Can I forge a document?


#1

Ok, so it's really more innocent than it sounds. I bought a car 6 years ago. Its an old Mustang. It hasn't worked for more than 30 days in the time I have owned it.

Anyway, I was young and I did not know that I had to transfer the title into my name. I thought just the title in hand was enough. Duh.

Flash-forward 6 years and now I want to sell it. Well, my state will make me pay sales tax on the car (fine, I can do that) but there is also a MASSIVE penalty of $25 per month that I did not have it titled. That will be around 2-3 grand, plus tax.

Well, as it happens, the seller did not date the title. I can just fill out the form, forge his signature, and date it for whenever I want, no penalty involved. I will still be paying the tax on the vehicle of course.

So, can I do this? I was totally ignorant of this ridiculous law, and the car isn't even running. I just want to sell it for what I can get and move on with my life, lesson learned. I feel that this is a totally unfair and unjust penalty and frankly, I can't bloody afford it.

Would it be a mortal sin to do this? My instinct tells me no, since I am not stealing, or trying to get out of paying my taxes or anything. I'm just not prepared to take it the keister from the DMV to the tune of 3000 dollars over some irrationally huge penalty I didn't even know about.


#2

[quote="LaSainte, post:1, topic:323899"]
Ok, so it's really more innocent than it sounds. I bought a car 6 years ago. Its an old Mustang. It hasn't worked for more than 30 days in the time I have owned it.

Anyway, I was young and I did not know that I had to transfer the title into my name. I thought just the title in hand was enough. Duh.

Flash-forward 6 years and now I want to sell it. Well, my state will make me pay sales tax on the car (fine, I can do that) but there is also a MASSIVE penalty of $25 per month that I did not have it titled. That will be around 2-3 grand, plus tax.

Well, as it happens, the seller did not date the title. I can just fill out the form, forge his signature, and date it for whenever I want, no penalty involved. I will still be paying the tax on the vehicle of course.

So, can I do this? I was totally ignorant of this ridiculous law, and the car isn't even running. I just want to sell it for what I can get and move on with my life, lesson learned. I feel that this is a totally unfair and unjust penalty and frankly, I can't bloody afford it.

Would it be a mortal sin to do this? My instinct tells me no, since I am not stealing, or trying to get out of paying my taxes or anything. I'm just not prepared to take it the keister from the DMV to the tune of 3000 dollars over some irrationally huge penalty I didn't even know about.

[/quote]

No, you can't. What you're proposing to do is called "uttering a forged document." It's a form of fraud and can wind you up with a criminal record and jail time, on top of the $25/month penalty. Not to mention the spiritual ramifications of this.

This doesn't qualify as an "unjust law". Jesus said render to Caesar what is Caesar's. Do the right thing and take the penalty. If it's a fine, you can talk to a judge/justice of the peace, and respectfully and calmly explain your situation and that you can't afford it. Be respectful of the justice system and the people who work in it. If you're respectful and genuinely can't afford your fines, there are options. The judge/JP can forgive the fines and give you a caution (ie: tell you not to do it again), they can reduce the fines, work out a fine payment plan, or have you work them off through community service. Contrary to popular belief, judges and JP's are people too and realize that they can't get blood from a stone.

I've worked in the justice system and I've also been too broke multiple times to pay my traffic tickets. If you talk to them, they can work something out with you.

[quote="LaSainte, post:1, topic:323899"]

Would it be a mortal sin to do this? My instinct tells me no, since I am not stealing, or trying to get out of paying my taxes or anything. I'm just not prepared to take it the keister from the DMV to the tune of 3000 dollars over some irrationally huge penalty I didn't even know about.

[/quote]

Yes, it would be. For what it's worth, in Canada it's actually a worse crime than stealing. Actually, it's two criminal offences. The first offence is forging the document itself, and the second criminal offence is uttering a forged document.

Is it grave matter? In Canada it sure is.
From the Criminal Code of Canada:

  1. Every one who commits forgery
    a) Is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
    b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction

  2. Every one who, knowing that a document is forged,
    a) uses, deals with or acts on it, or;
    b) causes or attempts to cause any person to use, deal with, or act on it, as if the document were genuine,
    c) s guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
    d) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction

Do you know it's grave matter?
Yes you do. That very fact that you're even asking tells me deep down inside you're conscience is telling you it's a grave sin.

