Criminal Defense Law Center
West Michigan

Under Michigan law, uttering and publishing, forgery and counterfeiting are felony crimes that are treated very seriously.

Uttering And Publishing

People that run companies and public offices such as the Secretary of State need to have records that are reliable and accurate. Forgery, falsifying document and counterfeiting cost businesses, individuals and national, state and local governments billions of dollars a year. The cost of this is always past on to the consumer.

Uttering Definition

“A person who utters and publishes as true a false, forged, altered, or counterfeit record, instrument, or other writing, knowing it to be false, altered, forged, or counterfeit with intent to injure or defraud is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 14 years.”

These types of crimes typically involve a person presenting checks against a bank, credit union, business or individual that are fraudulent, forged and presented for payment with the intent to commit fraud. An example of this crime is a person knowingly cashing checks when the person knows there is no money in the account that is being drawn.  Another example is where a person forges a check and cashes it. The check was not written by the person whose name is on the check and the person cashing the check knows this.

The Michigan court of appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court have held that the documents used to commit the crime of uttering and publishing need not be counterfeit or forged documents. This law punishes people that use instruments which are legally valid but were acquired using deception.

Michigan Uttering And Publishing Punishment

Under Michigan law, uttering and publishing, forgery and counterfeiting are felony crimes that are treated very seriously. If you are caught with five or more counterfeit currency or coins carry a punishment of up to life in prison. These types of crimes can easily end up in Federal Courts where prison time is given out like candy by tough judges.  Uttering and publishing is prevalent in all West Michigan courtrooms.

Attorney Shawn James Haff and The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan have the experience and a proven track record of results when it comes to defending people charged with serious felony charges such as uttering and publishing and forgery.  We know how to get the best results possible for our clients. We know how to:

  • Reduce a felony charge down to a misdemeanor charge
  • Obtain a delayed sentence
  • Obtain HYTA for youthful offenders
  • Avoid prison or jail
  • Get a reasonable payment plan for restitution
  • Reduce the amount of probation for our clients

Is Forgery A Felony?

Under MCL 750.249, uttering and publishing is a felony  that is punishable by 14 years in prison.

Examples

A clear example of this is a holding from the Michigan Court of Appeals. In this case the court upheld a conviction for uttering and publishing that had a defendant open a bank account under a false name and then tried to use a check that was valid on the fake account that was created.  Another example is person use valid gift cards that were bought by a stolen credit card and identification that was false. The court held that this was also a case of uttering and publishing.  

The crime of uttering and publishing to some seems like an obscure offense. It is a phrase not used anywhere else but within the legal system. However, this crime is not obscure. This crime is more relevant today that when it first became law back in 1931.  Advancing technology is continually making the ability to make false documents easier and harder to detect. This technology makes it harder for businesses and banks to detect fake bills and documents. It increases the risk of a person unknowingly presenting a fake bill or document and that increases the risk of someone facing criminal charges for uttering and publishing.  

 Forgery

This crime is different from uttering and publishing because forgery does not demand the presentation of a check or another instrument for payment.  To put it another way, this crime only deals with the act of making a false instrument. The penalty for this crime ranges from seven to 14 years in prison.

Insufficient Funds

According to MCL 750.131

“(1) A person shall not make, draw, utter, or deliver any check, draft, or order for the payment of money, to apply on account or otherwise, upon any bank or other depository with intent to defraud and knowing at the time of the making, drawing, uttering, or delivering that the maker or drawer does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the bank or other depository to pay the check, draft, or order in full upon its presentation.

  (2) A person shall not make, draw, utter, or deliver any check, draft, or order for the payment of money, to apply on account or otherwise, upon any bank or other depository with intent to defraud if the person does not have sufficient funds for the payment of the check, draft, or order when presentation for payment is made to the drawee. This subsection does not apply if the lack of funds is due to garnishment, attachment, levy, or other lawful cause and that fact was not known to the person when the person made, drew, uttered, or delivered the check, draft, or order.

  (3) A person who violates this section is guilty of a crime as follows:

  (a) If the amount payable in the check, draft, or order is less than $100.00, as follows:

  (i) For a first offense, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.

  (ii) For an offense following 1 or more prior convictions under this section or a local ordinance substantially corresponding to this section, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

  (b) If the amount payable in the check, draft, or order is $100.00 or more but less than $500.00, as follows:

  (i) For a first or second offense, a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or 3 times the amount payable, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.

  (ii) For an offense following 2 or more prior convictions under this section, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. For purposes of this subparagraph, however, a prior conviction does not include a conviction for a violation or attempted violation of subdivision (a).

  (c) If the amount payable in the check, draft, or order is $500.00 or more, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the amount payable, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.

  (4) If the prosecuting attorney intends to seek an enhanced sentence based upon the defendant having 1 or more prior convictions, the prosecuting attorney shall include on the complaint and information a statement listing the prior conviction or convictions. The existence of the defendant’s prior conviction or convictions shall be determined by the court, without a jury, at sentencing or at a separate hearing for that purpose before sentencing.”

Counterfeiting

This crime is a felony charge. The maximum incarceration time for this crime depends on the number of coins or notes a person possesses. Under MCL 750.261, a person who has five or more coins or currency faces up to life in prison!  If a person is in possession of less than five bills or coins faces up to ten years in prison.

Financial Transaction Device Crimes (Credit/Debit Card Fraud)

Debit cards, credit cards and gift cards are financial transaction devices. All crimes that are committed using a transaction device are felonies and are punishable by up to four years in prison. A person who is in possession of a credit card of another or uses a credit card of another will be facing this four-year felony charge.

Why Choose Us?

Attorney Shawn James Haff and his team of lawyers develop a plan for their clients to get the best results possible when it comes to financial crimes. We will be proactive with our clients. If there are issues with addiction, we will send you to counselors and psychologies that will help solve the underlying psychological disorders. We want to make sure our clients do not ever get into trouble again and that can’t happen until the underlying issues are properly addressed. Next, we formulate a defense strategy to get our clients the best results possible in court. 

Because we examine a case from every angle and prepare ourselves for every possible outcome, we will find opportunities to get our client a diversion program. We will find chances to get the best plea deal possible. We will create an opening to keep our clients from going to jail or prison.

For just one phone call, you can get answers to all our questions and exceptional attention to your case. You can rest assured that you have outstanding criminal defense attorneys on your side and working hard to get you the best deal possible. Call Shawn now at 616-438-6719! Get the best results possible! Do not wait! Call today! Waiting can only hurt your case! Don’t delay! The call is free! Will you be?

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