Forgery can be defined as the act of forging a copy or imitation of a document, signature, banknote, or work of art etc. To prove forgery, the burden of proof is always on the claimant, and the respondent may deny the charges. However, if the charges are proven to be true, then the individual may face charges for misrepresentation and fraud.
Article 216 of the UAE penal code defines forgery as: "The forgery of a written instrument is to alter its reality in one of the manners described hereinbelow, so as to cause prejudice, with the intention of substituting the false for the genuine instrument." The seven methods stated to be considered as committing the crime of forgery are as follows:
- "To alter a genuine instrument, whether by adding, or removing or changing any of its written parts, numbers, marks or pictures.
- To falsely sign or place a forged seal or to alter a genuine signature, seal or imprint.
- To obtain by surprise or by fraud the signature, seal or imprint of a person who ignores the contents of the instrument or who has not validly given his consent thereon.
- To make falsely or imitate an instrument and attribute it to another person.
- To fill a blank paper which is signed, sealed or imprinted, without the approval of the person who has signed, sealed or imprinted it.
- To assume the name of another person or to substitute it in a document that has been prepared specifically to prove the identity of such other person.
- A material alteration of writing with a deceitful and fraudulent intent, preventing, therefore, the genuine intent of the instrument from being achieved."
Further, Article 6 of the Federal Decree-Law no. 5 of 2012 on combatting cybercrimes states the punishment of forging an electronic document as "Shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and a fine not less than one hundred and fifty thousand dirhams and not in excess of seven hundred and fifty thousand dirhams whoever commits forgery of any electronic document of the federal or local government or authorities or federal or local public establishments. The punishment shall be both imprisonment and a fine not less than one hundred thousand dirhams and not in excess of three hundred thousand dirhams or either of these two penalties if the forged documents belongs to an authority other than those mentioned in paragraph one of this Article. Shall be punished by the same penalty decided for the crime of forgery, as the case may be, whoever uses this forged electronic document with his knowledge that the document is forged.
In a crime of forgery, the intention to commit forgery or to deceive is most important and, in the absence of such intent, the crime may not be constituted. For example, an individual may simply copy the work of another with the intention to commit forgery or to deceive anyone. In the absence of actual intent, the crime may not be proven. It is critical that expert legal opinion is obtained to ensure that your rights are protected and that you obtain the most accurate legal advice as per the unique circumstances of your case.