Do you have full consent of the will?
If you do it, you sure do.


#3

Well, I know that breaking a just civil law without good reason is a venial sin. HOWEVER, according to the examination of conscience that I have, forgery is grave matter. I would NOT forge this document under any circumstances. As the previous poster suggested, I'm sure you can make arrangements for a payment plan if you are unable to comfortably part with that much money at once.


#4

LaSainte-

You still have that car? Bummer..

No, you can't forge a document.

I'm sure by talking to the right people, you will get the fee waived. I'll tell ya...you go in and speak proper English, be polite, dress well and they treat you pretty well. I'm sure they'd understand..


#5

Sorry, I can’t see this as grave matter. First off, civil laws and how serious the court deems an offense has nothing to do with whether or not it is grave matter according to God’s law.

And of course it’s an unjust law. It amounts to extortion.

The forgery part is hardly even the issue. It’s a title transfer for a car I BOUGHT and PAID FOR. I have the title and bill of sale with the owner’s signature and I have even checked the VIN to make sure it is not stolen. In fact, the man who sold it lives in California and obviously fully intended for me to put his signature on the title application for him. The car belongs to ME, I simply wasn’t aware of the title transfer process when I bought it. The government has NO right to demand in excess of 2500 dollars as “punishment” for not knowing every aspect of the law where this is concerned. Was it a dumb mistake? Sure. Do I OWE them this money? Absolutely NOT. I owe them the sales tax on the vehicle and the cost of the title.

When I run a stop sign that’s behind a bush, do I turn myself in and pay the fine, or do I think “Gee, I’m glad nobody saw that happen. Now I know about that stop sign”, and move on with my life? Why would I VOLUNTARILY pay thousands of dollars that they have no right to demand from me?

I will get a bonded title for less than it would cost me to honestly go in and pay the taxes on what I actually spent before I pay the government 2000 bucks for this non-working piece of **** car. I can do that “legally” and it would be cheaper. I just wanted to know what you all thought about me going in and honestly trying to pay the taxes I owe without the unfair penalty.

Now I see that from the point of view of the people here, I would be better off trying to screw the system through the “legal” route of a bonded title than to actually pay what I owe because of a silly signature and date on a title application for my own car.

Ok…


#6

[quote="LaSainte, post:5, topic:323899"]
Sorry, I can't see this as grave matter. First off, civil laws and how serious the court deems an offense has nothing to do with whether or not it is grave matter according to God's law.

And of course it's an unjust law. It amounts to extortion.

The forgery part is hardly even the issue. It's a title transfer for a car I BOUGHT and PAID FOR. I have the title and bill of sale with the owner's signature and I have even checked the VIN to make sure it is not stolen. In fact, the man who sold it lives in California and obviously fully intended for me to put his signature on the title application for him. The car belongs to ME, I simply wasn't aware of the title transfer process when I bought it. The government has NO right to demand in excess of 2500 dollars as "punishment" for not knowing every aspect of the law where this is concerned. Was it a dumb mistake? Sure. Do I OWE them this money? Absolutely NOT. I owe them the sales tax on the vehicle and the cost of the title.

When I run a stop sign that's behind a bush, do I turn myself in and pay the fine, or do I think "Gee, I'm glad nobody saw that happen. Now I know about that stop sign", and move on with my life? Why would I VOLUNTARILY pay thousands of dollars that they have no right to demand from me?

I will get a bonded title for less than it would cost me to honestly go in and pay the taxes on what I actually spent before I pay the government 2000 bucks for this non-working piece of **** car. I can do that "legally" and it would be cheaper. I just wanted to know what you all thought about me going in and honestly trying to pay the taxes I owe without the unfair penalty.

Now I see that from the point of view of the people here, I would be better off trying to screw the system through the "legal" route of a bonded title than to actually pay what I owe because of a silly signature and date on a title application for my own car.

Ok...

[/quote]

Forgery is a grave offense as it is a sin against the eighth commandment.

It's not an unjust law just because you say so.

Other posters have given you good advise about asking for mercy.


