Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument: NY Penal Law 170.20
- New York Penal Law 170.05: Third Degree Forgery
- New York Penal Law 175.05: Second Degree Falsifying Business Records
Understanding Third Degree Criminal Possession of a Forged InstrumentThere are some critical elements to every arrest and prosecution for PL 170.20 that the District Attorney’s Office must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. You are guilty of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree when you have knowledge that the instrument is forged and with the intent to defraud or deceive another person, you possess that forged instrument. Not an exhaustive list, but some of the more common forged instruments include passports, drivers licenses, credit and debit cards, checks, MetroCards, tickets for theater or sporting events, and receipts.
Defenses to Criminal Possession of a Forged InstrumentDefenses vary by case, but how did the police get their hands on the fake or allegedly fake instrument? Was it open to public view? Were you wrongfully searched? Did you make any admissions or did you have no idea that the item was in fact fake and you are a victim? Did you have actual possession or constructive (the instrument was not found on your person, but the police said it was yours)? Remember, forged instruments can be fake IDs, bogus drivers licenses, altered passports, fraudulent receipts, modified tickets to a Broadway show and so many more things. Some technically felonies, others misdemeanors. Your defense is directly related the evidence, facts and procedure of your arrest. Where none of these are viable, mitigation may be your best choice.
- NY Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument Information Page: Definitions, Defenses, Felonies and Misdemeanors
- NY Forgery Information Page: Definitions, Defenses, Felonies and Misdemeanors
- NY Falsifying Business Records Page: Definitions, Defenses, Felonies and Misdemeanors
Regardless of the degree of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument you are arrested for possessing, even the misdemeanor offense of PL 170.20 can potentially be deemed a “crime of moral turpitude” as it relates to your immigration status and is a fraud crime as it relates to potential disclosure on a FINRA U4 registration form. Beyond these collateral consequences, you may be required to disclose an arrest or conviction in other professional capacities as well.
Protect yourself before you step into the courtroom and protect your future. Educate yourself on the law and retain counsel to either challenge the allegations on the factual or legal level or to set forth your best mitigation defense. Don’t let a DAT or any arrest for a New York fraud crime cripple your life.
Call us at 212.312.7129 or contact us online today to speak with our New York City criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors about misdemeanor Forgery and Forged Instrument Crimes.