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Salt Lake Criminal Defense Lawyer - Utah Forgery Defense Attorney

If you are facing forgery charges in the Salt Lake City area, you need an experienced Salt Lake criminal defense attorney on your side.  Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard has successfully defended thousands of serious felony cases during his career.  A Utah forgery conviction could mean prison time, thousands of dollars, and a felony conviction.  Stephen Howard has the knowledge, skill, and determination to help you get the results you need.  When you are facing forgery or other serious criminal charges, you need more than a sales pitch.  You need straight talk from an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer with a track record of real results.

Elements of Criminal Forgery in Utah


Under Utah criminal law, the crime of "forgery" is broadly defined to include issuing, transferring, uttering, publishing, and just about anything else you could do with a forged document.  Traditionally, "forgery" involved the creation of fake documents such as identification documents, checks, etc, or the signing of someone else's name.  But under Utah criminal law, a prosecutor is not required to prove that you were in any way involved in creating the forged document or that you signed anything at all.

The most common document involved in Salt Lake forgery cases is a check.  To obtain a guilty verdict in a forgery case, the critical element is often the intent to defraud.  If a prosecutor can convince a jury that the defendant had the intent to defraud someone, the prosecutor does not have to prove that the defendant created the check or even signed the check.  The prosecutor simply has to prove that the defendant tried to cash a fake check.

Unlike theft charges, the level of a forgery charge has nothing to do with the value anything.  Whereas theft of items valued at less than $500 is a class B misdemeanor, a forged check written out in any amount (even five cents) is automatically a third degree felony charge.  Forgery charges for passing bad checks are often accompanied by an additional charge of theft by deception.  While the forgery charge is an automatic felony, the level of a theft by deception charge still depends on the amount of the check.  

Defending Forgery Cases in Salt Lake City, Utah


There are a number of angles from which to approach a forgery defense case.  These are just a few examples of factual issues that need to be addressed:  the document and the sources of the document should be examined to see there are clear indications of forgery; the client should be interviewed to determine whether there is a valid explanation for how the document came to be in his or her possession; police reports should be reviewed to determine whether there is evidence of an intent to defraud; witness statements need to be reviewed to determine if the witnesses can positively identify the client as the person actually involved in the forgery.

If the evidence against the clients appears to be solid, a negotiated resolution may be in the client's best interests.  Although forgery is legally considered a "property" crime, many Salt Lake area prosecutors treat it as a drug crime.  The reason for this is that many people who get caught passing bad checks are doing it to support a drug habit.

If you have found yourself involved in passing forged checks or other criminal charges as a result of a drug habit or addiction, you need an attorney who understands addiction as well as the legal system.  Stephen Howard has extensive experience working with addiction-related issues within the criminal justice system, and he understands how a person's addiction can actually be used to benefit them in negotiating a resolution to a criminal case.

If you are charged with forgery or any other crime in the Salt Lake area, contact us to learn what an experienced criminal defense attorney can do for your case.


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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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