Posted Feb 2023
A theft involves taking someone else’s property without their permission or consent with the intent to deprive the owner of its use or possession permanently. A theft crime may also occur when a person knowingly accepts stolen property. In Arizona, a theft crime can include a range of crimes, from ‘lesser’ crimes like shoplifting to serious felony offenses like embezzlement.
Depending on some factors, including the value of the stolen property, a theft crime is either a misdemeanor or a felony. Theft crime penalties include imprisonment, fines, and sometimes a requirement to restore stolen property. A theft charge or conviction also has collateral consequences, including damaging your reputation and losing friends and other social connections.
Since theft in Arizona is not a single offense but a range of different offenses, you can be confused about your theft charges, especially if you do not have a legal background. For instance, while shoplifting is seen as a lesser offense than other theft crimes, it can attract severe penalties and leave you with a criminal record.
Accordingly, it is essential to distinguish between the different types of theft crimes to know what you are facing. If you are facing or are under investigation for a theft crime, a skilled theft crime defense lawyer can help you navigate the complex criminal defense process while protecting your rights.
Shoplifting involves stealing or removing merchandise or an item from a retail store. It is one of the most common theft crimes in Arizona. Shoplifting also occurs when someone intentionally removes a price tag to pay less for an item. It can also occur when a person pays for an item with a false or stolen account, including credit cards, without the knowledge or consent of the owner.
Unfortunately, due to the ‘simple’ nature of shoplifting, it attracts all forms of people, including children. Depending on the value of the stolen property, shoplifting penalties can be severe, even for children.
Arizona categorizes theft crime penalties based on the value of stolen property as follows:
Class 1 Misdemeanor – where the value of the stolen property is less than $1,000.
Class 6 Felony – where the stolen property’s value is between $1,000 and $2,000 or is a firearm.
Class 5 Felony – where the stolen property’s value is between $2,000 and $3,000.
Class 4 Felony – where stolen property’s value is between $3,000 and $4,000.
Class 3 Felony – where the stolen property’s value is between $4,000 and $25,000.
Class 2 Felony – where the stolen property’s value is more than $25,000
However, aggravating factors can lead to stiffer penalties in the above categories. The aggravating factors include repeat offenses, using a deadly weapon during the theft, injuring the victim or a third party while committing the crime, and stealing government property.
Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony theft charges, you risk imprisonment, fines, probation, having a criminal record, and other consequences like losing your driving privileges. Additionally, the criminal justice process is often complex and can confuse you. A theft crime charge, including shoplifting, is also humiliating. If you are facing theft crime charges in Phoenix, AZ, contact our well-qualified and experienced Phoenix theft crime defense attorneys at Huselid & Huselid Law. We will use our criminal defense skills and experience to fight for your legal rights, including having the court reduce or dismiss the theft crime charges. Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn more about our criminal defense services.