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Utah Forgery Defense Attorney

A Utah forgery charge can result in a felony conviction and up to five years in prison. If you are facing prosecution for forgery, you need an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer with a record of achieving real results. Stephen Howard has successfully defended more Utah criminal cases than most attorneys will see in their entire careers. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation for your Utah forgery case.

Elements of a Forgery Case in Utah

Forgery is broadly defined under the Utah criminal code to include making, altering, signing, issuing, transferring, or a variety of other acts involving a written document. Generally, the most significant elements of a forgery charge are that the person committing the act had the intent to defraud, the person did something with or to a document that purported to be the act of another person, and did not have the authorization of that other person.

Bad Checks in a Utah Forgery Case

The most common Utah forgery case will typically involve someone who has tried to cash a bad check. But just because the check you tried to cash turns out to be fake doesn't automatically make you guilty of forgery. In order to convict a person of forgery in Utah, the prosecutor must prove that the person had an intent to defraud. So if you received a check in good faith, believing that it was legitimate, you should are not guilty of forgery.

If a person writes a bad check on his or her own account, this generally will not be considered a forgery. But Utah criminal law still provides penalties for bounced checks if the person writing the check either knows that their are insufficient funds in the account to cover the check or fails to make good on the check withing a required period of time after it bounces.

Passing bogus checks is not the only way to be charged with forgery in Utah. Other creative ways people have gotten Utah forgery charges include: signing someone else's name to a traffic citation; submitting as verification of court-ordered community service a letter where the number of hours worked had been altered; and making up their own modified divorce decree then cutting and pasting in a real judge's signature.

Penalties for Criminal Forgery in Utah

The maximum potential penalty for a forgery conviction in Utah is a 0-5 year prison term and a $5,000 fine plus a 90% surcharge. Prison is not mandatory. A judge may suspend a prison term for a forgery conviction and place a defendant on probation. In felony cases in Utah, a judge may also impose up to a year in jail as a condition of probation.

The severity of a Utah forgery case is often compounded by the addition of a common companion charge - theft by deception. If a person tries to pass a bogus check, that constitutes a forgery. If the person succeeds and get money or other items of value in exchange for the check, that constitutes theft by deception. Even if the person is not successful in passing the check, the prosecutor will often charge "attempted" theft by deception. Theft by deception may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the value involved.

Forgery as a "Drug Crime" in Utah

Forgery is legally considered to be a "property" crime. But many prosecutors consider it to be a drug-related crime. The reason for this is that many people charged with forgery have an underlying drug addiction that is driving their behavior. If you are facing Utah forgery charges and also struggling with addiction, you need a Utah defense attorney who understands the legal side of your case as well as how to deal with the problems relating to addiction within the legal system.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing forgery charges in Utah, a felony conviction and jail or prison time are on the line. Stephen Howard is an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney, who has successfully protected his clients' rights in thousands of serious felony and misdemeanor charges during his career. His track record includes not guilty verdicts, dismissals, and many more successful results.

Contact us now to see what an experienced criminal lawyer can do for your case.
 

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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
  • Utah Probation Attorney Released - Client absconded for more than 10 years from felony probation with Adult Probation and Parole. At an order to show cause hearing, prosecutor argued aggressively for prison. Based on effective mitigation efforts by the defense, the judge agreed to release client without further jail.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
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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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