How is Shoplifting Prosecuted in Arizona?
Are you facing shoplifting charges in the state of Arizona? If so, you’re probably worrying about the consequences. One thing is certain – shoplifting in Arizona is considered a criminal offense. The seriousness of the penalty will depend on several key factors when shoplifting prosecuted in Arizona.
Shoplifting: When is it a Felony and When is it a Misdemeanor?
Shoplifting is defined in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1805. The legal document states that shoplifting is defined as taking merchandise out of a commercial venue without paying for it, using somebody else’s financial data or resources to buy merchandise without having their permission or paying less than the price for merchandise. The concealment of goods and products is also classified as shoplifting under Arizona regulations.
Whenever the value of goods or property stolen from a store is below 1,000 dollars, an individual will probably face misdemeanor charges. Most often, a shoplifting offense will be classified as a misdemeanor, unless the value is high or the individual is a repeat offender.
Felony charges are the result of several common conditions:
- The value of goods and products stolen exceeds 2,000 dollars
- A shoplifting accident is a part of a continuous criminal episode
- Shoplifting is the result of gang activity promotion
- Firearm shoplifting
- Using an instrument or a device for shoplifting purposes
A shoplifting misdemeanor case will typically be handled by a city or a municipal court. The maximum possible jail sentence is 180 days and there will be a fine in the range of up to 4,575 dollars. People who are found guilty will also face up to three years of probation, classes and community service for shoplifting prosecuted in Arizona.
First-time offenders are unlikely to go to jail, especially if they cooperate with the prosecution, attend classes and complete a community service program. Depending on the situation, there could also be a deferred judgment or diversion possibility that will enable individuals to avoid the criminal conviction.
In the case of felony shoplifting, the charges will range from a Class 6 to a Class 4 felony.
A Class 6 felony applies in the case of shoplifting merchandise worth more than 1,000 dollars (but less than 2,000 dollars) and shoplifting a firearm. The sentence is probation to two years in prison for first time offenders. People who have another shoplifting conviction can expect a sentence of over five years in prison.
Class 5 felonies (shoplifting merchandise worth over 2,000 dollars, shoplifting that involves a criminal gang and repeat shoplifting over a short period of time) will result in up to 2.5 years in prison for first-time offenders and up to 7.5 years in prison for repeat offenders.
The most serious criminal charge is a Class 4 felony in the case of an instrument being used for shoplifting and being convicted with shoplifting in the past. Class 4 felony charges will result in anywhere between 1.5 and three years in prison. There will also be fines.
All of the shoplifters that get a felony charge should also expect up to three years of probation.
Civil Penalties in Arizona
Potential civil lawsuits are also a consequence for shoplifters in Arizona. Such civil proceedings are possible under Arizona Revised Statutes 12-691 and 12-692. According to the law, a shoplifter faces civil liability for a penalty that equals the amount of retail value obtained from stolen merchandise, as well as an additional court-appointed penalty.
Actual damages to the store will also have to be covered whenever someone is found guilty of shoplifting in a civil lawsuit.
Whenever the shoplifter is a minor, a shop owner can initiate legal actions against a parent or a guardian.
Most often, store owners will not go forward with legal action. Even if a letter is received from an attorney, this still doesn’t mean that court proceedings are about to be initiated. If you’re facing such a situation, it would be best to discuss the situation with an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney and to get a good idea about your options when shoplifting prosecuted in Arizona.