Uttering and Forgery often go hand and hand, but they are two distinct crimes. Forgery involves the creation of the forged document, while uttering involves the passing of that document. You can be prosecuted for one or both of these crimes depending on the acts that you are alleged to have committed. Give the experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers of SLG Law a call to discuss your particular case.
Uttering is defined in Florida Statute Section 831.02. In order to prove the crime of Uttering, the State must prove:
- You passed or offered to pass as true a document, and
- you knew the document to be false, altered forged, or counterfeited, and
- you intended to injure or defraud some person or firm.
What kind of documents that you can be prosecuted for uttering?
- a public record,
- a certificate,
- a return or
in relation to a matter wherein such certificate, return or attestation may be received as a legal proof, or
- a charter,
- writing obligatory,
- letter of attorney,
- policy of insurance,
- bill of lading, bill of exchange
- promissory note, or
- an order, acquittance, or discharge for money or other property, or
- an acceptance of a bill of exchange or promissory note for the payment of money, or
- any receipt for money goods or other property,
- any passage ticket, pass or other evidence of transportation issued by a common carrier.
Forgery and Uttering are two separate crimes. Of course, the State must prove that you knew that the check or document was false, altered, forged or counterfeit. So if someone presented you with a check and you truly believed it was a valid check signed by the person who's account the money was to be drawn from, you would have the defense of lack of knowledge.
Uttering is a Third Degree Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The most common defense to uttering is lack of knowledge that the document was forged or altered in any way. The State must prove that you knew it was false, forged altered, or counterfeited. They also must prove that you intended to defraud or injure someone. Usually the bank or the account holder. Many Uttering cases involve a person cashing a check on a friend or family member's account. There is often a issue of whether that family member or friend initially gave the person permission to utter the check only later to claim that they didn't give the permission. There are also always unique factual defenses. Give us a call to discuss your forgery case that possible viable defenses.
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