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Washington Forgery and Counterfeiting Laws

Most states, including Washington, have laws that make forgery and counterfeiting illegal. While forgery and counterfeiting are related crimes, they are usually addressed separately. An example of forgery is when a person signs another person's name to a check or will. Counterfeiting, on the other hand usually involves passing off fakes goods (or money) as genuine. Both crimes require the element of intent, meaning that in order to violate forgery or counterfeiting laws, a person must knowingly engage in acts that are prohibited.

Overview of Washington Forgery and Counterfeiting Laws

There's no doubt that reading the actual language of a statute is an important step in researching the answer to a legal question. But, it can also be helpful to read a summary of a statute since many laws are written in "legalese," which can take a while to interpret and understand. Below you can find a chart that provides a summary of Washington forgery and counterfeiting laws as well as links to relevant statutes.


Washington Revised Code:


Forgery occurs when a person with the intent to defraud or injure does one of the following:

  • Falsely makes, completes, or alters a written instrument; or
  • Possesses, uses, or offers a written instrument which they know is forged.

Forgery is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.


Counterfeiting occurs when a person knowingly, willfully and for financial gain manufactures, uses, displays, advertises, distributes, sells, or offers services that are identified by a counterfeit mark.

Counterfeiting is generally a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, certain circumstances, which are outline in Section 9.16.035, can elevate the crime to a gross misdemeanor or even a class C felony.

Related Statute(s)

Washington Revised Code:

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.

Washington Forgery and Counterfeiting Laws: Related Resources

If you'd like additional information and resources related to this topic, you can visit the links below.

Get Legal Help with Your Forgery or Counterfeiting Case in Washington

A conviction under Washington's forgery or counterfeiting laws can not only land you in prison, but can have a lasting impact on your professional life. So, if you've been charged with forgery or counterfeiting in Washington, it's best to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney near you to learn how Washington forgery and counterfeiting laws apply to your case and how best to defend against the charges.

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