If you are charged with Forgery in Livonia, Michigan, you need the help of an experienced Livonia criminal defense attorney. I can provide you with nearly 20 years of experience and a willingness to fight and take cases to trial.
Forgery is a class E felony that carries up to 14 years in prison (168 months). If you are arrested and charged with Forgery , your first court appearance will be an arraignment in the 16th District Court in Livonia, Michigan. Learn more about an arraignment now. At the arraignment, your case will be scheduled for a probable cause conference and a preliminary examination. Bond will also be addressed at the arraignment. The probable cause conference must be scheduled within 7 to 14 days of the arraignment with the preliminary examination scheduled within 5 to 7 days after the probable cause conference.
Following the preliminary examination, further proceedings are held in the Wayne County Circuit Court at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit. If there is virtually any evidence supporting the prosecutor's case, it is extremely likely that the matter will be bound over in the district court. Nonetheless, I almost always challenge cases at the preliminary examination because it is the best opportunity that the defense is presented for challenging the evidence and developing the facts that will support defenses in the circuit court. DO NOT WAIVE THE PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION WITHOUT MAKING AN INFORMED DECISION.
The charge of Forgery is detailed in the Michigan compiled laws, MCL 750.248. The provisions of MCL 750.248 state:
(1) A person who falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits a public record, or a certificate, return, or attestation of a clerk of a court, register of deeds, notary public, township clerk, or any other public officer, in relation to a matter in which the certificate, return, or attestation may be received as legal proof, or a charter, will, testament, bond, writing obligatory, letter of attorney, policy of insurance, bill of lading, bill of exchange, promissory note, or an order, acquittance of discharge for money or other property, or a waiver, release, claim or demand, or an acceptance of a bill of exchange, or indorsement, or assignment of a bill of exchange or promissory note for the payment of money, or an accountable receipt for money, goods, or other property with intent to injure or defraud another person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 14 years.
(2) This section does not apply to a scrivener's error.
(3) The venue in a prosecution under this section may be in the county in which the forgery was performed; in a county in which a false, forged, altered, or counterfeit record, instrument, or other writing is uttered and published with intent to injure or defraud; or in the county in which the rightful property owner resides.
Forgery under Michigan sentencing guidelines is scored under crimes against property (Property). Under the guidelines, a person who is convicted of Forgery with no prior record and no aggravating factors looks to the low end of the guidelines which call for up to 3 months. With no prior criminal record but horrible facts, the defendant can face 17* months. With a terrible criminal record and terrible facts, the accused can be looking at 38 months under the guidelines.
The jury instructions set forth the following elements for Forgery that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecuting attorney:
M Crim JI 28.1 Forgery
(1) The defendant is charged with the crime of forgery. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
(2) First, that the document in question in this case, [identify document], was [falsely made / altered / forged / counterfeited], in that [state prosecution's claim].
(3) Second, that the defendant [falsely made / altered / forged / counterfeited] this document. [Forgery includes any act which falsely makes an instrument appear what it is not.]
(4) Third, that when the defendant did this, [he / she] intended to defraud or cheat someone.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to focus on the jury instructions while preparing a defense to the offense of Forgery . While there are a number of defenses to Forgery that we can explore during a consultation, the elements contained in M Crim JI 28.1 provide a roadmap for defending the case. This is true in almost every single case, and really great defense attorneys focus early on these jury instructions.
As a cautionary note, you might be completely innocent but still face criminal charges. Even worse, you might be denied bail, forced to spend months in jail before you are vindicated. I have seen many cases where a truly innocent client is baffled, angry and scared, completely unable to understand why police and prosecutors are gunning to get a conviction. So long as probable cause is established at the preliminary examination, then the matter will be bound over for trial in the 3rd Circuit Court for the County of Wayne and further proceedings will be held in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit. This is why it is so important that you contact an experienced Livonia criminal defense attorney to help you defend against criminal charges in the 16th District Court.
*represents an aberration under the guidelines that might result in county jail time or violate the 2/3rd maximum minimum rules under the guidelines, which is something that must be discussed with your attorney.