Uttering a forgery is a felony-level fraud charge in Wisconsin.  Contact Van Severen Law Office, S.C. for help: (414) 270-0202

Uttering a forgery is one offense included under the broad “forgery” category in Wisconsin.  The felony offenses involve creation of some sort of forgery, and this charge focuses on using the forged item.  Uttering a forgery is a Class H felony, which could result in a punishment of up to 6 years in prison, $10,000.00 in fines, or both.  This charge does not carry any sort of mandatory or presumptive minimum penalty.

Van Severen Law Office, S.C. is one of Wisconsin’s premier criminal defense law firms.  We operate through multiple offices around Wisconsin and strive to help individuals accused of all charges.  Frequently, our representation focuses on helping individuals charged with fraud and forgery charges.  Contact us immediately to schedule a free consultation.  We’re available 24/7 at (414) 270-0202.

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Section 943.38(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes

Section 943.38(1) focuses on creating forgeries.  Relevant to this article, section 943.38(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes focuses on uttering a forgery.  The law says:

(2) Whoever utters as genuine or possesses with intent to utter as false or as genuine any forged writing or object mentioned in sub. (1), knowing it to have been thus falsely made or altered, is guilty of a Class H felony.

Importantly, the law covers both uttering a forgery and possession with intent to utter a forgery.  Both of those offenses, even though one is only intending to use the document, are Class H felonies.  In most circumstances, attempted felony crimes carry penalties that are 50% of the completed offense.  Uttering a forgery is an exception to that general law.

Secondly, forgeries can only be of specific documents.  Those documents include:

(a) A writing or object whereby legal rights or obligations are created, terminated or transferred, or any writing commonly relied upon in business or commercial transactions as evidence of debt or property rights; or
(b) A public record or a certified or authenticated copy thereof; or
(c) An official authentication or certification of a copy of a public record; or
(d) An official return or certificate entitled to be received as evidence of its contents.

Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1492

At trial, the government must prove various parts of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  We call those parts the elements of the offense.  And jury instructions describe the elements of various charges in Wisconsin.  Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1492 provides the elements of “uttering a forged writing (check).”  Although these elements focus on a forged check, courts modify the instructions to fit the specific document involved.

  • Firstly, the document is a writing that creates or transfers legal rights or obligations.  A bank check, or an endorsement on a bank check is such a writing.
  • Secondly, the check was forged, that is, falsely made or altered.  The check must have been falsely made or altered to appear to have been made by another person, at another time, with different terms, or by authority of someone who really did not give such authority.
  • Thirdly, the defendant uttered as genuine the check or endorsement.  To utter a check or an endorsement as genuine simply means that the check is presented for payment or cashed with the representation that the check or endorsement is genuine.
  • Finally, the defendant knew the check or endorsement was falsely made or altered at the time it was presented.
The defendant looks at forged checks on her computer
Uttering a forgery is a Class H felony in Wisconsin. Contact Van Severen Law Office, S.C. for help at (414) 270-0202.

Fake COVID-19 vaccination cards

During the COVID-19 pandemic, officials throughout the United States warned individuals that creating a fake vaccination card could expose them to both federal and state criminal liability.  Federal liability focused on the unauthorized use of an official government agency’s seal, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is a crime and may be punishable under federal law under Title 18 United States Code, Section 1017.

Wisconsin prosecutors may pursue charges involving a fake vaccine card using the forgery and uttering a forgery statute.  While our jury instructions in this article focus on checks, a fake vaccine card is a “writing or object” that creates, terminates, or transfers a legal right.  So long as the government believes they can satisfy the other elements of the charge, using a fake vaccination card could lead to criminal charges.

How can a criminal defense attorney help me win my case?

Firstly, hiring the right criminal defense lawyer is one of the most important decisions you can make.  Not all attorneys are the same, and sometimes, the cheapest lawyer in town isn’t the best.  At Van Severen Law Office, S.C., we encourage individuals to speak with a few different lawyers, see their offices, and evaluate whether you’ll truly be in the best hands.  Clients, courts, and other lawyers recognize our firm as one of the best in Wisconsin.   We’re confident you’ll agree after speaking with any of our criminal defense lawyers.

Once we’re retained, we’ll review your case for potential pre-trial motions. Those motions are different in every case.  In a forgery case, for example, the police may execute a search warrant on your home.  That search warrant must be based on evidence which shows probable cause that evidence of a crime will be found in the house.  This is important.  If police eventually find materials in your home that helped you produce the forgery, suppressing those pieces of evidence (if possible) is certainly important to your defense.

Finally, once we’ve exhausted all potential pre-trial motions, we’ll begin considering the conclusion of your case.  Are you looking to fight your case at jury trial?  Or are you simply looking to get the case done with and trying to resolve your case with a plea?  All clients have different goals.  We’re here to help you fight towards that goal.

Contact Van Severen Law Office, S.C. for help: (414) 270-0202

Because of our commitment to helping individuals accused of committing crimes throughout Wisconsin, we offer free, one-hour consultations to potential clients.  During your free consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to sit down with one of our criminal defense attorneys to discuss your case and figure out if representation from our firm is appropriate.  You’ll have the chance to ask questions and settle any issues or concerns you have.

Van Severen Law Office, S.C. focuses 100% of its resources on defending individuals accused of committing all crimes throughout Wisconsin.  Frequently these charges include property crimes, fraud, and other issues relevant to uttering charges.  We recognize how complex this cases can be, and we’re prepared to help.

Contact us immediately at (414) 270-0202.  Let’s start fighting your case together!

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