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WPIC 130.03 Forgery—Possessing—Offering—Disposing Of—Elements

11A WAPRAC WPIC 130.03Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal

11A Wash. Prac., Pattern Jury Instr. Crim. WPIC 130.03 (5th Ed)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
December 2021 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part XIII. Miscellaneous Crimes
WPIC CHAPTER 130. Forgery
WPIC 130.03 Forgery—Possessing—Offering—Disposing Of—Elements
To convict the defendant of the crime of forgery, each of the following elements of the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt:
(1) That on or about (date), the defendant [possessed] [or] [uttered] [or] [offered] [or] [disposed of] [or] [put off as true] a written instrument which had been falsely made, completed, or altered;
(2) That the defendant knew the instrument had been falsely made, completed, or altered;
(3) That the defendant acted with intent to injure or defraud; and
(4) That this act occurred in the State of Washington.
If you find from the evidence that each of these elements has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, then it will be your duty to return a verdict of guilty.
On the other hand, if after weighing all of the evidence you have a reasonable doubt as to any one of these elements, then it will be your duty to return a verdict of not guilty.
Use this instruction for possessing, offering or disposing of a forged instrument, which is only one of the ways of committing forgery. For an instruction based on other ways of committing forgery, see WPIC 130.02 (Forgery—Making—Completing—Altering—Elements).
Use bracketed material as applicable.
With this instruction, use WPIC 10.01 (Intent—Intentionally—Definition), WPIC 10.02 (Knowledge—Knowingly—Definition), WPIC 130.10 (Written Instrument—Definition), WPIC 130.11 (Falsely Make—Definition), WPIC 130.12 (Falsely Complete—Definition), and WPIC 130.13 (Falsely Alter—Definition).
It is preferable not to use the legalistic word “utter.” If it is used, it should be defined. See discussion in the Comment below.
For a discussion of the phrase “this act” in element (4), see WPIC 4.20 (Introduction) and the Note on Use to WPIC 4.21 (Elements of the Crime—Form).
RCW 9A.60.020(1)(b).
See the Comment to WPIC 130.02 (Forgery—Making—Completing—Altering—Elements).
To constitute forgery, the writing or instrument must be such that if genuine, it would have some legal efficacy or be the foundation of legal liability. State v. Scoby, 117 Wn.2d 55, 810 P.2d 1358, amended by 117 Wn.2d 55, 815 P.2d 1362 (1991); State v. Daniels, 106 Wn.App. 571, 23 P.3d 1125 (2001). Even a postdated check may create a legal liability because it can be cashed unless the bank is notified otherwise. State v. Young, 97 Wn.App. 235, 984 P.2d 1050 (1999).
Mere possession of a forged instrument is not sufficient to establish an intent to injure or defraud, and unexplained possession is not circumstantial evidence which alone is sufficient to support a conviction. State v. Vasquez, 178 Wn.2d 1, 309 P.3d 318 (2013). On the other hand, possession together with slight corroborating evidence of knowledge may be sufficient. State v. Scoby, 117 Wn.2d at 61–62.
In the context of forgery, the word “utter” is generally defined as meaning “to put or send (a document) into circulation; esp., to circulate (a forged note) as if genuine.” Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019). As such, the word essentially has the same meaning as “puts off as true,” a phrase that is already included in the instruction. The latter phrase is much easier for jurors to understand and should be used instead of “utters.”
Presenting falsified government documents (alien registration card or temporary resident alien card) in response to a police request for identification can constitute forgery, even when the entries on the documents (name, date of birth, signatures, etc.) correctly identify the presenters. “Though a forgery, like false pretenses, requires a lie, it must be a lie about the document itself: the lie must relate to the genuineness of the document.” State v. Esquivel, 71 Wn.App. 868, 863 P.2d 113 (1993). Intent to defraud could be inferred from the appearance of the defendants' names when “the instruments' only value would be to falsely represent the defendants' right to legally be in this country. By showing the cards to the officers, they misrepresented their legal status, even though they did not misrepresent their legal names and other details about them.” State v. Esquivel, 71 Wn.App. at 872.
A defendant cannot be convicted of forgery by falsely making a document “unless it is proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he lacked authority to sign an instrument.” It is, however, unnecessary to give a separate instruction to that effect, so long as the jury is instructed in the form of WPIC 130.03 (Forgery—Possessing—Offering—Disposing of—Elements), WPIC 130.11 (Falsely Make—Definition), and WPIC 130.12 (Falsely Complete—Definition). See State v. Soderholm, 68 Wn.App. 363, 376, 842 P.2d 1039 (1993).
[Current as of September 2019.]
End of Document