Uttering a Forged Instrument Law & Legal Definition


Uttering a forged instrument is a criminal offense. When a person knowingly publishes or puts into circulation any forged or altered financial document, legal document or other writing with the intent to misrepresent it as true and defraud others it amounts to uttering a forged instrument. To “utter” means to distribute or offer under the pretense that it is genuine. The uttering of a forged instrument is a separate and distinct offense from the making of it. The accused must not only know that the instrument was forged, but s/he must intend to defraud at the time of offering it.

There are State specific laws on the area. The following is an example of a State law ( Florida) on uttering a forged instrument:

Uttering forged documents is a third degree felony in Florida and may be punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. [Fla. Stat. § 775.082; Fla. Stat. § 775.083]

Fla. Stat. § 831.02 Uttering forged instruments

Whoever utters and publishes as true a false, forged or altered record, deed, instrument or other writing mentioned in s. 831.01 knowing the same to be false, altered, forged or counterfeited, with intent to injure or defraud any person, shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

[Fla. Stat. § 831.01 says “ Whoever falsely makes, alters, forges or counterfeits a public record, or a certificate, return or attestation of any clerk or register of a court, public register, notary public, town clerk or any public officer, in relation to a matter wherein such certificate, return or attestation may be received as a legal proof; or a charter, deed, will, testament, bond, or writing obligatory, letter of attorney, policy of insurance, bill of lading, bill of exchange or promissory note, or an order, acquittance, or discharge for money or other property, or an acceptance of a bill of exchange or promissory note for the payment of money, or any receipt for money, goods or other property, or any passage ticket, pass or other evidence of transportation issued by a common carrier, with intent to injure or defraud any person, shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.”]