23rd Jun 2016

A South Florida criminal defense attorney can assist clients who are charged with various crimes, including charges of uttering a forged instrument. One way that a South Florida criminal defense attorney provides such assistance is by presenting all applicable defenses at and before a trial. Some potential defenses include:

Missing Element

In order for the prosecution to secure a conviction, it must prove each essential element of the crime by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. For an uttering charge, the elements are:

• Uttering and publishing a forged, altered or false instrument as being true;
• Knowing that said instrument was forged altered and false; and
• Having the intent to injure or defraud

If any of these elements are missing, the prosecution cannot be successful. Some ways that these elements may be challenged include:

Not Forgery

If the instrument in question is not a forgery or was not wrongly altered or falsified, the prosecution cannot establish the first element of the crime. For example, if a person was instructed by the check writer to change the check, the change reflects the check writer’s desire to alter it.

Lack of Knowledge

One area where uttering charges may fall apart is by proving that the defendant had the requisite knowledge of the falsity of the instrument. The prosecutor cannot only assert that the defendant should have known that there was a forgery. Instead, he or she must prove that the defendant actually knew that the instrument was forged.
This defense is often best when a defendant seeks legal counsel at the beginning of the case. It may be difficult for the prosecution to establish this knowledge without a confession or statement from the defendant that implies such knowledge.

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