#7

[quote="davidv, post:6, topic:323899"]
Forgery is a grave offense as it is a sin against the eighth commandment.

It's not an unjust law just because you say so.

Other posters have given you good advise about asking for mercy.

[/quote]

This is not stealing. Not in any way. The money does not rightly belong to the government. I am not taking anything that does not belong to me. The government does not have a right to my money just because they say they do.

I am getting a title hearing. If they want me to pay that amount, I will kindly tell them to suck it and get a bonded title, which will actually cost less. Sure, it is shirking my actual financial responsibility, but technically, it's "legal", so who cares right?

The people on this forum are always so adept at legalistically pounding you into the ground while not caring at all one way or the other whether the spirit of the law has been met.

Funny thing is, if I get the bonded title, I can claim that the car is worth half of what I paid (which it is now) and pay taxes only on that amount. Funny, to me, THAT actually seems like stealing.


#8

[quote="davidv, post:6, topic:323899"]
Forgery is a grave offense as it is a sin against the eighth commandment.

It's not an unjust law just because you say so.

Other posters have given you good advise about asking for mercy.

[/quote]

Then what exactly makes a law unjust? If the fine was say, 1000 dollars a month, and I would have to lose my house to pay it, would that be "unjust"? How much can the government steal from a person before it becomes unjust?


#9

You might be able to re-register it without the penalty if you opt for a salvage title. You'll have to look into how this works in your state.

Unfortunately, a salvage title taints the vehicle's history, even if it was never seriously damaged. However, if neither you nor the next owner cares that it would never be a top-dollar collector's car, it can be an acceptable alternative.


#10

[quote="LaSainte, post:7, topic:323899"]
This is not stealing. Not in any way. The money does not rightly belong to the government. I am not taking anything that does not belong to me. The government does not have a right to my money just because they say they do.

[/quote]

I totally agree with you. Don't agree that it is a mortal sin. YOU own the car. The only reason they have the law is to extort money FROM YOU. They absolutely don't have a right to your money, just because they say you do.


#11

Why not try contacting the person you purchased it from and say, "remember that car I bought from you? You actually didn't sign the title. Could you sign it? Oh thanks, great"

Forging his name is lying.


#12

[quote="LaSainte, post:7, topic:323899"]
This is not stealing. Not in any way. The money does not rightly belong to the government. I am not taking anything that does not belong to me. The government does not have a right to my money just because they say they do.

I am getting a title hearing. If they want me to pay that amount, I will kindly tell them to suck it and get a bonded title, which will actually cost less. Sure, it is shirking my actual financial responsibility, but technically, it's "legal", so who cares right?

The people on this forum are always so adept at legalistically pounding you into the ground while not caring at all one way or the other whether the spirit of the law has been met.

Funny thing is, if I get the bonded title, I can claim that the car is worth half of what I paid (which it is now) and pay taxes only on that amount. Funny, to me, THAT actually seems like stealing.

[/quote]

You might try what Mary Gail suggests. If I was in your shoes I would sign and date it myself. Yes we're to render to Caesar what's due, but I don't think we need to pay for his vacation ;) In my eyes this is not a moral issue, because the law is a civil one, not a moral one. Just my take, I'm not saying it's right. Eight years ago I got a $300 ticket for not having an emissions sticker, which I never paid (we were moving out of state and I didn't see the point). I'm STILL getting notices about that. You may tell me it's morally wrong not to pay it, but that's a matter of opinion not a point of doctrine or dogma.


#13

As vehicle owners it is our duty to know the rules and laws of the road, and vehicle ownership, insurance, etc. If you're so certain it's not a mortal sin, why do you come here and ask and then keep trying to justify yourself?


#14

[quote="constantconvert, post:12, topic:323899"]
You might try what Mary Gail suggests. If I was in your shoes I would sign and date it myself. Yes we're to render to Caesar what's due, but I don't think we need to pay for his vacation ;) In my eyes this is not a moral issue, because the law is a civil one, not a moral one. Just my take, I'm not saying it's right. Eight years ago I got a $300 ticket for not having an emissions sticker, which I never paid (we were moving out of state and I didn't see the point). I'm STILL getting notices about that. You may tell me it's morally wrong not to pay it, but that's a matter of opinion not a point of doctrine or dogma.

