Offering a False Instrument for Filing

by Adam Rosenblum

Offering a False Instrument for Filing is a very serious offense in New York and falls under the broader crime of fraud. It is crucial for all NY drivers to understand exactly what this felony involves since it carries very serious consequences.

What is Offering a False Instrument for Filing?

You can be found guilty of Offering a False Instrument For Filing if you:

  1. submit a written document to a public office
  2. that contains false information
  3. with the belief that it will be filed with that public office
  4. while knowing it contains false information

If the court finds that you also did these four things with the intent to defraud the state or municipality, then your penalty will be even higher and more serious.

How This Affects You – Driver’s License Applications

One of the most common situations where you can be charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in NY is when you leave something out (or outright lie) on your application for a New York driver’s license. Remember, when you submit your application for a driver’s license, it counts as a “written document” that goes to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which is a “public office.”

In other words, if you are attempting to get a second license because you racked up many points and tickets on your first license, you can likely be charged with committing this crime. It is imperative to know that a person can only legally have one driver’s license, so using a made up name or claiming not to have a license in an attempt to get another one all counts as “false information” that your application “contains.”

Lastly, the State of New York is not going to take too kindly to you lying on your application in order to do an end-run around their system, so you will not likely get the benefit of the doubt or be able to claim ignorance of law. That’s right; if you do the first three elements of the crime, a court may end up concluding that you did the fourth (i.e. that you knew what you were doing). What’s the lesson? Be completely honest when filling out your application for a NY driver’s license, and never play fast and loose with the rules.

Does Intent Really Matter That Much?

In a word: Yes. You can be subject to a higher fine and larger prison term if you had the intent to defraud. Therefore, it is crucial to know what intent really means. “Intent” in this context involves a person’s conscious objective or purpose. Intent to defraud the state really means that it was your conscious aim or objective to do so. Ultimately, the lie cannot simply be coincidental or a mistake.

As with any crime, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the requisite elements mentioned above. Remember, the burden will never be on you to prove that you lacked the requisite intent or did not do the enumerated elements. However, as all good criminal defense attorneys know, it is always a good idea to make these arguments anyway.

Is This Also Considered Forgery?

No; Offering a False Instrument for Filing is different than Forgery. For Offering a False Instrument for Filing, the instrument does not have to be accepted or even received––just offered. This means that if the DMV spots your outright lie or false information immediately and never issues you a driver’s license, you can still be found guilty of Offering a False Instrument for Filing.  A good way to distinguish the two is to remember that Forgery involves the actual written instrument while Offering a False Instrument for Filing involves the contents of that writing.  Also, Offering a False Instrument for Filing directly involves a person trying to pass off false information as true information while Forgery involves trying to pass off an entirely fake instrument as one that is genuine.

What Should I Do if Ccharged With Offering a False Insturcment For Filing??

If you ever find yourself charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing, be sure to contact a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney like Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm. Mr. Rosenblum has handled these cases before and knows what to do in order to defend your rights. E-mail him or give him a call today at 888-883-5529.