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District of Columbia Forgery and Counterfeiting Laws

Forgery and counterfeiting are crimes that involve the making or passing off of goods, money, or property as genuine when they're actually fake. Many jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia, have laws that specifically define which acts constitute forgery and counterfeiting, and that outline the penalties for committing these crimes. While many states address these crimes separately, D.C. actually address both in one statute, but it also covers commercial counterfeiting in a separate statute.

Overview of District of Columbia Forgery and Counterfeiting Laws

Statutory language can often take time to understand and interpret, which is why reading a summary of the law can be beneficial to better understand how the law works. In the following chart, you can find an overview of D.C. forgery and counterfeiting laws as well as links to relevant statutes.


District of Columbia Code Division IV. Title 22, Subtitle I:

What's Prohibited?

Section 22-1502: It's unlawful to willfully forge or counterfeit a private brand, wrapper, label, trademark, bottle, or package with the intent to pass it off as the production of the true maker.

Section 22-902: It's unlawful to willfully manufacture, advertise, distribute, offer for sale, sell, or possess with the intent to distribute or sell, any items or services that have counterfeit marks*.

*A counterfeit mark is defined as:

  • An unauthorized reproduction or copy of intellectual property; or
  • Intellectual property affixed to any item knowingly manufactured, distributed, sold, or offered for sale without the intellectual property owner's authority.

The penalties for violating Section 22-902 can include imprisonment and/or fines but they are dependent on the number of items involved, the retail value of the items involved, and if it's a first or subsequent offense. See the statute for further details.

Violation of Section 22-1502 is punishable by imprisonment for up to 180 days and/or fines based on the provisions of Section 22-3571.01.

Related Statute(s)

District of Columbia Code Division IV. Title 22, Subtitle I. Chapter 15, Section 22-1510 (Making, Drawing, or Uttering Check, Draft, or Order with Intent to Defraud)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

District of Columbia Forgery and Counterfeiting Laws: Related Resources

For additional information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links listed below.

Get Legal Help with Your Forgery or Counterfeiting Charges in D.C.

A conviction for forgery or counterfeiting can not only lead to imprisonment, but can also have a lasting negative impact on your professional life. Given the consequences, it's best to contact a local criminal defense attorney if you've been charged under District of Columbia forgery and counterfeiting laws. A lawyer can explain the charges your facing and advocate on your behalf in plea negotiations or at trial.

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