New York Penal Law § 170.10 – Forgery in the Second Degree
Forgery in the Second Degree is a New York crime that prohibits anyone from creating, completing, or altering certain written documents for the purpose of defrauding or deceiving another person or entity. Forgery in the Second Degree is a Class D felony.What Are the Elements of Forgery in the Second Degree?
Under the United States Constitution, in any criminal case, it is the government’s burden to prove the allegations against a defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. To do this, the government’s prosecutor must provide evidence to establish each element of the offense.
The elements of Forgery in the Second Degree are:
- The defendant falsely created, completed, or altered a written instrument;
- The defendant did so with the intent to deceive, injure or defraud another party; and
- The written instrument was one of the following:
- A deed, will, contract, credit card, or other instrument that creates a legal right;
- A public record;
- A written instrument issued by a public office;
- Tokens, transfer tickets or other items used in place of money to purchase goods or services; or
- A prescription for medication.
In this context, the term “written instrument” can refer to any writing “used for the purpose of reciting, embodying, conveying or recording information, or constituting a symbol or evidence of value, right, privilege or identification.” For example, stock certificates, contracts, buy/sell agreements, wills, trust deeds, and promissory notes are all written instruments.Examples of Forgery in the Second Degree
The following are examples of Forgery in the Second Degree:
- Someone creates a fake prescription in hopes of obtaining narcotic painkillers.
- A woman scans a copy of their deceased mother’s will, changes the will to name her as the sole beneficiary, and presents the will to the probate court.
- A man creates fake New York City Transit Authority transfers that he sells to tourists.
While every case is different, prosecutors often bring several charges against a defendant based on a single course of conduct. In the case of Forgery in the Second Degree, the following are the most common related crimes:
- Forgery in the Third Degree – NY Penal Law § 170.05
- Forgery in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 170.15
- Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree – NY Penal Law § 170.20
- Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 170.25
- Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 170.30
- Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices – NY Penal Law § 170.40
- Fraudulent Making of an Electronic Access Device in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 170.75
- Forgery of a Vehicle Identification Number – NY Penal Law § 170.65
- Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 175.05
- Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 175.10
- Tampering with Business Records in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 175.20
- Tampering with Business Records in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 175.25
- Issuing a False Financial Statement – NY Penal Law § 175.45
- Issuing a False Certificate – NY Penal Law § 175.40
There are various defenses to Forgery in the Second Degree. A successful defense can play a major role in reducing—or eliminating—any of the negative consequences that can stem from an arrest. For example, a defense may reduce your sentencing exposure, result in the prosecution withdrawing the case against you, or give the jury doubt, leading to a “not guilty” verdict. The most common defenses include the following:
- You lacked the intent to defraud anyone, even if you falsely created or altered a written instrument;
- The “instrument” was not one of those listed in NY Penal Law § 170.10;
- You were not the one who created or altered the written instrument; and
- The alleged victim consented to your conduct.
Forgery and fraud offenses are complex, and prosecutors sometimes charge the wrong crime. This can be a defense as well, as it’s the government’s responsibility to file the correct charges.What Are the Penalties for Violating NY Penal Law § 170.10?
Forgery in the Second Degree is a Class D felony. In New York, Class D felonies carry a maximum sentence of up to 7 years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 or three times the amount of financial gain you derived from the commission of the crime.Are You Facing Forgery Charges in a New York Court?
If you were recently arrested and charged with a New York forgery offense, it is essential that you immediately contact an experienced New York criminal defense attorney to assist in your defense. At Tilem & Associates, we have over two decades of hands-on experience aggressively defending the rights of our clients charged with all types of financial crimes, including fraud and forgery. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.