Defining Forgery in Arizona
Forgery can occur on many different levels of society; when a person commits forgery they can be criminally charged with a Class 4 felony and face up to 4 ½ years in state prison. A skilled attorney will be able to help you fight forgery charges and possibly avoid imprisonment.
A person commits the criminal offense of forgery when they create a false written document or when they alter a genuine one with the intent to defraud. Forgery does not only consist of falsifying someone else’s signature. It can include filling in the blanks on a document which contains a genuine signature, or it can mean materially altering or erasing an existing instrument. A person can be convicted for any role they might play in falsifying a document, from materially altering it to falsely presenting a forged document as authentic.
People have been known to forge all sorts of documents including but not limited to: checks, bills of exchange, promissory notes, public records, deeds, and account books, tickets for events, passes for transportation, mortgage applications, mortgage documents and many more. Forgery is a Class 4 felony in the state of Arizona and it includes both fines and imprisonment.
There is a vast array of methods employed to commit this type of offense. Methods include handwriting, printing, engraving, and typewriting. Certain forgery crimes are also categorized under white collar crimes and identity theft.
It is unlawful to sign someone else’s name on a document and to represent the signature as genuine. It is also unlawful to present such a document with the knowledge that it contains a forged signature; therefore, even if somebody else forged the signature, you can be criminally prosecuted if you presented the document with the intention of defrauding any person.
Aside from false signatures, forgery includes creating any false instrument, which on the face purports to be authentic and genuine, with the intent to defraud another person. Therefore, you must be very careful about every document you sign, from receipts to legal agreements and everything in between. The criminal act of forgery spans across an array of behaviors that anyone can be susceptible to committing if not extremely careful.
Forgery crimes are extremely common in identity theft schemes and welfare fraud schemes. This can be seen with birth certificates, social security cards, driver’s licenses, and documents relating to welfare, Medicaid and food stamps. If you have been charged with forgery, you may be under the watchful eye of large government organizations in addition to your local law enforcement. With serious accusations such as forgery, you will need a strong criminal defense attorney representing you. If convicted, you are facing a felony conviction, up to 4 ½ years in an Arizona state prison, fines, probation or parole and more. So, don’t waste another minute, contact a criminal defense lawyer right away.