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Arrested for Publishing and Uttering in Michigan?

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arrested for uttering and publishing michigan

If you’re arrested for uttering and publishing in Michigan, you’re probably aware of how serious of a charge it is. 

Below, we detail the state’s definition of the charge, the penalties you face, and the potential defenses a skilled fraud attorney can use to grant you the best result possible.

Arrested for uttering and publishing in Michigan? Not happy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation.

Definition of Uttering and Publishing

According to Michigan law, “uttering and publishing” is defined as: 

A person who utters and publishes as true a false, forged, altered, or counterfeit record, instrument, or other writing listed in section 248 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.

Specifically, this means that an individual accused of this offense is “uttering” (or producing) a fraudulent written instrument, such as a check. 

You could’ve given the “bad check” to a bank, retailer, hired professional, or anyone really. 

If you’re suspected of producing a fraudulent document to get something in return, then you can be arrested for uttering and publishing in Michigan. 

WATCH: Arrested for Uttering and Publishing? Explaining the “Paper Crime”

Arrested for uttering and publishing in Michigan? Not happy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation.

Penalties for Uttering and Publishing in Michigan

In Michigan, uttering and publishing is a felony offense.

It’s punishable by up to 14 years in prison, and is a class C offense.

Uttering and publishing can also include using counterfeit money, which is a five-year felony and can include a fine of up to $2,500.

The penalties for this crime are severe, because it’s a relatively “easy” offense to commit.

Therefore, the authorities have a special interest in making the penalty harsh in order to prevent this offense.

Arrested for uttering and publishing in Michigan? Not happy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation.

Sentence for Uttering and Publishing in Michigan

The sentence for uttering and publishing depends on several factors, such as:

  • if you have a prior criminal record
  • amount involved in the “fraudulent” transaction
  • restitution for the outstanding value of the transaction

Michigan’s sentencing guidelines identify a certain amount threshold, which is $20,000. 

Anything more than $20,000 will likely result in a harsher sentence, such as a prison sentence.

However, this is more specific to uttering and publishing a check.

There are different types of uttering and publishing, such as offenses involving interest in real estate or property.

In this case, your maximum prison sentence is five (5) years. 

Michigan’s sentencing guidelines can work to avoid the maximum prison sentence, but only if you hire the right counsel to defend your case.

How Prosecutors Prove Guilt in an Uttering and Publishing Case

In order for the prosecutor to find you guilty, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. you intended to defraud someone with an instrument, and/or
  2. knew that the instrument was fraudulent or false

Additionally, you could use another instrument to purchase the “instrument” to satisfy the offense’s elements.

For instance, if you receive a valid gift card with a stolen or fraudulent credit card, this is considered uttering and publishing and follows the maximum punishment for 14 years in prison.

Arrested for uttering and publishing in Michigan? Not happy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation.

The Steep Consequences of an Uttering and Publishing Conviction in Michigan

Uttering and publishing is classified as a crime of dishonesty. 

Therefore, the effects on future criminal cases, employment, and licensing are severe.

A crime of dishonesty is used against you in a variety of ways.

For instance, what if you’re in court to argue that you’re injured from a car accident?

The defense in that case can (and most likely, will) use your uttering and publishing conviction to say that you’re a dishonest person. 

Additionally, this type of conviction can prevent you from working in the insurance, financial, or even the cannabis industry.

Specifically, in the cannabis industry, if the individual has a crime of dishonesty on their criminal record, the state will deny them a license.

While you can apply to expunge a crime of dishonesty, it can’t automatically expunge from your record.

Therefore, this requires significantly more time and resources to clear this charge off your record in the future.

Arrested for uttering and publishing in Michigan? Not happy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation.

Defenses to Fight an Uttering and Publishing Charge

Uttering and publishing is a specific intent crime.

This means that the accused must have the specific intent to commit fraud.

Like any criminal offense, there are a few possible defenses you can use to fight an uttering and publishing charge.

1. You Didn’t Know The Instrument Was Fraudulent

If you don’t know that it was a fraudulent instrument and/or you didn’t intend to defraud anyone with it, then this is a viable defense.

2. I Wasn’t The One Who Presented the Instrument

A successful fraud attorney can argue that you weren’t the one that presented the false instrument.

3. The Instrument Was Never Published

If you never published or presented the instrument to anyone for anything of value, then you can argue that no crime exists.

4. The Instrument Isn’t Protected Under Law

If the instrument isn’t listed in the statute, then the prosecution can’t move forward with uttering and publishing charges.

5. Mitigation is Possible, Too

Sometimes, while the prosecutor may not possess hard evidence to convict, there can be a lot of circumstantial evidence on their side.

In this case, there are also ways to mitigate the charges. 

Since this is a financial crime, the courts typically worry about how you’ll reimburse the victim.

Therefore, by paying or restoring funds to the victim in the crime, you can mitigate both the punishment and the crime itself.

As lawyers, we’re always trying to avoid explicit theft and dishonesty convictions for our clients.

This is why we’ll consider every defense and option, including mitigation.

Arrested for uttering and publishing in Michigan? Not happy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation.

Arrested for Uttering and Publishing Michigan? Fight It With The Right Attorney

It’s extremely important to explore all your options and defenses with this serious charge. 

Our experienced and proven criminal defense attorneys have been defending people for over 20 years for criminal charges such as uttering and publishing. 

We know exactly what to do in order to grant our clients the best possible outcome.

Arrested for uttering and publishing in Michigan? Not happy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation.

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Barton Morris
Barton Morris has been providing high-quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for more than 20 years.
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