New York Penal Law § 170.30 – Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree
Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree is a New York forgery crime that provides enhanced penalties for those who create or rely on certain types of forged instruments, such as stocks, bonds, securities, or other instruments issued by corporations or government entities. Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the 1st Degree is a Class C felony.What Are the Elements of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree?
Criminal offenses are made up of elements. Elements are essentially facts the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt before a judge or jury can return a conviction. The elements of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree are:
- The defendant presented or possessed a forged instrument that purported to be one of the following:
- Part of an issue of stamps, money, securities, or other valuable instruments that are typically issued by a government entity; or
- Part of an issue of stock, bonds or other instruments that represent interests in or claims against a business or other organization or its property.
- The defendant did so knowing that the instrument was forged; and
- The defendant intended to use the instrument to defraud, injure or deceive another person, business or organization.
Examples of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the 1st Degree include:
- A wealth manager creates fake stock certificates to sell to his clients.
- A college student creates realistic-looking stamps that he sells to pay for his tuition.
- A retiree creates and tries to redeem a fake savings bond.
Prosecutors will often file multiple charges against a defendant based on a single course of conduct. Typically, this is to ensure that they charge the right crimes, but it also gives the jury a way to convict the defendant of a less serious offense if they do not believe the prosecution’s evidence was enough to convict on the lead offense.
In the case of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree, the following are the most common related crimes:
- 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
- Forgery in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 170.15
- Forgery in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 170.10
- Forgery in the Third Degree – NY Penal Law § 170.05
- Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices – NY Penal Law § 170.40
- Criminal Simulation – NY Penal Law § 140.45
- Fraudulent Making of an Electronic Access Device in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 170.75
There are various defenses to Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument. Defenses can be helpful when negotiating with prosecutors in hopes of securing a favorable plea agreement, for example, to reduced charges. Additionally, a defense may cause the prosecution to withdraw the case against you or give the jury reasonable doubt, prompting a “not guilty” verdict.
The most common defenses include the following:
- You were unaware that the item you possessed was a forgery;
- Although the instrument was a forgery, it did not fall into one of the categories provided in the statute; and
- While you knew that the instrument was forged, you did not intend to use it to deceive another person (i.e., it was a joke).
Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree is a Class C felony. In New York, Class C felonies carry a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000.Get Started on Your Defense Today
If you were recently charged with Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree—or you’re under investigation for the same—it’s important you speak with an experienced New York forgery attorney as soon as possible. At Tilem & Associates, we have more than 25 years of experience successfully handling complex fraud and forgery cases on behalf of clients throughout the New York area. 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.