Counterfeiting money is illegal under both state and federal law. Under Texas law, creating or using counterfeit money falls under the criminal offense of forgery. Tex. Pen. Code § 32.21 defines forgery as forging a writing with the intent to harm or defraud another. Forging refers to any alteration or creation of a writing that purports to be authorized when it is not. A writing explicitly includes money, so counterfeiting money constitutes forgery.
Forgery is typically a Class A misdemeanor, but for specific types of writing, including government documents and money, forgery is a third-degree felony. Individuals also may face elevated penalties for forgery if the victims of the forgery is an adult who is age 65 or older.
Furthermore, the offense may become even more severe if the accused individuals participated in the forgery to obtain or attempt to obtain property or services. For instance, if the value of the property or services that individuals tried to purchase with counterfeit money was worth between $150,000 and $300,000, the offense is a second-degree felony. If the value of the property or services that individuals attempted to purchase with counterfeit money was worth more than $300,000, then the offense becomes a first-degree felony.
A conviction for a third-degree felony under Tex. Pen. Code § 12.34 can result in a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and a $10,000 fine. Individuals also may have serve time on community supervision as a result of a third-degree felony forgery conviction.
Forgery of money, or counterfeiting, also can result in federal criminal charges. The penalties for federal criminal convictions often are more severe than those for state criminal convictions.
Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to assisting individuals in resolving their criminal charges. We know that criminal proceedings can be intimidating and overwhelming for those who are facing potential penalties for criminal charges. We will work with you to achieve the most favorable outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled criminal defense attorneys today.