Crime of Uttering in Massachusetts

If you’ve never heard of the crime of uttering in Massachusetts, you’re not alone. While the word “uttering” as it pertains to the criminal code may be very unfamiliar, the actions that define uttering may be more common. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our experienced criminal defense attorney can represent you if you have been charged with the crime of uttering. Call today for a consultation to learn more about your legal rights. 

What Is the Crime of Uttering?

Uttering is a crime that is closely related to forgery, and often a person who is charged with uttering will also receive a forgery charge, and vice versa. The definition of the crime is found in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 267, Section 5 and explains that uttering occurs when a person “utters” and “publishes as true” an order for money that they know to be false, forged, or altered. An “order for money” might include a check, a promissory note, or an order for other property. 

So, to distinguish between forgery and uttering, forgery is the act of creating the false document, whereas uttering is the act of using the false document. 

What Are the Elements that the Prosecution Must Establish?

In order for the prosecution to secure a conviction of guilty, it must be able to prove the following elements:

  1. The defendant used or attempted to use and pass as genuine an order of money;
  2. The order of money was falsely made, forged, or altered;
  3. The defendant knew that the order of money was falsely made, forged, or altered; and
  4. The defendant used or attempted to use the order of money with intent to defraud or injure another. 

Defenses to Uttering Charges

Two key elements that the prosecution must establish are 1) the defendant had knowledge that the order of money was false and 2) the defendant had intent to defraud in using the order of money. As such, if a defendant can prove that neither of these things is true, then the prosecution will not be able to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are facing charges, your attorney can work with you to identify the best strategy for your defense and what evidence may be used to help prove any claims you are making in your defense. 

Get Legal Help Today 

Facing criminal charges is scary, especially when you don’t understand the charges or how to defend yourself. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, we know what you’re going through and want to help. Give our experienced criminal defense attorney a call directly today (978) 397-0011 or use the intake form on our website to send us a message telling us more about your case. You deserve legal representation.