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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16022
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My wife and I opened a checking account with a check made out

Customer Question

My wife and I opened a checking account with a check made out to myself and her,we opened the account just in her name because of my ex-wife trying to get child support from me on a child I already had custody of .I also deposited pay checks into this account.I wrote checks for groceries,rent,furniture store for a bed for her children,as well as normal day to day expenses.i handled ninty five percent of all business transactions.We lived approximately 1/2 mile from the bank itself.We split up in sept 07 and she filed forgery charges on me the end of nov 07.We lived in Ms which is a commonwealth state ,what are the laws regarding this and has there been amy cases of this nature and what were the decisions.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
Hello,



My name is XXXXX XXXXX X am one of JustAnswer's legal experts. I'll be helping you resolve your matter today.



Please remember that there might be a delay between your follow up questions and my answers because I may be helping other clients or taking a break.



I am very sorry about your situation. What exactly did she allege? Did you sign for the checks, or did she? Did you use her card? You lived together, right? Have the police spoken with you, yet?





Customer: replied 3 years ago.
i stole money from her by writing checks on the account and signing her nmae,the account had over 50,000 in it and she only aleged 22000.no the checks were in her name,i have been charged with 12 counts of uttering forgery,but the checks she is aleging were to the grocery store,rent etc.
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
The police will want speak with you - go there, explain everything that happened, and that she is bitter about the split. The police will drop the case. Happens all the time. Do bring an attorney with you, if you can, but it's not mandatory. Be open and honest.Civilly, she'd have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (51% or over) that this happened in suit, and she won't find an attorney to file suit in a case like this.In essence, I'm sorry for the fuss she made, but in the end, this will all quiet down and go away. In fact, you can even then sue her slander/libel/defamation/and intentional infliction of emotional distress once the police charges are closed.

Best of luck in your matter. I'm here if you need any more clarification or follow up information.



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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
no i have been indited on 12 counts of uterring forgery.i have been arrested and am out on bond and have a court date set.what should i do
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
Oh, the police believed her? My apologies. In this case, I am going to opt out of your question and send it to our Criminal Law category and let another expert opt in to help you. No need to respond to this message. Additionally, you do not have to stay online – your question will remain active and an email will be sent to you as soon an expert answers it. My apologies for the inconvenience. You have not been charged. Good luck.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

I'll be happy to try to answer your questions, but first let me double check some things with you. Yours is an elaborate fact pattern.

If I've got this right, you're saying that during the course of the marriage you and your wife used an account that was in her name as if it was a joint account as a way of trying to keep your first ex wife from unfairly trying to take your assets. You paid your household expenses with these (joint) funds and your second wife knew that you were signing checks in her name. After you and your second wife split, however, she decided to accuse you of forgery, for the common purchases you made during the course of your marriage.

Is that what you're saying? If not please tell correct where I went wrong.

Now you have been charged with 12 counts of forgery. How many times have you appeared in court? Has there been an offer from the prosecutor yet? What was it?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
ten years ,nine suspended 1 year house arrest,5 years supervised probation,4 years unsupervised,250 a month restituition until i pay 22000.i have not appeared in court yet,she has agreed to take ten thousand and drop all charges ,but in my heart i have done nothing wrong and do not think i owe her anything.Plus i have to take 3 felony charges and they put 9 in my file.this is just wrong
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Pretty steep, but at least no jail.

Last questions:

Who told you what the offer would be if you have not appeared in court yet?

Are you still in divorce litigation now?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
never have filed for divorce,the da gave the offer to my attorney,i worked out the deal with her through another party,she does not know i know she accepted the ten thousand and she would drop all charges,and sign divorce papers and sign a letter without prejudice to not harass me ever again.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
And just when I thought I was ready to give you an answer, you changed the fact a bit.

I've got to back up. Are you saying that YOU proposed the $10,000 and the dropping of charges or that she did? If she did, are you saying that you've already accepted that?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
a friend that knows us both knows the who;le situation so he made the offer and she says yes,i informed my attorney what she said and he called her and made the same offer and she accepted him also,my attorney contacted the da and the da's words were as long as she is satisfied he was fine with it,and he said off the record that this should have been a civil case at best anyway.the original da on the case has stepped down for personal reason's,my other question was are there any cases out there like mine and what were the results.Frant please understand in my heart and in the eyes of most of the people,(law inforcement etc.I have done no wrong.Please advize
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Jacustomer,

This sounds like you and your lawyer worked this all out already and that there is no case on which you're going to have to appear.

