Forgery in Arizona (A.R.S. §13-2002)
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Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S. §13-2002 “Forgery” occurs when a person knowingly completes or alters a written instrument, knowingly possesses a forged instrument, or knowingly offers or presents a forged instrument (whether it is accepted or not). An instrument can still be considered a “forged instrument” even if it has a proper authentic signature, so long as it has a forged amount or other forged material information or alteration.
If a person possesses five (5) or more forged instruments, there is a statutory inference that the instruments were possessed with the “intent to defraud.” The typical situation where Forgery is charged is when someone steals a check from someone else, makes it payable to himself, and then cashes it. In that situation, the defendant would have committed all the different ways he can be convicted for Forgery under the statute.
Need Arizona Forgery Lawyers? Contact DM Cantor if you have been charged with Forgery. Call 602-307-0808 for a Free Consultation.
Possible Punishment for Forgery
Forgery is a class four (4) felony. For a first offense, possible punishment includes probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of one (1) year to three and three quarters (3.75) years of incarceration. If a person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is two and one quarter (2.25) years to seven and one half (7.5) years of incarceration. If a person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is six (6) years to fifteen (15) years of incarceration.
Possible Defenses for Forgery
The most commonly asserted defense to a Forgery charge is that the defendant had consent from the owner of the check, or someone authorized to give permission on the owner’s behalf, to add the owner’s signature. The situation occurs commonly between spouses or other close relatives where at one point, a family member may have been authorized to act on behalf of their close family member, and to write checks to others or to themselves. Problems arise when a couple goes through a divorce or through other family changes, and then one of the parties claims they never gave permission to the other party to sign one of their checks. This is also sometimes seen with roommates who have fallen out of favor with each other. Another defense to Forgery is the defendant’s lack of knowledge that the document was forged when they presented it to be cashed. This commonly occurs when the defendant’s so-called “friend” asks him to run down and cash a check for him at the cashing store; but he never tells the defendant that he forged the check, and the defendant gets arrested for Forgery. It is important to interview all witnesses who have knowledge of the reputation and character of both the defendant and the accusing party in order to establish a defense to the Forgery charge.
Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; video surveillance; etc.. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Forgery lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.
It is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). Also David Michael Cantor is an Arizona Forgery Lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, the Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. At DM Cantor, the majority of our Attorneys are ex-Prosecutors, and all of our Arizona Forgery Lawyers know the system well. For a Free Initial Consultation, call us at 602-308-0808, or click here to contact us now.
Contact DM Cantor and speak to a Arizona Forgery Lawyers. We will assist you with your Forgery case.