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Lawdoctor
Lawdoctor, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1400
Experience:  22+ years legal practice including corporate, business, criminal, entertainment and litigation
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We are just finding out that my nephew (age 18) entered my

Customer Question

We are just finding out that my nephew (age 18) entered my mother's (his grandmother's) home on 6 separate occasions between June and November, taking checks, forging her signature and making the checks out in his name. The total amount is $595. He then cashed the checks as he has an account at the same bank. I know that these are serious crimes, and wondered what the charges could be.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lawdoctor replied 4 years ago.
Dear Customer:

Thank you for allowing me to assist you with your question.

There are several issues you need to address with the nephew:

First are the burglaries he committed by going into grandmother's house without permission and with the intent to commit a crime, i.e. steal her checks.

Second is the forgery of the checks and each check is a separate and complete crime. The amounts will determine the severity of the punishment.

Third is that these are all multiple crimes and he is looking at a very long time in prison for his deeds.

Fourth is if they add abuse of the elderly as well.

He is looking at a consecutive total of over 50 years.

Here are the statutes;



824. Burglary in the third degree; class F felony.

A person is guilty of burglary in the third degree when the person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building with intent to commit a crime therein.

Burglary in the third degree is a class F felony. (11 Del. C. 1953, ? 824; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, ? 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 130, ? 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, ? 1.)

? 825. Burglary in the second degree; class D felony.

(a) A person is guilty of burglary in the second degree when the person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully:

(1) In a dwelling with intent to commit a crime therein; or

(2) In a building and when, in effecting entry or while in the building or in immediate flight therefrom, the person or another participant in the crime:

a. Is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon; or

b. Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime.

Burglary in the second degree is class D felony, except where the person who suffers physical injury is a person 62 years of age or older in which case any violation of this section shall be a class C felony.

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this section or Code to the contrary, any person convicted of burglary in the second degree shall receive a minimum sentence of:

(1) One year at Level V; or

(2) Three years at Level V, if the conviction is for an offense that was committed within 5 years of the date of a previous conviction for burglary first or second degree or if the conviction is for an offense that was committed within 5 years of the date of termination of all periods of incarceration or confinement imposed pursuant to a previous conviction for burglary first or second degree conviction.

Any sentence imposed pursuant to this subsection shall not be subject to the provisions of ? 4215 of this title.

(c) The sentencing provisions of subsection (b) of this section apply to attempted burglary in the second degree as well as burglary in the second degree. (11 Del. C. 1953, ? 825; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, ? 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 130, ? 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, ? 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 126, ? 7; 74 Del. Laws, c. 106, ? 4; 74 Del. Laws, c. 345, ? 4.)

? 826. Burglary in the first degree; class C felony.

(a) A person is guilty of burglary in the first degree when the person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling at night with intent to commit a crime therein, and when, in effecting entry or when in the dwelling or in immediate flight therefrom, the person or another participant in the crime:

(1) Is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon; or

(2) Causes physical injury to any person who is not a participant in the crime.

Burglary in the first degree is a class C felony, except where the person who suffers physical injury is a person 62 years of age or older in which case any violation of this section shall be a class B felony.

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this section or Code to the contrary, any person convicted of burglary in the first degree shall receive a minimum sentence of:

(1) Two years at Level V; or

(2) Four years at Level V, if the conviction is for an offense that was committed within 5 years of the date of a previous conviction for burglary first or second degree or if the conviction is for an offense that was committed within five (5) years of the date of termination of all periods of incarceration or confinement imposed pursuant to a previous conviction for burglary first or second degree conviction.

Any sentence imposed pursuant to this subsection shall not be subject to the provisions of ? 4215 of this title.

(c) The sentencing provisions of subsection (b) of this section apply to attempted burglary in the first degree as well as burglary in the first degree. (11 Del. C. 1953, ? 826; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, ? 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 130, ? 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, ? 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 126, ? 8; 74 Del. Laws, c. 106, ? 5; 74 Del. Laws, c. 345, ? 5.)

? 827. Multiple offenses.

A person may be convicted both of burglary and of the offense which it was the purpose of the person's unlawful entry to commit or for an attempt to commit that offense. (11 Del. C. 1953, ? 827; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, ? 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, ? 1.)

829. Definitions relating to criminal trespass and burglary.

(a) "Premises" include the term "building" as defined in ? 222 of this title, and any real property.

(b) "Dwelling" means a building which is usually occupied by a person lodging therein at night.

