wish to maintain your innocence and fight the charge or you are looking to get the best deal possible, he can help. Contact him at (901) 205-9894 or by email pstegall@stegall-law.com.

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