Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter V. Forgery.


§ 22–3241. Forgery.

(a) For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Forged written instrument” means any written instrument that purports to be genuine but which is not because it:

(A) Has been falsely made, altered, signed, or endorsed;

(B) Contains a false addition or insertion; or

(C) Is a combination of parts of 2 or more genuine written instruments.

(2) “Utter” means to issue, authenticate, transfer, publish, sell, deliver, transmit, present, display, use, or certify.

(3) “Written instrument” includes, but is not limited to, any:

(A) Security, bill of lading, document of title, draft, check, certificate of deposit, and letter of credit, as defined in Title 28;

(B) Stamp, legal tender, or other obligation of any domestic or foreign governmental entity;

(C) Stock certificate, money order, money order blank, traveler’s check, evidence of indebtedness, certificate of interest or participation in any profitsharing agreement, transferable share, investment contract, voting trust certificate, certification of interest in any tangible or intangible property, and any certificate or receipt for or warrant or right to subscribe to or purchase any of the foregoing items;

(D) Commercial paper or document, or any other commercial instrument containing written or printed matter or the equivalent; or

(E) Other instrument commonly known as a security or so defined by an Act of Congress or a provision of the District of Columbia Official Code.

(b) A person commits the offense of forgery if that person makes, draws, or utters a forged written instrument with intent to defraud or injure another.


(Dec. 1, 1982, D.C. Law 4-164, § 141, 29 DCR 3976.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3841.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-4901.

Cross References

Credit card fraud, see § 22-3223.

Forgery of authorization for medical consent for a minor by an adult caregiver, see § 16-4901.

Fraud, see § 22-3221.


§ 22–3242. Penalties for forgery.

(a) Any person convicted of forgery shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both, if the written instrument purports to be:

(1) A stamp, legal tender, bond, check, or other valuable instrument issued by a domestic or foreign government or governmental instrumentality;

(2) A stock certificate, bond, or other instrument representing an interest in or claim against a corporation or other organization of its property;

(3) A public record, or instrument filed in a public office or with a public servant;

(4) A written instrument officially issued or created by a public office, public servant, or government instrumentality;

(5) A check which upon its face appears to be a payroll check;

(6) A deed, will, codicil, contract, assignment, commercial instrument, or other instrument which does or may evidence, create, transfer, terminate, or otherwise affect a legal right, interest, obligation, or status; or

(7) A written instrument having a value of $10,000 or more.

(b) Any person convicted of forgery shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both, if the written instrument is or purports to be:

(1) A token, fare card, public transportation transfer certificate, or other article manufactured for use as a symbol of value in place of money for the purchase of property or services;

(2) A prescription of a duly licensed physician or other person authorized to issue the same for any controlled substance or other instrument or devices used in the taking or administering of controlled substances for which a prescription is required by law; or

(3) A written instrument having a value of $1,000 or more.

(c) Any person convicted of forgery shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01 or imprisoned for not more than 3 years, or both, in any other case.


(Dec. 1, 1982, D.C. Law 4-164, § 142, 29 DCR 3976; June 3, 2011, D.C. Law 18-377, § 12(g), 58 DCR 1174; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 205(s), 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3842.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-4901.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-377, in subsec. (b)(3), substituted “$1,000” for “$250”.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01” for “not more than $10,000” in (a), for “not more than $5,000” in (b), and for “not more than $2,500” in (c).

Cross References

Forgery of authorization for medical consent for a minor by an adult caregiver, see § 16-4901.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 512(g) of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-693, January 18, 2011, 58 DCR 640).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 512(g) of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-45, April 20, 2011, 58 DCR 3701).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 205(s) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.