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Forensic Handwriting Expert Witness: Forged Signatures on Formal Documents

Formal documents are important for numerous reasons both legal and personal, and when one or more of the papers has a forged signature, the person affected may face severe negative consequences. It is imperative to hire a forensic handwriting expert to demonstrate to the courts and discuss how the plaintiff suffers harm from the action.

Signatures on formal documents often lead to action in a company, an estate, with individual affairs and in matters of legal or healthcare systems. When the forged signature causes harm to the person’s life, h or she may need to pursue legal action. In litigation, the forensic handwriting expert will help the plaintiff in acquiring compensation for the injury. In criminal cases, the professional assists the prosecutor in convicting the defendant of the illegal act for sentencing that could include fines, probation, jail or even prison terms. Without the expert, it is difficult to determine if the handwriting matches the target.

Detecting the Forgery

Through an expert witness in forensic handwriting, it is possible to determine if the signature is a true forgery or legitimate. The study of handwriting is a science that experts perform often and have
since the 1800’s. There are general strokes that a person with a primary right or left hand will use, but many have unique identifiers that will show he or she owns the signature. If there are pauses in the writing, this frequently proves that someone is imitating his or her handwriting. Additionally, the expert will use unquestionable standards to remain an expert witness of a case, as he or she must pass a qualifications and credentials check.

The Examination of Handwriting

Before the expert is able to determine if a forgery exists in a signature, he or she will need to analyze the full handwriting of the person in detail. This could take days or weeks depending on how similar it is to the standards created over years. Any unique characters or quirks may increase the complexity of the signature. A comparison is made through the standards between the signed document and the signature of the individual. An identical match to a previous signature could prove a forgery, or it could prove that the person is the same. The instance may depend on how often the individual signs his or her name exactly the same.

Through repeat handwriting habits and consistent changes or slight modifications, the expert may identify how the person writes and signs words. It is possible to make a positive identification of the author of the writing through assessment of all criteria. This could prove that the defendant is guilty or innocent of forging documents. Additionally, some slight changes may occur with penmanship if the person is sick or suffering from various ailments or conditions. Taking all factors into account, the professional may provide evidence to increase the strength of the plaintiff’s case. The lawyer will use the testimony of the expert in an attempt to seek a remedy or compensation for the damage the defendant caused.

The Types of Forgery and Discovering the Problem

There are four types of possible forgery issues that the expert may discover. This could include a blind forgery where the person executing the forged signature is unaware of what the actual signature should look like from the person with the handwriting. Forged checks for money are most often found to have these when the bank or other financial institution does not check the signature on file. Without a comparison, the individual is unaware of what it should look like, and it may look vastly different.

The second most common is the simulation. This is where a sample exists, and the forger practices the signature to attempt to get it exactly the same. The more time spent on detail, the more it will resemble the correct handwriting.

One of the less difficult but more easily discovered is the tracing. The person uses a sample and traces over it when visible through light. The last is the optical transfer where a real and genuine signature is then transferred to the important document.

The expert will need to run each possibility against the alleged forged signature. Through his or her testimony, it may become clear to the courtroom that the document does have a forgery in place. This could invalidate the formal document and lead to possible criminal charges against the defendant. Additionally, the victim may acquire awards through damages owed in monetary amounts.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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