According to the 2021 Florida Statues, Uttering Forged Instruments occurs when a person knowingly offers, passes, or makes use of a forged document with the intent to defraud or injure a third person or entity.
A conviction for uttering a forged instrument is considered a crime of dishonesty and shows up in every kind of background check. This kind of crime is a third-degree felony in the State of Florida, which means that a person convicted can be punished by up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
When a person is convicted of Uttering Forged Instruments, a judge may sentence him or her to probation, but may also impose a sentence up to the statutory maximum of five years in prison.
The elements of Uttering a Forged Instrument under Florida Statute § 831.02 are the following:
- Uttering and publishing as true an altered or forged instrument.
- Knowing the instrument to be forged, false, counterfeited, or altered.
- Intending to injure or defraud.
Of the three elements, the only one that is required for a conviction is the last one. According to the law, what matters most is the intention of defrauding or injuring, whether the intended victim was actually defrauded or injured, or not.
Some specific defenses to the crime are:
- Patently Ridiculous Writings: Examples of patently ridiculous documents are checks for a “zillion” dollars or deeds to land on Jupiter. Forging these documents does not qualify as having the ability to fool people.
- Intent to Defraud: Uttering a $750 bill would not constitute uttering a forgery because it can not be considered as intended to be passed as original or genuine since a $750 bill does not exist.
When charged with a white-collar crime, the attorney you work with can make a world of difference in the outcome of your case. Criminal defense attorney Russell Spatz of the Spatz Law Firm, PL has the knowledge, skills, and decades of experience that it takes to handle complex white-collar crime matters. When your freedom and reputation are on the line, he will put his experience to work for you.