This article was updated: Oct. 20th, 2023

All of us have used cash to purchase goods or services at some point. Because of this, 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. However, the prosecutor needs to be able to prove that the defendant was knowledgeable about the false money when making the transaction with the retailer, merchant, or individual.

If you have been charged with using counterfeit money in Virginia, contact The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC right away.

What Are The Penalties For Using Counterfeit Money?

Both the Federal government and local State governments can impose penalties on an individual for using or attempting to use counterfeit money. Under Federal law, if a prosecutor can prove the intent to commit fraud or forgery, an individual can be sentenced up to 20 years of incarceration on top of a hefty fine.

The States can also go after you if you have been suspected of using or attempting to use counterfeit cash, along with a host of crimes such as forgery, fraud, and other theft related crimes. These penalties vary widely per state. Maryland for example, will consider knowingly possessing or issuing counterfeit US currency as a misdemeanor which can land you up to a 3 year sentence with a $1,000 fine. In some states, like Minnesota, the penalties can depend on the face value of the money or service the individual was attempting to fraudulently obtain. Less than $1,000 is considered a misdemeanor, and can get you up to a one year sentence. While the maximum sentence for seeking to pass off over $35,000 in fake cash can land you up to a 20 year sentence.

How Does A Judge Prove Criminal Intent In A Counterfeit Money 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 falsehood of your money or that you intended to commit fraud. This can be proven using direct evidence such as a confession from the defendants.

What Defenses Can Be Used Against A Counterfeit Money Charge?

A lawyer can help you create an alibi. An alibi is defined as: a defense to a criminal charge alleging that the accused was somewhere other than at the scene of the crime at the time it occurred. For example, A could not confirm B’s alibi that B was at the convenience store at the time the counterfeit money was used. 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.

Schedule A Criminal Case Evaluation With The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC If You Have Been Arrested For Using Counterfeit Money In Virginia

For more than twenty years, Fairfax criminal defense attorney Scott C. Nolan, PLLC has dedicated his law practice to representing clients like you who have been charged with serious traffic offenses, driving under the influence, and other crimes in Northern Virginia’s federal and state courts. He is a member of the National College for DUI Defense and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He has also earned a perfect 10.0 “Top Lawyer” ranking from AVVO, the independent lawyer rating service.

To convict you of a crime, the state must prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Attorney Scott C. Nolan, PLLC knows how to find the flaws in the state’s case and how to cast doubt on the state’s evidence and witnesses. Schedule a free consultation with The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC today.