Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Attempts to Clarify Forgery Statute

White-collar crimes, often involving financial deception or fraud, present a unique set of challenges for lawmakers and criminal attorneys alike. The evolving economy in the digital age necessitates new laws and regulations to address the evolving nature of white-collar crime. A recent judicial opinion from the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas sheds light on the intricate nature of defending against such charges, particularly in light of the evolving legal landscape that is affected by new legislation and regulations in the white-collar field.

The recently published opinion delves into the amendments made to the forgery statute by the Texas Legislature in 2017, which introduced subsection (e-1) and modified the felony provisions in subsections (d) and (e)in cases involving forgery under Section 32.21 of the Texas Penal Code. These amendments signal the Legislature’s intent to prioritize certain elements of forgery offenses over others, creating a hierarchical framework that impacts the classification and prosecution of such crimes. As a result of the legislative changes, prosecutors found themselves at odds with judges who appeared to add additional elements to the offense.

One significant aspect illuminated in the opinion is the application of the in pari materia doctrine, which dictates that when statutes irreconcilably conflict, defendants have a right to be prosecuted under a “special” statute that aligns with the specific elements of their offense. This principle underscores the importance of accurately assessing the statutory elements at play and advocating for the most favorable interpretation for the defendant.

Furthermore, the opinion clarifies that subsection (e-1) should be treated as a statutory element rather than a punishment issue. This distinction has profound implications for how forgery offenses are charged and prosecuted, emphasizing the need for strategic decision-making by both defense attorneys and prosecutors. The opinion emphasizes the importance of precise pleading and evidence presentation in white-collar criminal cases. The nuances of statutory interpretation and the interplay between different subsections of the law can significantly impact the outcome of a case. As such, experienced legal representation is essential to navigate these complexities effectively.

Have You Been Arrested for Financial Crimes in Texas?

Although this recent opinion does its best to clarify how Texas courts should apply the forgery statute going forward, it is clear that Texas law is not simple on white-collar crime issues. If you or a loved one has been accused of a financial crime in Texas, it is essential to retain a qualified criminal defense attorney with experience in defending white-collar crimes. The dedicated Texas Criminal defense attorneys at Guest and Gray are here to help. Our attorneys keep up to date on the evolving laws concerning financial crimes in Texas and the U.S, and with our assistance, you can be confident you’ll beat the charges against you If you have been arrested or charged with a Texas crime, contact Guest and Gray to see how we can help.

Contact Information