Forgery

Forgery is in section 144.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995. It is a criminal offence to create a fake document and convince someone to believe that the document is true. The prosecution must prove the accused has either gained something, caused someone to lose something, or influenced a public official.

Have you been accused of Forgery? You should contact us to arrange a confidential conference with one our lawyers if you have.

Police Interview
It is important to know that the police interview is not the forum for you to explain your side of the story and hope for the matter to go away. The police interview is designed for police to get admissions from you to assist their investigation. Therefore, you must speak with one of our lawyers who can answer your important questions. You may want to know:

  • Should I attend the police interview?
  • Do I have to answer the questions?
  • Will I look guilty if I don’t answer their questions?
One of our lawyers can attend the police interview with you if this will make you feel more comfortable. This is helpful in allowing your lawyer to speak with the investigator and to ensure your rights are protected throughout this process.

Pleading Not Guilty
Pleading not guilty to a charge of Forgery means that you are saying you did not do it and that you intend to defend the allegation in Court.

The prosecution has the burden of proving, beyond reasonable doubt, that you committed Forgery. At Doogue + George Defence Lawyers, it is our practice to carefully review the charges and brief of evidence as well as obtain detailed instructions from you in order to provide you with advice about your best position in defending the charge.

Our lawyers thoroughly prepare matters to ensure that our clients get the best possible outcome. Our lawyers give you the option of engaging experts, such as handwriting experts, to offer you the best possible chance of an acquittal.

Pleading Guilty
If you have made the decision to plead guilty to a charge of Forgery, it is important that you take the time to prepare for your plea hearing. A plea hearing is your opportunity to explain your circumstances to the Judge or Magistrate to get the best possible penalty. Our lawyers are experienced at addressing the sentencing principles that guide the Court in determining the appropriate penalty and we can help you to achieve the best possible result which may include avoiding a term of imprisonment for Forgery.

Which court will the case be heard in?
This kind of offence is heard in the County Court.

Examples of Forgery
  • A woman forges her medical qualifications and obtains work in a hospital.
  • A man makes a fake Australian passport and enters Australia on the passport.
“Have you been charged with a Commonwealth dishonesty offence?”

What is the legal definition of Forgery?
Forgery is when you make a false document with the intention of using it to dishonestly induce someone. And that person accepts it as a genuine document, resulting in you obtaining a gain, or causing a loss, or influencing the exercise of a public duty or function.

Legislation
The section that covers this offence is section 144.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.

Elements of the offence
For an accused to be proven guilty of this charge, the following elements must be established:

  • The accused made a false document with the intention that the person or another will use it:
    • To dishonestly induce a third person in the third person’s capacity as a public official to accept it as genuine; and
    • If it is so accepted, to dishonestly obtain a gain, dishonestly cause a loss, or dishonestly influence the exercise of a public duty or function; and
  • In the capacity of a Commonwealth public official; or
  • The accused made a false document with the intention that the person or another will use it:
    • To dishonestly cause a computer, a machine or an electronic device to respond to the document as if the document were genuine; and
    • If it is so responded to, to dishonestly obtain a gain, dishonestly cause a loss, or dishonestly influence the exercise of a public duty or function; and
  • The response is in connection with the operations of a Commonwealth entity; or
  • The accused made a false document with the intention that the person or another will use it:
    • To dishonestly induce a third person to accept it as genuine; and
    • If it is so accepted, to dishonestly obtain a gain, dishonestly cause a loss, or dishonestly influence the exercise of a public duty or function; and
  • The false document is a false Commonwealth document; or
  • The accused made a false document with the intention that the person or another will use it:
    • To dishonestly cause a computer, a machine or an electronic device to respond to the document as if the document were genuine; and
    • If it is so responded to, to dishonestly obtain a gain, dishonestly cause a loss, or dishonestly influence the exercise of a public duty or function; and
  • The false document is a false Commonwealth document.
Defences
  • No false documents were made.
  • No one was induced to believe the document was genuine.
  • There was no gain or loss caused.
  • No public official was influenced.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • If any false documents were made, did someone else believe they were real and use them?
  • Did you convince the other person that the document was real?
  • Did you gain anything or cause any loss?
Maximum penalty for section 144.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995
The maximum penalty for Forgery (s144.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995) is imprisonment for 10 years.

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
Generally this is regarded as a serious offence and you are likely to get a prison sentence if found guilty. The term of your sentence will depend on the amount you gained from the forgery or the loss you caused as a result of the forgery. However, if it is a minor case of forgery you might get a fine.