(c) "Night" means a period between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.

(d) A person "enters or remains unlawfully" in or upon premises when the person is not licensed or privileged to do so. A person who, regardless of intent, enters or remains upon premises which appear at the time to be open to the public does so with license and privilege unless the person defies a lawful order not to enter or remain, personally communicated by the owner of the premises or another authorized person. A license or privilege to enter or remain in a building which is only partly open to the public is not a license or privilege to enter or remain in that part of the building which is not open to the public.

(e) A person "enters" upon premises when the person introduces any body part or any part of any instrument, by whatever means, into or upon the premises.

(f) "Security device" includes any lock, whether mechanical or electronic; or any warning device designed to alert a person or the general public of a possible attempt to gain unlawful entry into or upon premises or a possible attempt to unlock, bypass or otherwise disable a lock.

(g) A person possesses burglar tools or instruments facilitating theft "under circumstances evincing an intent to use or knowledge that some other person intends to use" such when the person possesses the tools or instruments at a time and a place proximate to the commission or attempt to commit a trespass, burglary, or theft-related offense or otherwise under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for what lawful uses the tools or instruments may have. (11 Del. C. 1953, ? 829; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, ? 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, ? 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 478, ? 3.)

857. Theft and related offenses; definitions.

For purposes of ?? 841-856, 1450 and 1451 of this title:

(1) "Deprive" means to withhold property of another person permanently or for so extended a period or under such circumstances as to withhold a major portion of its economic value or benefit, or with intent to restore it only upon payment of a reward or other compensation, or to dispose of property of another person so as to make it unlikely that the owner will recover it.

(2) "Appropriate" means to exercise control, or to aid a third person to exercise control, over property of another person permanently or for so extended a period or under such circumstances as to acquire a major portion of its economic value or benefit, or to dispose of property for the benefit of the actor or a third person.

(3) "Obtain" means to bring about or receive a transfer or purported transfer of any interest in property, whether to the defendant or to another person.

(4) "Property" means anything of value except land, and includes things growing on, affixed to or found in land such as topsoil, sand, minerals, gravel and the like, documents although the rights represented thereby have no physical location, contract rights, trade secrets, choses in action and other interests in or claims to admission or transportation tickets, captured or domestic animals, food, drink and electric or other power.

(5) "Property of another person" includes property in which any person other than the defendant has an interest which the defendant is not privileged to infringe, regardless of the fact that the defendant also has an interest in the property and regardless of the fact that the other person might be precluded from civil recovery because the property was used in an unlawful transaction or was subject to forfeiture as contraband. Property in possession of the actor shall not be deemed property of another who has only a security interest therein, even if legal title is in the creditor pursuant to a conditional sales contract or other security agreement.

(6) "Dealer" means a person in the business of buying, selling or lending on the security of goods.

(7) "Owner" means a person who has an interest in property which the defendant is not privileged to infringe, as described in subdivision (5) of this section.

(8) "Services" include labor, professional service, transportation, telephone, gas, electricity or other public service, accommodation in hotels, restaurants or elsewhere, admission to exhibitions and use of vehicles or other movable property.

(9) "Trade secret" shall mean "trade secret" as defined in ? 2001 of Title 6. (11 Del. C. 1953, ? 857; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, ? 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 218, ?? 2, 3; 64 Del. Laws, c. 134, ? 1.)

861. Forgery; class F felony; class G felony; class A misdemeanor; restitution required.

(a) A person is guilty of forgery when, intending to defraud, deceive or injure another person, or knowing that the person is facilitating a fraud or injury to be perpetrated by anyone, the person:

(1) Alters any written instrument of another person without the other person's authority; or

(2) Makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues or transfers any written instrument which purports to be the act of another person, whether real or fictitious, who did not authorize that act, or to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case or to be a copy of an original when no original existed; or

(3) Possesses a written instrument, knowing that it was made, completed or altered under circumstances constituting forgery.

(b) Forgery is classified and punished as follows:

(1) Forgery is forgery in the first degree if the written instrument is or purports to be:

a. Part of an issue of money, stamps, securities or other valuable instruments issued by a government or a governmental instrumentality; or

b. Part of an issue of stock, bonds or other instruments representing interests in or claims against a corporation, business enterprise or other organization or its property.

Forgery in the first degree is a class F felony.

