Forgery is generally classified as a felony. As such, there are a number of penalties that may be imposed upon those who are found guilty. Restitution is very likely to be ordered if financial loss resulted from the crime. Individuals who are guilty may also be ordered to pay fines. If the crime is severe or if the guilty party has a criminal record, incarceration is a possibility. In some instances, however, individuals may avoid imprisonment and instead be placed on probation and ordered to do community service as a penalty for forgery.
The consequences for forgery can vary greatly. This crime is one that can consist of a wide range of actions, from signing someone’s name on a check to changing information on a property deed. The number of acts and the amount of harm caused is one factor that affects the penalty for forgery. Another factor is the jurisdiction in which the matter is prosecuted.
Forgery commonly results in direct financial losses or harm that can be measured by monetary value. When this is the case, in most jurisdictions the guilty party will be required to pay restitution. This may include the financial losses and the costs to repair the problem. For example, if someone forges another party’s signature on a number of checks and the bank requires a fee to research account activity, the fee may be included in the restitution.
In addition to that financial consequence, people are often given another financial penalty for forgery fines. These funds are not distributed to the victims, however. This means that if for some reason a judge does not order restitution, the guilty party may be required to pay large sums of money, but none of it will be used to help the victim.
Incarceration is another common penalty for crimes of forgery. Whether a person will be incarcerated in jail or prison, the length of his sentence usually depends on the amount of harm that was caused by his crime. Although the incidents are likely to be unrelated, sentencing is also commonly impacted by other crimes of which a person has been convicted.
Some people are given probation as an alternative penalty for forgery. This punishment normally involves a person being excused from incarceration as long as she adheres to certain conditions. If a person violates any of the conditions, there is a threat that her sentence may be imposed. Community service is another alternative penalty for forgery. When either of these consequences are imposed, it is likely to be in addition to other penalties.