This article was updated: Oct. 18th, 2023

Yes, you can actually be arrested for using counterfeit money, even if you didn’t know it was fake. Both the federal government and local state governments impose penalties on an individual for using or attempting to use counterfeit money. Under federal law, if a prosecutor can prove your criminal intent to commit fraud or forgery, an individual can be sentenced up to 20 years of incarceration on top of a hefty fine. 

Most people use credit and debit cards to purchase goods or service these days, but cash will always remain. It’s important to be aware of false currency, and know that it is unfortunately always in circulation somehow. Because fake money is so prevalent, you may be wondering if you would be on the hook for counterfeit money charges if you accidentally used counterfeit money in a transaction unknowingly. It’s important to know that the use or attempted use of counterfeit currency can be punishable by both the federal government and several of the states with varying penalties. You don’t want to gamble with catching this white collar crime charge.

If you have been accused of trying to pass off counterfeit currency, the prosecution will have to prove that you were knowledgeable about the fact that your money was fake, or that you intended to commit fraud. This can be proven using direct evidence such as a confession from the defendants.

How Does A Lawyer Help Me Defend Myself Against A Counterfeit Money Charge?

In some circles, a counterfeit money charge is considered a white collar crime charge. A white collar crime is defined as a crime that generally encompasses a variety of nonviolent actions, usually committed in commercial situations for financial gain.

The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC is a criminal defense lawyer who has extensive experience defending people against white collar crime charges. As your criminal defense lawyer, he can help you create a strong alibi, which is a defense to a criminal charge alleging that you were somewhere other than at the scene of the crime at the time it occurred. In using an alibi, you provide the jury with an excuse as to where you were at the time of the crime, and why you could not possibly be charged with the crime due to your location at that specific time. A lawyer can also dispute information on a police report. Whenever a police report is made about an incident, many key details can be left out, exaggerated, or be the result of poor note taking. A lawyer will help to look for any areas of opportunity to challenge a police report and have it be inadmissible to the court.

Additionally, remember that all evidence can be disputed in a court of law. Whether it be testimony by an eye witness, or camera footage of yourself making a purchase found to be fraud, always remember that finding yourself a good lawyer gives you the chance to fight against any evidence found against you. The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC has knowledge and experience dealing with cases like these.

What Can I Expect When Fighting A White Collar Crime Such As Using Counterfeit Money?

If you are charged with or investigated for a white-collar crime such as using counterfeit money, you cannot be represented by the wrong lawyer. Even if you are acquitted, a white-collar prosecution or a criminal investigation will drain your finances and consume your time.

In some cases, paying restitution or following through with state mandated probation may lead to a reduced sentence for this charge. And when the government’s case is convincing and a guilty verdict at trial is assured, a criminal defense attorney may negotiate for sentencing alternatives such as house arrest or community service.

Schedule A Criminal Case Evaluation With Fairfax White Collar Crime Attorney Scott C. Nolan, PLLC

The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC is a skilled criminal defense lawyer who supports clients against charges such as the use of counterfeit money. As a trusted Fairfax attorney, Scott C. Nolan, PLLC has built a reputation for aggressive criminal defense representation, superlative client service, and dedication to excellence in the courtroom.

A conviction for a white-collar crime can actually keep you from ever working – or ever working again – for a bank or financial institution. If you have a professional license, a conviction can prompt serious disciplinary action by your professional licensing board.

If you’re charged in Virginia with a white-collar crime, you have the constitutional right to a lawyer’s assistance. Schedule a no obligation criminal case consultation with The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC today.