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Generally, forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents (such as false document), with the intent to deceive.  Copies, replicas, and reproductions are usually not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations.  In the case of forging money or currency, copying or making money is more often called counterfeiting.  Counterfeit consumer goods are also considered forgeries when they are not manufactured or produced by designated manufactures or producers given on the label or flagged by a trademark symbol.  When the object forged is a record or document, it is commonly called a false document.

In Arizona, forgery, and the related offenses, are covered in ARS § 13-2001 et seq.


13-2001. Definitions

In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. "Access device" means any card, token, code, account number, electronic serial number, mobile or personal identification number, password, encryption key, biometric identifier or other means of account access, including a canceled or revoked access device, that can be used alone or in conjunction with another access device to obtain money, goods, services, computer or network access or any other thing of value or that can be used to initiate a transfer of any thing of value.

2. "Coin machine" means a coin box, turnstile, vending machine or other mechanical, electrical or electronic device or receptacle that is designed to receive a coin or bill of a certain denomination or a token made for such purpose and that, in return for the insertion or deposit of the coin, bill or token, automatically offers, provides, assists in providing or permits the acquisition or use of some property or service.

3. "Complete written instrument" means a written instrument that purports to be genuine and fully drawn with respect to every essential feature.

4. "Entity identifying information" includes, if the entity is a person other than a human being, any written document or electronic data that does or purports to provide information concerning the entity's name, address, telephone number, employer identification number, account number or electronic serial number, the identifying number of the entity's depository account or any other information or data that is unique to, assigned to or belongs to the entity and that is intended to be used to access services, funds or benefits of any kind that the entity owns or to which the entity is entitled.

5. "Falsely alters a written instrument" means to change a complete or incomplete written instrument, without the permission of anyone entitled to grant it, by means of counterfeiting, washing, erasure, obliteration, deletion, insertion of new matter, connecting together different parts of the whole of more than one genuine instrument or transposition of matter or in any other manner, so that the altered instrument falsely appears or purports to be in all respects an authentic creation of its ostensible maker or authorized by him.

6. "Falsely completes a written instrument" means to transform an incomplete written instrument into a complete one by adding, inserting or changing matter without the permission of anyone entitled to grant it, so that the complete written instrument falsely appears or purports to be in all respects an authentic creation of its ostensible maker or authorized by him.

7. "Falsely makes a written instrument" means to make or draw a complete or incomplete written instrument that purports to be an authentic creation of its ostensible maker but that is not either because the ostensible maker is fictitious, or because, if real, the ostensible maker did not authorize the making or drawing of the written instrument.

8. "Forged instrument" means a written instrument that has been falsely made, completed or altered.

9. "Incomplete written instrument" means a written instrument that contains some matter by way of content or authentication but that requires additional matter to render it a complete written instrument.

10. "Personal identifying information" means any written document or electronic data that does or purports to provide information concerning a name, signature, electronic identifier or screen name, electronic mail signature, address or account, biometric identifier, driver or professional license number, access device, residence or mailing address, telephone number, employer, student or military identification number, social security number, tax identification number, employment information, citizenship status or alien identification number, personal identification number, photograph, birth date, savings, checking or other financial account number, credit card, charge card or debit card number, mother's maiden name, fingerprint or retinal image, the image of an iris or deoxyribonucleic acid or genetic information.

11. "Slug" means an object, article or device that by virtue of its size, its shape or any other quality is capable of being inserted, deposited or otherwise used in a coin machine as a fraudulent substitute for a genuine token, lawful coin or bill of the United States.

12. "Written instrument" means either:

  (a) Any paper, document or other instrument that contains written or printed matter or its equivalent.

  (b) Any token, stamp, seal, badge, trademark, graphical image, access device or other evidence or symbol of value, right, privilege or identification.


13-2002. Forgery; classification

A. A person commits forgery if, with intent to defraud, the person:

  1. Falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument; or

  2. Knowingly possesses a forged instrument; or

  3. Offers or presents, whether accepted or not, a forged instrument or one that contains false information.

B. The possession of five or more forged instruments may give rise to an inference that the instruments are possessed with an intent to defraud.

C. Forgery is a class 4 felony, except that if the forged instrument is used in connection with the purchase, lease or renting of a dwelling that is used as a drop house, it is a class 3 felony. For the purposes of this subsection, "drop house" means property that is used to facilitate smuggling pursuant to section 13-2319.


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