What is Possession of a Forged Instrument in Kentucky?


Kentucky law makes it a felony crime for any person to knowingly possess a forged instrument with the intent to defraud, deceive, or injure another. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 516.050, 516.060.) Under certain circumstances, the crime is charged as a misdemeanor. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 516.070.)

Forgery (that is, creation of a false instrument) itself is a separate crime and, in fact, a person may not be convicted of both forgery and criminal possession of a forged instrument with respect to the same forged item under Kentucky law. (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 516.080.)

There are three degrees of the crime of possession of a forged instrument in Kentucky:

  • First degree: possession of forged money, stamps, other government-issued securities, corporate stocks, bonds, or other corporate instruments
  • Second degree: possession of forged deeds, wills, contracts, commercial instruments, credit cards, public records or documents required to be filed with a public agency, or official government documents, and
  • Third degree: possession of any other forged written instrument.

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