26th Sep 2015

According to Florida’s statute 831.01 “whoever falsely makes, alters, forgers or counterfeits” specific documents laid out in the statute with the intent to defraud can face serious criminal penalties. There is a separate statute and crime for uttering an instrument. A South Florida criminal defense attorney can help explain the elements of the criminal allegations that you are being charged with. Additionally, a South Florida criminal defense attorney can help evaluate the particular circumstances of the case in order to determine if there are any viable defenses and whether the prosecution can actually prove such an allegation.

Specified Documents

To be prosecutable under this statute, the document that is purported to be a “forgery” must be one that is clearly listed in the applicable statute. This includes public records that require the signature of a court clerk or related officers or registration with a court. It also includes written legal documents, including wills, deeds, bonds, attorney letters, insurance policies, promissory notes and contracts. Additionally, receipts and documents that purport to discharge debt are included within the statute. Likewise, so are passenger tickets for transportation purposes. The offense of “uttering a forged document” requires the publishing of one of the documents listed above.

Intent

It is the prosecution’s duty to prove that the defendant had the requisite intent to commit the crime. Under this statute, this requires that the prosecution show that the defendant had the intent to injure or defraud another person. If the prosecution cannot meet this burden of proof, the defendant should be found not guilty. An accident can never be a crime.

Defenses

A successful defense of a charge of this nature is usually associated with establishing that the prosecution cannot prove one of the required elements. For example, the prosecution must be able to show that the defendant knew the writing was forged when he or she uttered it. Likewise, the prosecution may not be able to show that the defendant had the specific intent to injure or defraud another person.

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