South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney for Forgery and Uttering Charges

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13th Jun 2017

Uttering a forged instrument is a serious criminal offense, potentially resulting in convictions of a third degree felony.   Conviction of this crime carries with it a maximum sentence of five years in prison.   A South Florida criminal defense attorney handles the defense of individuals who are charged with crimes of these natures.   A South Florida criminal defense attorney can explain the charges that you are facing so that you can make knowledgeable decisions about your defense strategy.

The most common type of uttering charge is signing another person’s name to a check.   However, the legal definition involves presenting the document with the intention to defraud another.   According to the Florida criminal statute, uttering a forged instrument includes the following elements:

  1. Uttering and publishing a false, forged or altered written instrument as true;
  2. Knowing that the instrument is false, forged, altered or counterfeited; and
  3. Acting with the intention to injure or defraud another.

This crime is considered a white collar crime and a crime of dishonesty.   A forgery charge can still be imposed even if the bank did not accept the instrument because it recognized the instrument as a forgery because the intent to injure is still fulfilled even if the transaction was not fulfilled.   Regarding the second element, actual knowledge is required to show that the defendant meets the knowledge requirement.   Constructive knowledge is not sufficient under Florida law, so it is not enough for the prosecutor to prove that the defendant “should have known.”  Rather, the prosecutor must show that the defendant actually knew that the instrument was forged.