Forgery and Uttering
Forgery and Uttering a Forged Instrument are commonly charged alongside each other, although they are two separate crimes under Florida law. Forgery and Uttering a Forged Instrument are felony white collar crimes that may be prosecuted in state or federal court. If you are under investigation for alleged forgery or uttering, you can face serious repercussions and damage to your reputation if you fail to obtain a qualified forgery defense attorney in West Palm Beach.
Defining Forgery in West Palm Beach
Forgery occurs when a person falsely creates, alters, forges, or counterfeits a particular document with the intent to injure or defraud a person, entity, or firm. It is the making of a false document or the changing of a document to be used as if it were an official document. The law protects several types of documents, including:
- Insurance Policies
- Letters of Attorney
- Notarized documents
- Public records
- Receipts for money, goods, or other personal property
- Tax returns
- Transportation tickets
Some of the most commonly forged items are:
- Legal contracts
- Identification cards
- Property Deeds
- Historical documents
Components to a Forgery Charge
To be convicted of forgery, the prosecution must show the following:
- The offender made, altered, forged, or counterfeited a written instrument
- The written instrument falsely claimed to come from another person or entity
- The written instrument seemed to convey legal significance
- The offender intended to injure or defraud another person or entity
Penalties for Forgery
Forgery is typically prosecuted at the state level, although it can become a federal offense when forgery involves the alteration of a government-issued identification or an attempt at identity theft. Forgery offenses are third-degree felonies that carry a maximum prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Uttering a Forged Instrument
When a person presents a false or worthless instrument, or any of the items in the above list, with the intent to defraud or harm another person or entity, this is called “uttering.” Uttering is the act of attempting to pass a forged document or other instrument as the original document.
Penalties for Uttering
Like forgery, this is a third-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of five years in a federal prison and possible fines of up to $5,000.
The first step in constructing a solid defense for forgery and uttering charges in West Palm Beach is to secure a free consultation with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer like Brian Gabriel. For over 25 years, Mr. Gabriel has dedicated his career to providing strong legal representation for those accused of criminal offenses. Call 561-622-5575 for a free initial consultation or contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel online.