Uttering is a crime that involves the act of passing or using a forged document, like uttering a forged check. The crimes of uttering and forgery are closely related and we often see them both charged in the same complaint or indictment. Uttering and forgery were both common law offenses derived from English and American common law. Forgery is the creation and fabrication of a document with intent to defraud, while uttering is the passing or publication of a forged document that someone else had made with the intent to defraud. Uttering is the publication of the forged document. To “utter” means and includes, to use or attempt to use a forged document to induce any particular person or entity. This could happen in a number of ways. For instance, in Massachusetts it is unlawful to utter any of the following things:

  • Check;
  • Draft;
  • Forged or altered record;
  • Deed;
  • Instrument;
  • Other writing;
  • Railroad company stamp;
  • Railroad pass, ticket agent stamp, ticket or mileage book;
  • Seal of the land court or any document with the forged seal.
Massachusetts Uttering Statute

The crimes of uttering and forgery in Massachusetts each require proof of the intent to injure or defraud another. The Massachusetts law against uttering is a concurrent felony rather than a misdemeanor and is codified in M.G.L c. 267, § 5-6. In order for the defendant to be guilty of this offense, the Commonwealth must be able to prove the following four things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That the defendant passed or attempted to pass as true and genuine, a check, a promissory note or any other official document;
  2. That the official document was falsely made, altered or forged;
  3. That the defendant knew it was falsely made, altered or forged;
  4. That the defendant passed or attempted to pass it with the specific intent to injure or defraud someone.

In order to prove the first element, the Commonwealth does not have to prove that the official document was actually passed on to someone else, just that there was an attempt to pass it along, even if the defendant was unsuccessful. To prove the second element, the Commonwealth only has to be able to prove that a part of the official document was forged, not all of it. And in order to prove the fourth element, the Commonwealth must be able to identify the person who the defendant was trying to defraud.

Boston, Massachusetts Uttering and Forgery Crimes Criminal Defense Attorney

The criminal consequences associated with uttering and forgery, are severe, and could lead to significant consequences including jail or state prison time, court fees, strict probation terms and restitution. If you or someone you know are facing forgery or uttering charges, it is essential that you contact an experienced Massachusetts defense attorney immediately. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has successfully defended uttering and forgery charges in courts throughout Massachusetts and has the legal knowledge and capacity to assert all necessary affirmative defenses dealing with forgery and uttering charges. Attorney Murphy has been practicing criminal defense law in Massachusetts for nineteen years, and as a result of his dedication and expertise, he has successfully acquired favorable outcomes for his clients. Put Attorney Murphy’s skill and expertise to work for you. To contact the Law Office of Attorney Patrick J. Murphy today for a free and confidential discussion of your case, please call (617) 367-0450 or complete the contacts tab on our website.

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