Uttering in Massachusetts

What is considered uttering in Massachusetts?

Uttering is attempting to pass into circulation a worthless document as genuine. It is the passing or publishing of a forged document with the intent to injure or defraud. Any document can be uttered, but the most common documents uttered are checks or prescriptions.

What are the laws against uttering in Massachusetts?

Section 5 of chapter 267 of our General Laws criminalizes uttering. To be convicted of uttering, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt four things:

1. That the individual passed or attempted to pass as true and a genuine a check or other order for money, a promissory note, or an order for other property;
2. That the check, promissory note, or order for property was falsely made, forged or altered;
3. That the individual knew it was falsely made, forged or altered; and
4. That the individual passed or attempted to pass it with the specific intent to injure or defraud someone.

What types of uttering are there?

There are a number of different types of uttering offenses in Massachusetts. However, the most common charges are for uttering checks and prescriptions.

What happens if I am arrested for uttering?

Each case is different, but if you are charged with uttering, you most likely will be arrested by the police department where the offense occurred and transported to the police station for booking and processing. Depending on your prior criminal history and the specific type of uttering offense, a determination will be made by a bail commissioner whether you will be released on your personal recognizance (i.e. your promise to appear in court), a specific dollar amount or whether you will be held overnight until the next court date where you will appear before a judge who will determine the amount of bail you must give to the court before you can be released from custody.

What are the penalties?

If convicted of uttering in Massachusetts, an individual could face up to 10 years in state prison or not more than 2 years in jail.

What are the differences between uttering and forgery?

Uttering is the passing or publishing of a forged document with the intent to injure or defraud. Forgery is the making of a false document or the alteration of a true document to make it false, with the intent to injure or defraud. Any document can be forged or uttered, but the most common documents are checks and prescriptions.

Why you should hire a defense attorney?

The penalties for uttering a check or document are harsh. If convicted of uttering, an individual faces a felony offense which carries with it a significant risk of incarceration and lifetime consequences which will affect every facet of your life. Your license to drive a motor vehicle could be in jeopardy and you have to admit on employment applications that you have been convicted of a felony offense. Our firm can help you and ensure that the Commonwealth proves their case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. We have handled hundreds of uttering cases with success. We will work hard for you to protect your license and your criminal history.