Mesa Theft Crime Lawyer
Over 15 Years of Experience At Your Service
Theft is an umbrella term for a long list of crimes in Arizona. From shoplifting and taking low-value items to controlling and re-selling stolen properties, theft crimes are serious charges in Arizona that can result in a criminal record, fines, and jail time. Naegle Law Firm, PLC has represented many clients accused of theft crimes and helped them fight back.
Call us at (480) 245-5550 to speak to our theft crime attorney in Mesa and learn more about how we can assist you.
What Types of Crimes Are Considered Theft in Arizona?
In broad terms, a person can commit the crime of theft if they knowingly take certain actions without consent and/or legal authority to do so. That includes using someone else’s property or service without authorization; obtaining someone else’s property or services by fraudulent means; controlling lost property without making any reasonable attempt to locate its owner; controlling or selling stolen property, or obtaining compensable goods or services without paying for them.
Shoplifting is the most common theft crime in Arizona. It happens when an individual enters a store with the intention of taking an item without paying for it, usually by concealing it or using an accomplice. Another common crime is organized retail theft, which is when a person or a group of people takes items from a retail store without paying and resells the stolen items. Theft from an employee can happen both in a retail and non-retail setting and is another frequent crime in the state. In this case, an employee uses insider information to steal merchandise or inventory from their employer. Finally, embezzlement is also common and a more serious form of theft which usually involves some type of fraud or forgery to obtain goods or services through deceitful means.
What Is the Difference Between Misdemeanor Theft and Felony Theft in Arizona?
A theft crime receives a misdemeanor or felony classification depending on the total dollar value of the items that were stolen. If the total value of items stolen is $1000 or less, the crime is considered a misdemeanor. If the total dollar amount exceeds $1000, the crime will most likely be charged as a felony.
There are a few circumstances that are usually charged as a felony regardless of the dollar value attached to the items stolen. When an animal or a firearm is stolen, the crime will likely be classified as a felony regardless of the value of the stolen property. If there was any type of violence or threatening behavior involved, additional charges for assault may also apply.
What Are the Penalties for Theft Crimes in Arizona?
Penalties for theft crimes vary depending on the total value of property stolen, and charges can vary from a Class 1 Misdemeanor Theft to a Class 2 Felony Theft. Stolen items worth under $1000 can result in a misdemeanor theft charge, sometimes referred to as “petty theft”, which is the least serious of all theft crimes and may result in up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $2500 as well as restitution to the victim. For first-time offenders charged with misdemeanor theft, a defendant may be able to enter a plea agreement that may include probation and minimal jail time (or sometimes no jail time) in exchange for restitution of stolen items and payment of fines.
Penalties become gradually more severe as the dollar value of items taken goes up. The most serious felony theft charge in Arizona is a Class 2 Felony Theft and it involves stealing property or services worth $25,000.00 or more. This type of charge can result in up to 12.5 years in prison, and a hefty fine of up to $150,000.00.
What Are Possible Defense Strategies an Attorney Can Use in a Theft Case?
Even a misdemeanor theft crime is not something to be taken lightly as it will show up on background checks and thus cause significant complications for many areas of your life for many years to come. A knowledgeable Mesa theft defense attorney can help you fight for a chance of getting charges dropped. When that is not possible, a theft attorney can help with obtaining a lesser conviction or a more lenient sentence.
There are many possible defense strategies that can be employed to reach a better outcome. A few common examples may include questioning the quality of the police’s investigation and the reliability of the evidence collected against your case. Additionally, your defense attorney may argue that the prosecution has the wrong valuation of items and/or services that were allegedly stolen, or that you were merely present at the location where the crime took place and that you were not involved in it or were mistakenly accused by an eyewitness. Another possible strategy is to try and convince the court that your constitutional rights were violated through an illegal search and seizure or Miranda rights violations, for example.
At the Naegle Law Firm, PLC, we have helped many clients charged with a variety of theft crimes and can assist you if you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with a theft-related crime in Arizona. We will run our own investigation of your case and carefully examine the prosecutor’s evidence in order to create a defense strategy to help you fight back. Being charged does not automatically mean you will be convicted.
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