It seems that all your wife wanted was to put some pressure on you so that she could get a divorce settlement that she liked. If the DA's Office is now going to prosecute you after all, that fact is your defense. And you have a former DA and a lawyer who could testify to the deal you brokered if your wife suddenly has changed her mind and now wants to go forward with the case.

Obviously no two cases are ever exactly alike, but it's not at all unusual for a spouse to use the criminal court system for leverage in a civil divorce.

Forgery is an intent crime. That is, you need the intent to defraud when you uttered the checks and the writing of them would also have to be done without your wife's consent for you to be convicted of this crime. I am sure you would be able to amass evidence that would show that your wife had to have known and consented to your use of the account. Further, even if the new DA wants to prosecute you after all, if your wife does not want to cooperate in the prosecution, they would have a very tough time convicting you of these charges.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.
NO SHE DID NOT WANT A DIVORCE
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
I'm getting somewhat confused here. Each time I think I have a handle on things, it changes up.

Do you have a court date on the felony matters or not? Has your wife signed an agreement or not? Have you paid her $10,000 or not? Do you still want that agreement? Does she? Is she going to cooperate in your prosecution?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I ASKED IS THERE ANY CASES OUT THERE LIKE I HAVE DESCRIBED AND IF SO WHAT WAS THE AND NAME AND STATE OF THE CASES THAT WAS MY ORIGINAL QUESTION.
YES I HAVE A COURT DATE
NO SHE HAS NOT BEEN PRESENTED THE PAPERS TO SIGH BECAUSE MY ATTORNEY HAS NOT SEEN FIT TO DRAW THEM UP YET.
NO I HAVE THE TEN THOUSAND SHE HASN'T SIGNED ANYTHING
I WANT TO KNOW WHAT MY OPTIONS ARE,
YES SHE DOES SHE SAYS SHE IS BROKE
SHE WANTS MONEY NOT PROSECUTION
I HOPE THIS HELPS GET A HANDLE ON THIS AS YOU SAY.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Your option is to go to your court date and plead not guilty. You have a lawyer. If your wife is not interested in prosecution and makes that repeatedly clear to the prosecutor on your case, he will not be able to sustain his burden of proof and he will have to dismiss this case. If she doesn't make that clear to the prosecution, your lawyer will be able to do that, because he's witnessed what's going on behind the scenes of the criminal case and so, for that matter has a prosecutor.

You keep asking for case law, but without a real case, you don't need it. In every criminal matter in this country the prosecutor must meet his burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt to get a conviction. If you had your wife's permission and authority to sign her signature and she's not going to challenge that because she doesn't want you prosecuted, your case will have to go away. In the unlikely event that the prosecuting attorney decides to spend the money to gear up the system to put your wife on the stand when she's going to make out your case and not the prosecutor's, then the case will go on but you'd win it at trial. I see the dismissal as more likely.

In short, I understand you'd like to see law on the kind of case you have, but there isn't any because as you're describing it, there isn't going to be a viable case.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
GOING TO EAT DINNER WILL BE BACK
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

I was just editing when your message came through. Here's the Georgia Forgery statute -- forgery in the first degree. This is what I mean by this crime being an intent crime. First of all, in order to convict you of the forgery you must have the intent to defraud. You didn't do that. You weren't hiding anything from your wife or stealing from her. You were the family bill payer, a contributor to the account, and doing this with her knowledge and authority.

That brings me to the second portion of the text which I've underlined for you. With the authority to sign someone else's name, this is not a crime.

Georgia Code - Crimes and Offenses - Title 16, Section 16-9-1
(a) A person commits the offense of forgery in the first degree when with intent to defraud he knowingly makes, alters, or possesses any writing in a fictitious name or in such manner that the writing as made or altered purports to have been made by another person, at another time, with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority and utters or delivers such writing.

(b) A person convicted of the offense of forgery in the first degree shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.

You don't need case law. The state has to make out every element of its case and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you of these charges. Without your wife, it will be impossible. Even if your wife changes her mind, you have witnesses who know that she knows that no crime occurred here. No trial, if it comes to that, is a slam dunk, but yours has got a lot that favors you here.

Edited by FranL on 9/3/2010 at 3:01 AM EST

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