You’ve heard that forgery is illegal, but you’re a bit unclear on exactly what that means. What do you need to avoid?

There are two basic qualifications that can make a fake document a forgery. They are:

  1. The document is false in some intrinsic way
  2. The writing has legal significance

For instance, perhaps you faked a passport because you thought it would take too long to get one legally. This process is notoriously slow and can take months even when things go well. If you want to leave the country faster than that, you may feel you have no other option. Since a passport is a legal document, that’s a forgery.

Similar examples include state identification cards and driver’s licenses.

Often, forgery is based around getting something that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. You could forge the deed to a home in order to convince someone that you own it. You could forge a check in order to cash it out for financial gain. You could forge a prescription so that you can get medication that isn’t available over the counter without actually going to the doctor’s office first.

All of these documents are legally significant and you’re supposed to obtain them through the proper channels. Creating fakes or copies is illegal and you could face forgery charges, even if you didn’t realize it was illegal to begin with.

If this happens to you, make sure you take the time to look into all of your legal defense options. Everyone deserves a fair trial for any white collar crimes and you need to know your rights.