American currency is created using special processes and materials intended to make counterfeiting as difficult as possible. However, this does not stop some individuals from attempting to create counterfeit money, and sometimes, these operations can entail hundreds of thousands or even millions of fake dollars. An Atlanta federal counterfeiting attorney is an essential asset if you are charged with such offenses.
Counterfeiting can disrupt the economy and erode faith in the currency of the United States. As such, federal law enforcement agencies tend to prosecute counterfeiting offenses very aggressively. Most law enforcement agencies will only move to arrest individuals on counterfeiting charges after they have conducted extensive investigations and gathered substantial evidence against them.
The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman can provide the robust criminal defense counsel you need if you have been charged with any type of counterfeiting offense in Atlanta. Our firm has years of professional experience in federal criminal defense and can help make clearer sense of the charges against you and your most viable available defenses.
When most people think of counterfeiting cases, they imagine offenses involving counterfeit US cash currency. However, some counterfeiting cases pertain to falsified bonds, certificates of deposit, or gold or silver certificates. Creating counterfeit currency of any kind typically requires the use of sophisticated machinery and special materials intended for this exact purpose.
To succeed in convicting an individual of federal counterfeiting charges, the prosecution must prove that the counterfeit currency looked close enough to real currency that the average person would be unlikely to tell the difference. It’s important to note that while attempting to pass fake currency as real constitutes counterfeiting, it is also possible to face a counterfeiting charge if you alter real currency to appear as a different denomination.
A defendant in a counterfeiting case cannot be convicted for attempting to use counterfeit currency if they did not know the currency was counterfeit. The issues of knowledge aforethought and intent are central to most federal counterfeiting cases, meaning a prosecutor must be ready to prove that the defendant knew the currency was counterfeit.
If you are charged at the federal level with any kind of counterfeiting offense, it is crucial that you have defense representation you can trust in this situation. The prosecution in any criminal case has the burden of proving a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and it is the defendant’s attorney’s job to prevent this from happening.
Potential defenses in a counterfeiting case are likely to include lack of knowledge aforethought and/or lack of intent. For example, if you were given counterfeit currency and had no idea it was fake and then were arrested for attempting to use it, your attorney can help prove that you had no intent to defraud and did not realize the currency in your possession was fake.
Most federal law enforcement agencies take time to build their cases over months or even years, gathering all the evidence they believe they need to secure a conviction before moving to arrest a suspect. The evidence may appear stacked against you, and if you know you broke the law, then you will still need defense counsel you can trust to potentially help mitigate your penalties.
Federal prosecutors are sometimes willing to make plea deals with defendants in exchange for their guilty pleas and their cooperation with other investigations. Your Atlanta federal counterfeiting defense attorney can help determine whether any such plea deals would suit your best interests, and they may also be able to identify avenues to argue for leniency in sentencing.
A: The United States Secret Service was originally created to suppress counterfeit money operations, and today, the Secret Service continues to manage many such cases. It is also possible for a counterfeiting case to be managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other federal law enforcement agencies.
A: Processing, creating, or using any counterfeit money with intent to defraud is a federal felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. The defendant could face additional penalties based on the overall severity of their offense, the face value of counterfeit money in their control, and the value of financial gain or loss caused by their actions. Fines for counterfeiting offenses can exceed $250,000 in some cases.
A: Yes. While it is likely for an individual who has committed any counterfeiting-related offense to be prosecuted in federal court, state law also enforces criminal penalties for forgery, fraud, theft, and other offenses related to counterfeiting. In Georgia, producing counterfeit money is a first-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison.
A: You are not strictly required to hire an attorney for your impending counterfeiting case. However, the Constitution ensures that every American charged with a crime has access to defense counsel, and it is vital that you take full advantage of your right to legal counsel if you have been charged with any federal crime. Your defense attorney can significantly increase your chances of avoiding conviction if possible or mitigating your penalties if necessary.
A: Most private defense attorneys in Atlanta charge their clients hourly rates, tracking the time spent working on a case every 10 or 15 minutes. The attorney’s hourly rate is typically based on their experience level, and the total cost to the defendant will depend on how much time the attorney must spend working on the case. Always verify a potential attorney’s billing policy before agreeing to their representation.
An experienced Atlanta federal counterfeiting defense attorney is an invaluable asset if you have been charged with this offense in federal court. Your case may be multifaceted, and you may face years in federal prison if you are convicted. When you choose The Law Office of Lawrence J. Zimmerman to represent your defense, we will do everything we can to help you reach the optimal outcome for your case. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with our team.