(2) Forgery is forgery in the second degree if the written instrument is or purports to be:

a. A deed, will, codicil, contract, release, assignment, commercial instrument, check or other instrument which does or may evidence, create, transfer, terminate or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obligation or status; or

b. A public record, or an instrument filed or required to be filed in or with a public office or public servant; or

c. A written instrument officially issued or created by a public office, public servant or governmental instrumentality; or

d. Part of an issue of tokens, tickets, public transportation transfers, certificates or other articles manufactured and designed for use as symbols of value usable in place of money for the purchase of property or services; or

e. A prescription of a duly licensed physician or other person authorized to issue the same for any drug or any instrument or device for which a prescription is required by law.

Forgery in the second degree is a class G felony.

(3) All other forgery is forgery in the third degree, a class A misdemeanor.

(c) In addition to any other penalty provided by law for violation of this section, the court shall require a person convicted of a violation of this section to make restitution to the party or parties who suffered loss as a result of such forgery. (11 Del. C. 1953, ? 861; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, ? 1; 62 Del. Laws, c. 241, ? 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 130, ? 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, ? 1.)

? 862. Possession of forgery devices; class G felony.

A person is guilty of possession of forgery devices when:

(1) The person makes or possesses with knowledge of its character and intending to use it unlawfully any plate, die or other device, apparatus, equipment or article specifically designed for use in counterfeiting or otherwise forging written instruments; or

(2) The person makes or possesses any device, apparatus, equipment or article capable of or adaptable to use for purposes of forgery, intending to use it unlawfully.

Possession of forgery devices is a class G felony. (11 Del. C. 1953, ? 862; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, ? 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 203, ? 22; 67 Del. Laws, c. 130, ? 8; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, ? 1.)

? 863. Forgery and related offenses; definition.

"Written instrument" means any instrument or article containing written or printed matter or the equivalent thereof, used for the purpose of reciting, embodying, conveying or recording information or constituting a symbol or evidence of value, right, privilege or identification. (11 Del. C. 1953, ? 863; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, ? 1.)

The 'section' symbol comes up as the question marks in the diamond, I don't know how to correct that , but the website for the statutes is:

http://law.justia.com/delaware/codes/title11/c005-sc03.html

If he has been charged, he is facing some serious problems. If this is still within the family only you can decide whether he needs to be reported and held to face the consequences of his misdeeds.

I wish you the very best.

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Good luck and Godspeed.

Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then please feel free to ask for clarification.
If I don’t’ answer immediately, I may be offline. If so, I will answer as soon as I come back. If I am online, I may be assisting someone else and will respond as soon as I can. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Please remember that we have not created an attorney-client relationship, and that my post is not intended to be specific legal advice. The answers given are limited to the information you have provided in your post. For specific legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed in your state.

DISCLAIMER: Please understand that the complexities of most legal problems cannot be adequately addressed in this setting, and that I am only licensed to practice law in the states of Florida and Mississippi. Accordingly, you acknowledge (1) that we have not formed an attorney-client relationship, and (2) that my post is general information only and not specific legal advice.

 

Lawdoctor, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1400
Experience: 22+ years legal practice including corporate, business, criminal, entertainment and litigation
Lawdoctor and 14 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
My mother is 86 years old and she has decided not to report this crime. This nephew is an Eagle Scout. She does not want to ruin his future.
Thank you for your very thorough answer. I wanted to be impress upon her that these crimes were very serious, and to let her know that she needs to better protect herself in the future.
One more question.
Is it a crime to present a forged check to a bank?
Thank you,
Lauren
Sierra Vista, AZ
Expert:  Lawdoctor replied 4 years ago.
Dear Lauren:

I thought it that this would be the case and that is why I included the statutes so that you can show them that these are indeed very serious and life ruining crimes. I have been a criminal defense lawyer and I can tell you that a Judge hearing that he has been an Eagle Scout would be appalled and even though they may give him a break, he has been taught to know better and that is such a shame.

Yes, it is a crime to present a forged check to the bank and if the bank discovers it, they may press charges on their own, so your Mother may have it taken out of her hands.

It is better for him in the long term to avoid this becoming a pubic and criminal matter, but he needs to understand just how close he has come to losing everything he ever worked for and ever could work for.

If convicted he would lose his freedom, his civil rights to vote, own a gun, and many things we take for granted. He would also never be able to have a checking account as most banks would not open one for him with the forgery charges in his past. He would never be able to hold a position that requires a security clearance or a job that involves handling money or access to accounts, he would frankly, severely limited in his choices, all because of bad choices he made.

