Forgery Charges in Arizona

person sitting with many papers - types of forgery

Forgery Charges in Arizona

Forgery is actually one of the most common types of white collar crimes. You’ve probably seen at least one movie about people forging art or currency, documents are actually the most commonly forged items. And forgery doesn’t always mean creating a fake passport or a work of art from scratch—altering images or changing the information on an ID are types of forgery as well.

Arizona law defines forgery as:

  • Making, completing, or altering a written document (electronic or otherwise) with false information
  • Knowingly possessing a forgery
  • Presenting a forgery with the intent to defraud

These actions can lead to some serious charges, and even your arrest. Punishment for forgery is equally severe, so think twice before you print that fake ticket or photoshop that image. Here’s more information about forgery and the 

Four Common Types of Forgery

1: Document Forgery

Borrowed Documents 

Trying to pass off a borrowed, found, or stolen document as your own is illegal. This common form of forgery is often done by young adults who wish to drink at bars and may borrow an ID from a family member who looks like them. This form of forgery is similar to identity theft, and can sometimes be charged together. 

Forged Tickets

Creating fake paper or electronic tickets for events, like shows or concerts, is quickly becoming a very common form of forgery. This also includes scams like posting tickets for sale and never providing them once paid, as well as sending fake tickets in the mail or electronically.

Blank Document Forgery

If you provide false information when filling out forms—especially legal or government documents—it is a type of forgery. This could look like providing false income statements on taxes or filling out a credit application in someone else’s name. 

Altering Documents 

Altering a document without permission is another form of document forgery. For example, changing the information or images on a passport is a crime.

Creating False Documents

Completely homemade forgeries, like passports and other government identification, can often be easy to spot. Other types of homemade documents might include letters of ownership or bills of sale for forged artwork.

2: Counterfeiting 

Creating false currency (aka counterfeiting) is always a crime. Whether you are recreating the U.S. dollar or mimicking another country’s currency, it is illegal. Participating in any part of counterfeiting is a crime, from creating the printing plates to sourcing a press or specific type of paper. And using false currency will definitely land you in hot water with the Arizona justice system. 

3: Image Forgery

Image forgery is the act of tampering with digital images, like photos or documents, for malicious purposes. A recent uptick in image forgery has been related to changing political images to sway the public. 

4: Art Forgery 

Often portrayed in television and movies, this form of forgery is defined as duplicating a work of art with the intent to sell it as an original. Document and art forgery are often committed together, as most auction houses and private buyers require provenance (proof of origin or ownership) before purchasing.

The Punishments for Forgery Are Serious in Arizona

Most types of forgery are categorized as class 4 felonies. A conviction could mean up to 15 years in prison plus 3 more years of probation. There are also fines, fees, and even reparations that must be paid as well. 

Penalties may be harsher for some types of forgery crimes and more lenient for others. For example:

  • If the forgery is used to purchase or rent a drop house (a location used for the trafficking of illegal goods or people) then the felony is raised to a class 3. In Arizona, this can mean up to 25 years in prison along with 3 years of probation and heavy fees and fines.
  • Ticket forgery is the only crime in this group that is a misdemeanor. Convictions carry a maximum of 6 months in jail and $2,500 in fines. 

If You Have Been Charged with Forgery, Hire a Lawyer

Having a felony on your record can drastically change your life. It often makes finding work or housing difficult, and may place strain on your social relationships. Hiring the right legal team is important if you are trying to fight forgery charges and keep your record clear. 

The Van Norman Law team has over 25 years of experience fighting felony charges in Arizona. By including you in the process of planning your defense, we are able to build the strongest case possible. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.




Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/12/23). Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash.