I'm wondering if a defendant was to take the ownership papers of a $125,000 yacht and shredded them, would it still be considered forgery since it is altering the document?

  • Edge cases like this usually depend on the jurisdiction. There might be a separate category for the destruction of documents, or not.
    – o.m.
    Apr 21, 2021 at 5:47

2 Answers 2



The destruction of a document is not forgery - it's routine practice.

However, if the document were destroyed for an unlawful purpose, that might be a different crime - evidence tampering, attempting to pervert the course of justice, etc.

  • 1
    Identifying conduct as "routine" does little to clarify its legality.
    – bdb484
    Apr 21, 2021 at 12:31
  • @bdb484 criminalisation of everyday practice never works - I point you to prohibition, homosexuality and prostitution
    – Dale M
    Apr 21, 2021 at 12:34
  • 1
    Those are interesting observations from a policy perspective, but all of those things were nonetheless legitimately illegal. In turn, I point you to speed limits.
    – bdb484
    Apr 21, 2021 at 14:49

Is shredding a Document included in Forgery?

You don't give a jurisdiction, so for : NO

s.1 of Forgery and counterfeiting Act 1981 defines forgery as:

A person is guilty of forgery if he makes a false instrument, with the intention that he or another shall use it to induce somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person’s prejudice

The unlawful shredding of documents would probably be criminal damage, theft or perverting the course of justice depending on the circumstances.

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