Shoplifting is one of the most commonly charged crimes in Tempe and throughout Arizona. In many cases involving first-time offenders, prosecutors are willing to offer probation; however, that isn’t the case for everyone. And by pleading guilty to a shoplifting offense, you’ll end up with a criminal record that will make it harder to get a job or go back to school. Just because you’ve been arrested for shoplifting doesn’t mean you will be found guilty. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Tempe criminal defense attorney regularly defends clients charged with shoplifting and other theft crimes, ensuring their arrests have as little impact on their future as possible.How Is Shoplifting Defined in Arizona?
Shoplifting, or retail theft, involves knowingly taking items that are displayed for sale in a store with the intent to remove the items from the establishment. Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1805, there are a few different ways that someone can commit the offense of shoplifting.
- Removing goods from their immediate display or any other place without paying the purchase price;
- Charging the cost of goods to a fictitious person;
- Purchasing goods in another’s name without their permission;
- Paying less than the full purchase price of goods through the use of a “trick or artifice such as altering, removing, substituting or otherwise disfiguring any label, price tag or marking”;
- Placing goods in another container, bag, or object; or
- Concealing goods while in the store.
Given the broad definition of shoplifting, it’s clear that you don’t actually need to leave the store to commit the offense. Thus, the law allows loss prevention officers (i.e., security guards and store employees) to stop someone in the store for suspicion of shoplifting. Additionally, the use of force to escape detainment or an arrest could turn a shoplifting offense into a robbery, which is much more serious.Penalties for Shoplifting in Arizona
Those arrested for shoplifting in Tempe can face misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the value of the items taken. Below is a breakdown of how shoplifting crimes are classified:
Taking items valued at more than $2,000 – Class 5 felony, punishable by 9 months to 2 years in jail, with a presumptive sentence of 18 months.
Taking items valued between $1,000 and $2,000 – Class 6 felony, punishable by 6 months to 18 months in jail, with a presumptive sentence of one year.
Taking items valued at less than $1,000 – Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail.
There are also a few specific rules where a shoplifting offense may be more serious. For example, any shoplifting crime involving a firearm is a Class 6 felony. Also, shoplifting offenses carried out to promote, further or assist any criminal street gang or criminal syndicate is a Class 5 felony.
Another unique rule allows prosecutors to add up the value of items taken over the course of 90 days. Under the “continuous criminal episode” rule, if you shoplifted a total of $1,500 or more on three or more separate occasions within 90 days, the crime will be graded as a Class 5 felony.Reach Out to a Knowledgeable Tempe Criminal Defense Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today
If you were recently arrested for shoplifting in Maricopa County, contact our Tempe theft crime defense lawyer at the Law Office of James E. Novak. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we are known across the state for providing each of our many clients with the aggressive advocacy they need, deserve, and are entitled to. We have more than 20 years of experience handling shoplifting, receiving stolen property, theft of services and other theft crimes. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Novak today, call 480-413-1499. We can help you fight your case and protect your future.