Individuals facing a felony offense charge experience an enormous amount of stress, especially over the amount of jail time they may receive if convicted. When a West Virginia resident forged her deceased mother’s handwritten will, she found herself facing serious felony charges, as reported by the Charleston Gazette-Mail. In an effort to claim her mother’s $1.1 million estate without sharing it with her three siblings, the 46-year-old heir presented the allegedly forged document to the county clerk’s office. 

The hoped-for inheritance, however, did not come through because her siblings filed a civil lawsuit against her to contest the validity of their mother’s will. During the course of the legal action, law enforcement officials conducted an investigation and decided to file federal offense charges. 

After admitting that she signed her mother’s will, the defendant entered into a plea bargain with the court. She pleaded guilty to one count of forgery and one count of uttering, the latter charge reflecting her use of the forged document. Each count represented a felony offense. 

Generally, felony convictions in West Virginia may result in a sentence of incarceration ranging between two and ten years for each count. Facing one count of uttering and one count of forgery, the defendant may have received a total jail sentence of 20 years. Instead of incarceration, however, the judge ordered her to serve her sentence confined in her home. 

Under the Mountain State’s Home Incarceration Act, an individual must wear an electronic monitoring device and maintain a working telephone. He or she may also leave home to work, as reported on the West Virginia Legislature website.