I am very curious, what prompted him to do this? Is he involved with drugs, a young girl? What would lead an Eagle Scout to this behavior???? I have given classes for merit badges on the Constitution, Civics, and other legal related badges, and I can tell you I support the Boy Scouts 100%. His achievement is about to be overshadowed by one or two stupid acts. I am so sorry you and your family are going through this, but may be this is his wake up call and the turning point to get his life back on track. I really hope so.

You and your family are in my thoughts and my prayers.

I wish you the best.

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Good luck and Godspeed.

Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then please feel free to ask for clarification.
If I don’t’ answer immediately, I may be offline. If so, I will answer as soon as I come back. If I am online, I may be assisting someone else and will respond as soon as I can. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Please remember that we have not created an attorney-client relationship, and that my post is not intended to be specific legal advice. The answers given are limited to the information you have provided in your post. For specific legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed in your state.

DISCLAIMER: Please understand that the complexities of most legal problems cannot be adequately addressed in this setting, and that I am only licensed to practice law in the states of Florida and Mississippi. Accordingly, you acknowledge (1) that we have not formed an attorney-client relationship, and (2) that my post is general information only and not specific legal advice.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
At this time we do not know what led him down this path. He claims he needed cash for clothes, but that seems a lame reason, and not likely truthful. My mother is also missing some Oxycontin that she was prescribed folowing surgery. So I suspect that he is involved with drugs.
It is an unbelievable blow to the entire family. This nephew has an intact family, parochial school elementary school education, followed by 4 years of military charter high school. And you are correct--he absolutely does know better.
His parents seem to be minimizing the incident though, and that is the problem. The nephew still has car, IPhone, girlfriend, etc. My mom feels that he should suffer some consequences, have his wings clipped. so to speak.
I think that the information that you have provided me will be extremely helpful so that she understands what he would have faced. Perhaps she can share it with his parents so that they can view his acts in a fair light.
Happy New Year to you,
Lauren
Expert:  Lawdoctor replied 4 years ago.
Dear Lauren:

He may be addicted to Oxycoton or other prescription pain killers. That is the new threat to teens today, the drug dealer is mom and dad's medicine cabinet. If he is, he will need help getting off of them. One thing you may suggest is that he volunteer at a homeless shelter or somewhere that he can see what he could end up as. Teens today do not understand consequences and it is so hard to teach them with TV and all the entertainer doing all kinds of things that should never be publicized because now our kids think that it is okay because Brittney does it or Tiger did it. etc. Not to pick on Tiger, but he was the Eagle Scout of the Sports World and he blew it as well, but again, he is not really suffering any consequences that our kids can see, because he is a billionaire and it does not matter that his sponsors pull out on him, he has more money than he can ever spend.

I do not know the answer, but you may consider talking to his pastor, scout master, or someone outside the family that you can trust not to leak this out to authorities and who he respects and may listen to. He may be thinking that he would be charged as a juvenile, but that was my point about him being an Eagle Scout, he is more mature and thus he would be probably charged as an adult and sent to regular prison. He also needs to know that his survival skills would be tested daily in prison and he would not come home the same in any way. I wish there was a 'scared straight' program to send him to, but since he has been to a military academy, he probably feels like he has been there, done that.

Another suggestion is to talk to a substance abuse counselor with him to find out what his addiction level is and to help him to over come it because it will only get worse if he does not face it. But it is like alcohol, until the alcoholic is ready to admit he has a problem there is no way to help him.

My prayers are with you and please do not hesitate to ask for me if you need any further information. I used to be in charge of one of the first drug courts in the country so I have seen it all from kids on meth to professional athletes getting caught as well.

Keep me posted.
Customer

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Good luck and Godspeed.

Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then please feel free to ask for clarification.
If I don’t’ answer immediately, I may be offline. If so, I will answer as soon as I come back. If I am online, I may be assisting someone else and will respond as soon as I can. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Please remember that we have not created an attorney-client relationship, and that my post is not intended to be specific legal advice. The answers given are limited to the information you have provided in your post. For specific legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed in your state.

DISCLAIMER: Please understand that the complexities of most legal problems cannot be adequately addressed in this setting, and that I am only licensed to practice law in the states of Florida and Mississippi. Accordingly, you acknowledge (1) that we have not formed an attorney-client relationship, and (2) that my post is general information only and not specific legal advice.

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