Forgery, Uttering & Worthless Check Offenses
Forgery, Uttering, & Worthless Check
If you've been accused for Forgery, Uttering or Worthless Checks, give us a call to discuss your rights and options. The State often charges citizens under these statutes even though they don't have the evidence to prove the allegations in court, yet the unknowing person may plead guilty or agree to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars out of fear of what may happen if they don't.
For example, the State may charge you with issuing a worthless check. However, they may not have a witness that can testify that you were the person that issued that check. Many of these cases involve checks being issued at large grocery stores where the store employee will not be able to identify the person who issued the check. Many of these stores do not implement safety procedures like fingerprint requirements and therefore, consciously decide not to develop evidence. The State has the burden of proof. They will often file cases that they can't prove with the hope that the citizen will not challenge the case and will simply plead guilty or no contest. This is often true in the case of worthless checks.
What if I’m charged with issuing a worthless check?
If a check is issued and there are insufficient funds in the account, the store will seek to prosecute the person who has the account. However, any person could have issued a check on another person’s account and obtained stolen merchandise. The State must prove that the person who handed the check to the store employee was you. They can do this by a teller who can positively identify you, surveillance video, fingerprints, etc. Usually, there is no surveillance video or fingerprints. Employees can rarely positively identify a person who issued the check due to the shear number of customers they come into contact with on a daily basis. The State usually relies on the employee testifying that he or she looked at a driver’s license and matched the photo to person issuing the check and the name on the check. However, employees rarely look carefully at the photo and photo ids can be faked.
What is the difference between forgery and uttering?
Forgery is the changing or making of a document with the intent to defraud someone. Uttering is passing that document to someone with the intent to defraud. So, if you made a counterfeit $100 bill, that would be forgery. If you gave that counterfeit bill to a convenience store in exchange for groceries, that would be uttering. You could be arrested and convicted of both forgery and uttering and you could be sentenced consecutively on each, meaning one sentence would start after the other was finished.
A conviction for forgery or uttering will not only make you a convicted felon, it can also have dramatically decrease your future employment options. These offenses are considered theft offenses and many employers will refuse to hire applicants with forgery or uttering offenses. If this is a first offense, you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program and sealing or expunction.
Call us right away to discuss your case and what we can do for you.
Click a link below to learn about the different Forgery, Uttering & Worthless Checks laws in the State of Florida and what the State needs to prove these cases.