The crime of forgery in Tennessee is a serious offense. It’s considered a property crime because it involves money, but do not think it’s treated less seriously than “personal” crimes such as assault or robbery. If it is a case involving a great deal of money, and/or a vulnerable victim, the penalty can be stiff. Forgery in Tennessee is defined as forging a writing with intent to defraud or harm another. To forge something means to complete or execute any writing so that it purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act. A common example is signing someone else’s name to a check. It could also include changing dates, numbers or contents of documents like wills, contracts, and financial statements. Forgery is theft and is treated very seriously. Forging someone else’s name in order to fraudulently take their money or someone else’s money is not taken lightly by the courts. This crime is, at a minimum, a Class E felony punishable from 1-6 years. In theft cases, anything $500 or less is considered a misdemeanor but there are no misdemeanor forgery charges in Tennessee, even if the amount is under $500. All forgery cases are felonies. Defending a forgery charge will require reviewing the document(s) at issue to see if the government can prove its case. It may even require enlisting the help of a handwriting expert. The government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that not only did the individual commit forgery, but that he or she did so with intent to harm or defraud another. Was the person who has been charged with forgery actually the one whose handwriting is on the document? Could it be someone else? Did the accused have the necessary intent? These are just some of the questions that must be asked in analyzing a forgery case. What happens if you are facing a Tennessee forgery charge where the evidence against you is solid and you wish to avoid going to trial? If you are a first-time offender you would be eligible to have the charge taken off your record by pleading guilty and going on probation. The probation would be for at least a year, and would require restitution and any other conditions the court deems necessary. This option is good for someone who does not want to go through the stress of a trial, and wants to insure that they keep their record clean. But remember–it must be your first offense, and it requires you to admit guilt and be totally honest with the judge, and successfully complete probation. If you have been charged with this crime in West Tennessee, contact Memphis forgery defense lawyer Patrick Stegall. Mr. Stegall is a seasoned criminal defense attorney who specializes in helping first-time offenders stay out of jail and keep a clean record. He can review your case to see whether the government can prove you are guilty. He can also negotiate in your favor so that you receive the lowest sentence possible with the chance to have the charge kept off your record. Please call him at (901) 205-9894 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.