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Forgery Laws Explained By A Criminal Attorney In Madison WI

Wisconsin Forgery Laws As Explained By A Criminal Attorney In Madison WI

In Wisconsin, forgery is defined as creating, altering, using, or possessing a false document with the intention of defrauding someone. It is a serious crime in the state, with penalties ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.

What Constitutes Forgery?

Forgery can exist under many different circumstances and include many different kinds of documents such as those that symbolize values, rights, or forms of identification. The types of documents that are commonly affected by forgery include: wills, testaments, bank checks, and birth certificates, deeds, credit card applications, business agreements, and even transportation tickets.

3 Elements Must Be Proven To Gain A Forgery Conviction

Just because a person has been accused of forgery does not mean they will be automatically convicted of the crime. The prosecution must prove three elements in order to obtain a conviction. These three elements are:

  1. Making, Altering, Issuing, Using, Or Possessing. It must be proven that the accused either made, altered, issued, used, or possessed a forged document.
  2. A False Legally Significant Writing. The writing must be proven to be false or untrue in its statement. It must also have legal significance. Having legal significance means that it affects the legal rights, responsibilities, and/or obligations of another.
  3. With The Intent To Defraud. The prosecutor must prove that the actions were taken for the express purpose of defrauding another. The scheme does not have to actually work in order to be convicted of forgery. There just has to be an intention to use the forged document to secure a certain objective. This is an important distinction that can protect people who unknowingly possess, sign, or use forged documents.


There are many different kinds of penalties for forgery in Wisconsin and they depend on the type of document that has been forged. Fines and penalties range from Class H felonies with fines of up to $10,000 and/or 6 years in jail to Class A misdemeanors with fines and penalties of up to $10,000 and/or nine months in jail.

Sometimes forgery is handled at the federal level, again, depending on the document that was forged. Passports, visas, and military records are examples of forged documents that would be handled by the federal courts instead of state courts. The fines and penalties in those situations would be determined by federal law, not Wisconsin state law.

Contact An Eisenberg Law Offices Criminal Attorney In Madison WI For Representation

If you have been charged with forgery, you need help from a criminal attorney in Madison, WI. Contact Eisenberg Law Offices to discuss your case, learn more about WI forgery laws and how they might apply to your situation, or for legal representation. Contact an Eisenberg Law Offices criminal attorney in Madison, WI by calling 608-256-8356 or request a consultation online.