Shoplifting Defenses

Respected Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer Upholding the Rights of Clients Charged With Theft Crimes

Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes in Phoenix and throughout Arizona. In fact, Shoplifting offenses make up about 44 percent of all Phoenix arrests. As a result, Arizona law enforcement officers are taking an increasingly harsh stance on retail theft offenses. Additionally, under Arizona law, employees are legally able to detain suspects until the police arrive, making it even easier for police officers to make an arrest. However, if you’ve been arrested it’s important that you understand you have options and you may be able to avoid a conviction and all that comes along with it.

At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Phoenix shoplifting lawyer understand the best shoplifting defenses, when they apply, and how to use them to mitigate or eliminate your exposure. We have been serving clients in Maricopa County for more than 25 years, and understand the ins and outs of the local court system and players involved, giving us an edge that hard to find with other criminal defense firms in Phoenix.

What Are the Best Shoplifting Defenses in Arizona?

Like all crimes, shoplifting has several defenses that apply in a variety of situations. While not every defense applies in each case, the following are the most common shoplifting defenses:

  • Lack of Intent: In a lack of intent defense, you claim that you did not intend to commit a theft, which is a key element of shoplifting. For example, this defense may apply if you accidentally walk out of a store with an item without paying, possibly due to distraction or forgetfulness, thereby negating the intent to steal.
  • Mistake of Fact: This defense is based on your belief that you had a right to the property or thought you had paid for it. For instance, a person might believe they scanned an item at a self-checkout kiosk when they actually did not, leading to a misunderstanding rather than deliberate theft.
  • False Accusation: This defense aims to prove that you were wrongly identified as the shoplifter or that the allegations against you are baseless. Evidence like alibis, surveillance footage, or witness testimony can support claims of mistaken identity or wrongful accusation.
  • Insufficient Evidence: This defense challenges the strength and adequacy of the evidence presented by the prosecution. If the evidence does not conclusively prove theft, or if there are doubts about its integrity, the charge of shoplifting may be reduced or dismissed.
  • Right to Possession: This defense contends that you believed, even mistakenly, that you had a lawful right to possess the item. It differs from a mistake of fact in that it focuses on the belief in legal entitlement to the item, not just a belief about a particular transaction's details.
  • Return of Property: Attempting to return stolen property can sometimes be used to show remorse or confusion about the right to the property, which might lead to a more lenient sentence or reduced charges, although it does not directly counter the accusation of shoplifting.
  • Miranda Rights Violation: If law enforcement fails to read the Miranda rights to you during you arrest, any self-incriminating statements made afterwards may be inadmissible in court. This can significantly weaken the prosecution's case to the extent it relies on your statements.
  • Entrapment: In an entrapment defense, your Phoenix shoplifting lawyer will claim you were persuaded or lured into committing the crime by law enforcement or another entity, and that you would not have otherwise gone through with the otherwise. This defense focuses on proving the undue influence or pressure exerted on you to engage in illegal activity.
Are You Looking for a Phoenix Shoplifting Lawyer?

If you’ve been charged with shoplifting, it is important that you have an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney review your case before deciding how to proceed. Often, one or more defenses apply, and you may be able to beat your case. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we have extensive experience successfully defending clients charged with shoplifting offenses and know what it takes to reach the final result you’re looking for. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with our Phoenix shoplifting lawyer today, call 480-413-1499. You can also reach us through our secure online contact form.

Client Reviews
I was facing criminal charges with three priors in my history. Mr Novak was very helpful and got me a lighter sentence than I probably deserved. He is a great attorney and I would highly recommend him. A. T.
James worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the prosecution, to decrease my son’s charges to a more reasonable penalty. I could not have asked for a better, more professional attorney. He treated my son with the utmost respect and walked him through every step of a very difficult situation. S. G.
Attorney Novak did an outstanding job defending my son. Due to his extensive professional background within the court system, he was successfully able to defend my son during a very difficult time for my family. I highly recommend Attorney James Novak for your legal needs. T. G.