Uttering a Forged Instrument - Aaron Delgado & Associates

Everything You Need to Know About Uttering a Forged Instrument

by Aaron Delgado
06/29/22 (Updated: 06/29/22)

Crimes come in many shapes and forms, and one legal issue that many people are unfamiliar with is the crime of uttering a forged instrument. Even though it may sound a bit outdated, this crime is far more common than many people realize. This is a crime that takes place when you take a forged instrument, put it into circulation, and try to pass it off as true.

There are numerous examples of forged instruments, and all of them can carry significant criminal penalties. If someone tries to forge a document, pass it off as true, and gains some sort of benefit from it, they are guilty of uttering a forged instrument. Depending on the consequences of this action, the penalties can be severe.

What Are Examples of Forged Instruments?

There are plenty of examples of forged instruments. Some of the potential examples include:

  • Forged Check: If you try to forge a check in someone else's name, you could be guilty of uttering a forged instrument. You do not necessarily need to create an entirely new check. If you try to misrepresent the value of a check you have been given, you could still be guilty of the same offense.
  • Forged Invoice: If you run a business, you may be tempted to create a second invoice in an effort to get more money from someone. This is a forged invoice, which is another very common example of a forged instrument. This is illegal.
  • Forged Financial Statement: If you are applying for a loan, you may be tempted to put forth a forged financial statement. This could be a financial statement from your bank or a paycheck from a potential employer. If the document is not real, the crime is the same.
  • Promissory Note: There are even situations where people misrepresent something called a promissory note. This is a note that indicates that someone is making a promise to repay someone else. If someone tries to create a fake document showing that someone else promised them to give them money, they are guilty of the same crime.

These are just a few of the most common examples of situations where someone might be guilty of uttering a forged instrument.

Does Money Have To Change Hands for a Crime To Take Place?

A lot of people are under the misconception that money has to change hands before this becomes a crime. In reality, this is not the case. For example, if someone tries to create a check in an effort to steal money from someone else, but they are caught immediately before money has changed hands, they will still be guilty of uttering a forged instrument. Even though they might not be charged with the crime of obtaining money illegally, they will still be charged with the crime of trying to obtain money illegally.

The same could be said of someone trying to use fake financial documents to qualify for a home loan or a car loan. Even if the dealership or the lender catches someone using a fake document before the loan can be issued, that individual is still guilty of the crime of uttering a forged instrument. Even though they have not successfully qualified for the loan, they will still be guilty of the same crime.

Is Uttering a Forged Instrument Considered a Felony?

Whether this crime rises to the level of a felony depends on the location in which it is committed. In Florida, this crime is considered a third-degree felony. Furthermore, it is punishable by up to five years in prison. Therefore, this crime is incredibly serious. In addition, it will show up on the most basic of all background checks. As a result, it can be hard for someone to qualify for housing or get a job.

On top of this, it can be a challenge to put forth a strong defense when facing this charge. Under the statute issued in the State of Florida, the district attorney does not necessarily have to prove that the defendant intended to use the instrument himself or herself. The attorney also does not need to prove that the person intended to profit from the use of that instrument.

The only thing that has to be proven is that the defendant was the person using that instrument and that someone would have been harmed if the instrument had been used. Therefore, it is important to work with an attorney who understands the details of this charge and how to put forth a strong defense.

What Does the Prosecutor Need To Prove?

One key element that the prosecutor has to prove is that the defendant knew the instrument had been forged. For example, if someone tries to cash a check that he or she believes has been written in good faith, but it turns out to be fake, the defendant is not guilty of using a forged instrument. The prosecutor would not be able to prove that the defendant knew the check was fake.

The easiest way for the prosecutor to prove that someone knew an instrument had been forged is for the police department to extract a confession. That is why it is important for anyone who is being investigated for this crime to avoid speaking to any police officers without the presence of a lawyer. Even if you feel like the facts of the case are on your side, you never know what will happen when you get into the interrogation room.

Therefore, do not try to fight these charges on your own. Before criminal charges have even been filed, you need to reach out to an attorney who can assist you. At Aaron Delgado and Associates, our job is to protect your rights, so rely on us to help you in this matter.

Contact Aaron Delgado and Associates For Help With Forged Instruments

Clearly, the idea of uttering a forged instrument is a very complicated case with a lot of moving parts. That is why you need to rely on a Florida attorney who has experience in this area. At Aaron Delgado and Associates, we have the training and experience necessary to assist you.

We know that there are plenty of situations where people might not have known they were using a forged instrument, and we understand the consequences can be difficult to predict. That is why we are here to listen to your case without judgment. If you would like to learn more about how we can assist you, contact us today for a case consultation. Let us defend your rights.

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