What Is the Crime of Uttering?

The crime of uttering is committed when someone, with intent to defraud, knowingly sells, publishes, attempts to sell, passes or utters a forged, falsely made, altered or counterfeited obligation, document or security, according to Cornell University. In the United States, the crime carries a penalty of imprisonment of up to 20 years, a fine or both, if an obligation or security of the U.S. is involved.

The distinction between the crimes of uttering and forgery is that forgery is the creation of a false document, while uttering refers to the act of knowingly using that forged document. An individual only needs to knowingly pass on or use a forged document made by someone else to be guilty of uttering.