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North Carolina Criminal Law 14-120: Uttering Forged Instrument - Containing Forged Endorsement

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Uttering Forged Instrument - Containing Forged Endorsement The crime of Uttering a Forged Instrument Containing a Forged Endorsement under North Carolina Criminal Law 14-120 is a felony criminal charge in North Carolina.

In addition to criminal sanctions, “crimes of dishonestly,” “crimes of theft,” and “crimes of moral turpitude” can have long-lasting consequences to your name and reputation in the community.

Uttering a forged instruments charges involve using a fraudulent document or “instrument” or some form of forged payment for the purpose of defrauding the alleged victim.

Such matters can be complicated, as they often involve bank statements, electronic records, and even handwriting analysis.

As is the case with all criminal charges in North Carolina, uttering, forgery, and thefts involving larceny or larceny by trick, must be proven Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

The prosecutor in the matter, in North Carolina defense attorneys refer to them as the “District Attorney” or “Assistant District Attorney” (ADA) carries the Burden of Proof and Burden of Production of Evidence that:

  1. The Defendant (the person accused of the offense, misdemeanor or felony) gave, or attempted to give, a payment instrument to another person
  2. The instrument (or any forged document) was forged or had a fake/fraudulent endorsement
  3. The accused knew the instrument was fraudulent and/or fake
  4. The Defendant had the intent to defraud the other person
  5. The Defendant “passed” or “uttered” or “published” or “delivered” the fake, counterfeit, or forged document
  6. North Carolina Criminal Law 14-119 defines a payment instrument as “currency, bill, note, warrant, check, order, or other similar instrument.”

For purposes of this offense, it is important to note that there must be an actual forged endorsement on the payment instrument. An endorsement is a signature or other form of authorization.

2. Examples of Uttering a Forged Instrument - Containing a Forged Endorsement

The accused defendant agrees to purchase a dishwasher at Lowes in Pineville, NC. He pays for the dishwasher by writing and signing a check. The check used belonged to another person and the Defendant did not have authorization to use (in any way or form) the other person’s checks, bank accounts, or debit card. The defendant may be charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument - Containing a Forged Endorsement, a Class I Felony offense.

The defendant goes to a local PNC bank near uptown Charlotte and cashes a check. The defendant used their real ID, but signed in another person’s name. The bank employee working the counter did not notice the forged signature or fraudulent check. Later that day, the bank discovers that the checks are stolen and the signature on the check was forged. The defendant may be charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument (Containing a Forged Endorsement), a Class I Felony offense.

The Defendant attempts to sign and cash a stolen payroll check drawn on the account from the Amazon Distribution Center in Mecklenburg County. The bank teller refuses to cash the check, advising the accused, “Hold on a second, I need to talk to my manager about this before we cash the check. I haven’t deposited yet. I’m sure there is just some mistake.” The Defendant becomes scared and rushes out of the bank. Weeks later the Defendant is contacted by a detective with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The defendant is not advised of her Miranda Rights and gives a full confession. Even though the check was not cashed, the defendant may still be charged with Uttering a Forged Instrument (Containing a Forged Endorsement), a Class I Felony offense.

3. Related Offenses

Other related criminal charges in Charlotte and topics of interest may include:

  1. Can I get my charges dismissed if they didn’t read me my Miranda Rights?
  2. Should I go to court if I’m sick?
  3. What are False Pretense charges?
  4. I got arrested, what should I do?
  5. What does “getting indicted” mean?
  6. Will I get arrested in Charlotte?
  7. What happens if I have a warrant for arrest?
4. Defenses to Uttering a Forged Instrument - Containing a Forged Endorsement

A Defendant may be able to challenge the crime of Uttering a Forged Instrument - Containing a Forged Endorsement and present a defense, arguing:

  1. No intent to defraud
  2. No intent to deceive
  3. Mistake
  4. Permission
    1. a. Valid Document / Instrument
  5. Failure to Identify or prove the identity of the accused
5. Penalties and Punishments in North Carolina

Uttering Forged Instrument - Containing Forged Endorsement Under North Carolina Criminal Law 14-120: Uttering a Forged Instrument - Containing a Forged Endorsement is a Class I Felony.

Depending on the calculated “PRL” or “Prior Record Level,” the NC Sentencing Guidelines allow for, in the appropriate legal circumstances, a maximum active period of incarceration in prison of up to 24 months.

6. Criminal Defense for Uttering a Forged Instrument Cases in Charlotte NC

If you are accused of Uttering a Forged Instrument, even if you have not been formally arrested or “charged” with the felony offense, we think it’s a good idea to immediately retain legal counsel.

Do not cooperate with the investigation. Similarly, do not give a statement or admit to any form of wrongdoing.

Obviously, we recommend you be polite with investigating officers, detectives, or other loss-prevention personnel.

Ask to speak with an attorney.

Exercise your 5th Amendment Right to remain silent.

As may be appropriate, legal counsel may assist in the process of “debriefing” with police officers, detectives, or other law enforcement officers.

Even just an arrest for a crime of theft, fraud, or dishonesty can have substantial adverse effects to your name and reputation in the community.

It can make it hard to maintain employment, find a good job, or in some instance, locate housing for your family.

There may be legal options available. Each case is unique. Prior to accepting responsibility or entering a deferred prosecution or deferral program in North Carolina, we further recommend you seek out legal advice from an experienced criminal lawyer in Charlotte.

Our team of defense lawyers in Mecklenburg County are available for consultation.

We keep secrets, which means legal consultations are confidential.

We also do not charge for consultations for criminal charges.

That is different from domestic and family law matters, where there may be fees associated with consultation.

If you Googled, “Lawyers Near Me,” we may be able to help you.

Our firm provides legal representation in the Charlotte-metro region and regularly handles matters in:

  • Mecklenburg County criminal court
    • Charlotte
    • Huntersville
    • Cornelius
    • Davidson NC
    • Pineville
    • Matthews
  • Iredell County
    • Statesville NC
    • Mooresville
  • Union County
    • Monroe NC
    • Waxhaw
    • Indian Trail
  • Gaston County
    • Gastonia
    • Belmont
    • Cherryville NC
  • Rowan County
    • Salisbury NC
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