Forgery describes producing a copy or counterfeit of any document, banknote, a piece of art, or signature. The falsification of an item that infringes upon the legal rights of someone else is against the law in Arizona. A forgery conviction is a serious crime that can result in a felony, jail time, and hefty fines.
Seek help from the Scottsdale defense lawyers at the Hallam Law Group if you need forgery criminal defense in Scottsdale, AZ. Our experienced Scottsdale forgery attorneys can answer your questions, discuss your concerns, and begin to build a strong defense strategy during a free initial consultation.
The first step in defending your case is learning exactly what you are facing – in other words, understanding the Arizona law you broke or are accused of breaking. The more you know about the laws in Arizona, the stronger you can build your defense. Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-2002 contains the state’s forgery law. It says that a person commits forgery if he or she, with intent to defraud a person or business:
The state’s forgery law also says that investigators can reasonably infer that the individual has the intent to defraud if he or she possesses five or more forged instruments, even if the person never actually tries to use them. Forgery is a Class 4 felony in Arizona, punishable by a minimum sentence of one year in prison and a maximum of 3.75 years. Forgery is a Class 3 felony, punishable by two to 8.75 years in prison, if the defendant uses the forged instrument to purchase, lease, or rent a dwelling then used it as a “drop house” to facilitate smuggling.
In Arizona, you can get into serious legal trouble even if you don’t actually commit the act of forgery, simply by being in possession of forgery tools or devices. Having a forgery device in your control with “knowledge of its character” and the intent to commit fraud is criminal possession of a forgery device. This is a Class 6 felony in the state.
A “forgery device” can include any tool, plate, die, apparatus, software, article equipment, good, material, article, property, supply, or access device designed for use in forgery.
Possessing a forgery device with intent to use it or to help someone else use it for the purpose of forgery is a Class 5 felony. The state’s forgery device possession laws do not apply to peace officers or prosecutors who have the tools for the performance of job duties. Committing this crime is a Class 6 felony that comes with a minimum one-year sentence, up to two years total. A Class 5 felony is punishable with a minimum sentence of two years, up to 2.5 years.
You can defend yourself from forgery or possession of forgery device charges with help from experienced criminal forgery attorneys in Scottsdale. One potential defense is if you are a prosecutor or peace officer who committed forgery as part of his or her official duties. If this defense isn’t appropriate, you may also be able to argue that you did not have any intent to defraud anyone with your forged document, banknote, or signature, or that you did not intend to commit fraud or use the forgery tools in your possession.
The Hallam Law Group will work with you to arrive at the strongest possible forgery defense, with the goal of the courts dropping the charges against you or of minimizing your criminal penalties. Call (602) 237-5373 or contact us online to start with a free evaluation.