[/quote]

Jesus paid his taxes, and to the Romans no less, even though they probably helped pay for Emperor Tiberius' vacation villa in Capri and the countless other extravagances he indulged in.

If you don't like the law, that's one thing, but such fines are an incentive to ensure proper record keeping of cars - like speeding fines or fines for defects are incentives to not speed and not drive dangerously damaged vehicles.

Proper record keeping reduces fraud (eg insurance fraud) in respect of vehicles for one thing, so it is very important. All our insurances go up when fraud is easy.

It is not like these laws are purposeless and therefore unjust. And it is not like you have no other recourse than the forgery you propose. See if you can get the fine waived, see if you can get the previous owner to complete the paperwork.


#15

[quote="LaSainte, post:8, topic:323899"]
Then what exactly makes a law unjust?

[/quote]

One that requires you to act immorally.

If the fine was say, 1000 dollars a month, and I would have to lose my house to pay it, would that be "unjust"?

You should have thought of the consequences before not keeping the records expected of you.

How much can the government steal from a person before it becomes unjust?

Properly enacted taxes and fees are not stealing.


#16

[quote="LaSainte, post:7, topic:323899"]
This is not stealing. Not in any way. The money does not rightly belong to the government. I am not taking anything that does not belong to me. The government does not have a right to my money just because they say they do.

I am getting a title hearing. If they want me to pay that amount, I will kindly tell them to suck it and get a bonded title, which will actually cost less. Sure, it is shirking my actual financial responsibility, but technically, it's "legal", so who cares right?

The people on this forum are always so adept at legalistically pounding you into the ground while not caring at all one way or the other whether the spirit of the law has been met.

Funny thing is, if I get the bonded title, I can claim that the car is worth half of what I paid (which it is now) and pay taxes only on that amount. Funny, to me, THAT actually seems like stealing.

[/quote]

I know its not stealing. The eight commandments forbids false witness, i.e., lying.


#17

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:11, topic:323899"]
Why not try contacting the person you purchased it from and say, "remember that car I bought from you? You actually didn't sign the title. Could you sign it? Oh thanks, great"

Forging his name is lying.

[/quote]

In fact it is quite possibly perjury - many such documents have declarations at the end, the effect of which is the same as being on oath in court.


#18

[quote="davidv, post:16, topic:323899"]
I know its not stealing. The eight commandments forbids false witness, i.e., lying.

[/quote]

False witness is lying with the intent to ruin another's reputation, or the like.

2476 False witness and perjury. When it is made publicly, a statement contrary to the truth takes on a particular gravity. In court it becomes false witness. 276 When it is under oath, it is perjury. Acts such as these contribute to condemnation of the innocent, exoneration of the guilty, or the increased punishment of the accused. 277 They gravely compromise the exercise of justice and the fairness of judicial decisions.

I see nothing even remotely resembling the situation of the OP. Absolutely no one's reputation will be harmed. She is simply doing something that would have been done anyway, if she had been paying attention.


#19

If you decide not to forge the document, maybe you could donate the car to charity. You wouldn’t make money on it, but you wouldn’t lose any by having to pay fines.


#20

[quote="constantconvert, post:18, topic:323899"]
False witness is lying with the intent to ruin another's reputation, or the like.

I see nothing even remotely resembling the situation of the OP. Absolutely no one's reputation will be harmed. She is simply doing something that would have been done anyway, if she had been paying attention.

[/quote]

We cannot be reading the same document.

What she proposes does indeed tend to 'exoneration of the guilty'.

As things currently stand she is guilty - in the sense of being rightly liable under laws which AFAICS are neither unjust nor immoral, liable for a fine for failing to fill in the paperwork which as a responsible buyer she ought to have known she needed to complete.

She was ignorant, which has never been an excuse under the law, as it is always easy to find out what the law is in regard such matters and is surely the duty of any buyer to find out. She can rightly plead for mercy based on that ignorance, which may mean she is not punished. She can rightly get the original seller to complete the paperwork, which will mean she is no longer guilty.

But she cannot rightly seek to evade the fine - exonerate her guilt - by forging someone else's signature.


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