Have you been arrested for counterfeiting in Lexington, KY? Counterfeiting of any kind is a serious felony offense. You may also face state charges and related charges. When your freedom and future are on the line, you deserve a Lexington counterfeiting charges lawyer to fight for your legal rights.
For over 20 years, Suhre & Associates, LLC has represented Lexington residents facing state and federal charges for counterfeiting, fraud, and theft. Contact our law firm at (859) 569-4014 for a free case review with an aggressive defense lawyer who will help you build the most effective legal defense possible.
How Suhre & Associates, LLC Can Help if You’re Arrested for Counterfeiting
You may be investigated by several federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI and United States Attorney’s Office when you are facing a federal offense. Their resources are seemingly endless, their prosecution is aggressive, and federal sentencing guidelines can be extremely harsh.
You need a Lexington criminal defense lawyer to build a strong defense against the charges you face. At Suhre & Associates, LLC, our award-winning defense attorneys include a former police officer and former prosecutor. We put more than 100 years of combined legal experience to work on your case with insight into the tactics the prosecution will use against you.
Hire Suhre & Associates, LLC to represent you, and we will:
- Offer sound legal advice and protect your constitutional rights
- Investigate your case to determine if your rights were violated
- Gather positive evidence and work with experts in many fields to craft a strong defense strategy
- Discredit evidence used against you with expert testimony or show the prosecution has not met their burden of proof
- Negotiate for a reduction or dismissal of the charges or the most lenient sentencing possible
Do not face federal criminal charges alone. Call our Lexington, Kentucky law office today for a free consultation with a counterfeiting defense lawyer who will fight for you.
What Is Counterfeiting in Kentucky?
Counterfeiting refers to any activity to produce fake items which are presented as genuine. Counterfeiting generally refers to fake currency (which defrauds the federal government) or trafficking in counterfeit goods, typically on an interstate or international scale. For these reasons, the crime of counterfeiting is primarily regulated by the federal government.
Counterfeiting is a serious federal criminal offense. Virtually all forms of counterfeiting are considered a crime. This includes counterfeiting money, merchandise, and even services.
The type of alleged counterfeiting determines the criminal charges. 18 U.S. Code Chapter 25 addresses a wide range of counterfeiting and forgery offenses under federal law. This chapter includes 47 statutes addressing possible forms of criminal conduct.
This federal law covers counterfeit currency and securities, counterfeiting tools, military certificates and passes, U.S. postage and meters, federal agency seals, federal court documents, and more.
Federal law prohibits all types of counterfeiting activities related to currency. This includes not only counterfeit U.S. currency but also foreign currency, minor coins, bars, silver, gold, and other precious materials.
Several federal statutes address the creation, use, and distribution of counterfeit currency, including 18 U.S.C. § 471. This statute makes it a crime to falsely produce, alter, or counterfeit any security or obligation belonging to the U.S. This law covers U.S. currency, reserve notes, bonds, and treasury notes.
Other statutes also make it a criminal offense to do any of the following with an intent to defraud:
- Hold, publish, sell, pass, or attempt to do any of these activities with counterfeit currency
- Forge, make, or pass counterfeit foreign currency
- Buy, receive, deliver, or transfer counterfeit currency with an intention that it be passed as genuine
- Possess impressions, digital images, or imprints used to make counterfeit currency
It’s important to note that, while covered by several statutes, counterfeiting U.S. and foreign currency are essentially treated as the same crime with the same penalties.
Counterfeiting merchandise like clothing or art is covered by federal law, but it is generally punishable under fraud and trademark law. In most cases, federal law prohibits the act of forging documentation related to fake items not the production of the goods themselves.
18 U.S. Code Section 2320, the Trademark Counterfeiting Act, prohibits counterfeiting merchandise. This charge, called trafficking in counterfeit goods or services, covers many forms of illicit trade. It includes counterfeiting and piracy under copyright infringement, tax evasion, and smuggling legitimate products.
You may be charged under this federal statute for producing fake items sold as the real products without the owner’s permission (such as fake handbags with a brand name) or even selling real items on the black market to avoid taxes.
Kentucky Forgery Laws
Most counterfeiting charges are federal and tried in federal courts. However, counterfeiting is a type of forgery which is also a crime under Kentucky law. You may also face forgery charges in state courts.
Forgery is illegal under the Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 516. There are three degrees of forgery.
First-degree forgery is the most serious forgery offense in Kentucky. It refers to falsely making, altering, or completing a written instrument that can be calculated to be, represent, or claims to be part of an issue of stocks, bonds, money, stamps, securities, or other valuable instruments issued by the U.S. government or a government agency or claims against a corporation.
This statute is wordy, but you may be charged for forgery related to checks, stamps, money, credit cards, and bond certificates. It is similar to federal counterfeiting charges as it may involve counterfeit money or stamps with an intent to defraud. First-degree forgery is a Class C felony.
What Are the Penalties for Counterfeiting in Lexington, Kentucky?
The penalties for counterfeiting depend on the statute under which you are charged. However, all federal counterfeiting convictions come with harsh penalties.
If you are convicted for counterfeiting U.S. currency or any other offenses under Chapter 25, fines can top $250,000. Counterfeiting can be punishable by up to 20 years for currency and foreign currency charges. Possession of counterfeiting tools like plates is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
If you are convicted of counterfeiting silver or gold bars or coins more than 5 cents, you face up to 15 years in prison. The penalty for merely passing counterfeit coins and bars is up to 5 years.
Selling or attempting to sell counterfeit goods also comes with harsh penalties. You may be fined up to $2 million and face up to 10 years in federal prison for a first offense. For a subsequent offense, the penalty is increased to up to $5 million and the prison term is increased to up to 20 years. The penalty is enhanced for counterfeit military goods and actions that cause serious bodily injury or death.
In addition, you may be punished with forfeiture or destruction of the counterfeit property and restitution.
If you are charged with forgery under Kentucky law, you may be facing a Class A misdemeanor, Class D felony, or Class C felony depending on the degree. The most serious charge is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.
You need an elite Lexington counterfeit charges lawyer to defend you against the steep potential penalties. Call Suhre & Associates, LLC today for a free consultation to speak with our Kentucky criminal defense lawyers.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of Counterfeiting in Lexington, KY?
When you are arrested for counterfeiting, you face the full brunt of the U.S. government. Counterfeiting currency has particularly harsh penalties because it is considered defrauding the U.S. government. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Lexington as soon as possible to work on your defense strategy.
If you are charged with counterfeiting currency, you have many possible defense options. This charge requires that the fake currency be similar enough to authentic currency to fool a normal, unsuspecting person.
Your defense may also focus on intent. Conviction of counterfeiting requires an intent to defraud. If currency was altered or counterfeit as a joke or as art with no intent to defraud, you did not commit the federal offense.
At Suhre & Associates, LLC, we will also investigate the circumstances of the investigation and your arrest. If evidence against you was obtained illegally, we will fight to have the evidence excluded.
Contact a Lexington Counterfeiting Charges Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Are you being investigated for counterfeiting or facing criminal charges? It’s crucial to act quickly to safeguard your rights and fight for your freedom. A Kentucky criminal defense attorney at Suhre & Associates, LLC is here to help you.
Contact our law office today to schedule a free case review with a Lexington counterfeiting charges lawyer. We will help you explore defense options and the best course of action.