Q: Is signature forgery always a crime no matter the circumstances surrounding it?
If a signature on a document is forged where there will be no financial gain, is that less serious than forging, say, a check? If a signature is forged on a birthday card, for example, without the person’s knowledge or permission, would this be punishable in court? It is, I would say, a little dishonest, since you would be trying to pass off the card as coming from someone else, but is it a crime?
A: The short answer is "Yes," it is a crime. The key to Pennsylvania's forgery statute is that there must be an "intent to defraud or injure." Whether a crime is committed is not determined by the outcome, i.e. a financial gain by the actor, but by whether the actor's intent was to defrauded or injured. Hope this helps.
Mr. Ryan L Hyde agrees with this answer
A: Signing a persons name on something in and of itself is not forgery. As Mr. Dutko stated there is an additional element. You have to intend to defraud the other person. Now, you could read a lot of books about what defraud means (and prosecutors read these books too), but if there is no intent to hurt the person you dont have forgery. Keep in mind, your actual intent is rarely something the Commonwealth can show, they can prove circumstantially your intent. Which means though you may have had a harmless intent, circumstances may show, or lead a jury to believe it wasnt so innocent.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.