When stopped for speeding, don’t say you’re your sister

It was a heck of a try by Carissa Jean Elizabeth Stahosky two years ago when she was stopped for speeding in Ramsey County. She had already lost her driver’s license so she said she was her sister.

When it came time to appear in court on the speeding charge a month later, she again said she was her sister, signed a continuance for dismissal and signed a payment agreement with her sister’s name. She paid the $241 fine and that was that.

Until her sister found out and told the police.

She was charged with forgery and convicted in district court. She appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which today rejected her defense that she didn’t mean to defraud anyone. She claimed she was only trying to get out of a speeding ticket.

“… the “intent to defraud” element (Minnesota state law on forgery) exists even when one signs a document under an assumed name or the name of another and does not implicate money or property interests,” Judge Carol Hooten wrote in her decision today. “It is sufficient that as a result of a forged writing or object, a defendant intends to defraud a police officer or the criminal justice system from pursuing appropriate action necessary to enforce and execute the law.”

Someone was harmed in the case, Judge Hooten suggested. The state was deprived of its right to prosecute Stahosky for more serious offenses and was deprived of a fine that could have been as high as $3,000.

As it is, Stohosky got 30 days in jail.