What is the Best Defense Against Shoplifting in Arizona?

best defense against shopliftingShoplifting is a crime with many years of history. In fact, theft of clothing dates back as far as the 18th century. Creating a criminal defense for shoplifting in Arizona is crucial to protecting your good name and getting back to your life before being accused of shoplifting.

The store where you’re accused of shoplifting can choose whether or not to press charges. Whether or not they press charges, the city or county of the offense can still press charges. The store will provide whatever evidence it has in the case to the prosecutor.

The following items may be included in a store’s evidence:

  • Images of stolen merchandise
  • Report from loss prevention officer
  • In-store video
  • Receipt or other proof of merchandise value
  • Witness accounts

If there is an outstanding court case against you at a merchandiser, you may be prohibited from stepping foot on the property until the court case is resolved. But what else can you expect throughout the process? Here’s a look.

What sort of charges can you face?

In Arizona, shoplifting charges can be anywhere from a misdemeanor to a class 4 felony. The charges brought against you depend on the value of the goods you’re accused of stealing.

Under Arizona Revised Statues 13-1805, you can be charged with shoplifting if you knowingly take merchandise without paying, charge an improper price for the merchandise if you work for the store, trick the store employee into charging less than the purchase price, or place merchandise in a different container to make it appear as though it is something else.

While some of these scenarios can happen by mistake, you’ll be found culpable for the crime if you conceal the merchandise or use some sort of instrument to aid you in shoplifting.

The charges for a misdemeanor shoplifting conviction can be up to six months in prison and a fine of as much as $2,500 in Arizona. You can also face up to a three-year probation. In contrast, a class four felony can have up to three years and three quarters years in prison.

How to defend yourself against shoplifting charges

There can be a variety of innocent scenarios in which a person walks out of an establishment unknowingly taking something with them that they did not purchase. This can be in situations where the shopper simply neglected to pay for the item when they checked out because it was out of sight, and therefore, out of mind.

If this is the case, a criminal defense attorney can prove that the act was not intentional, and you did not knowingly try to keep the merchandiser from proper payment.

Another defense for a shoplifting accusation can come in the form of discrediting the witness account of the loss prevention officer. This is because the loss prevention officer is not a law enforcement officer and therefore doesn’t have the same credentials and training to provide such testimony as to what can be seen in the surveillance film.

If this is the case, these statements can be kept from court documentation and from being used in the verdict of your case.

Why you should consider hiring an Arizona criminal defense attorney

Being charged with shoplifting does not automatically mean that you will be found guilty of the charges. You still have the opportunity and right to defend yourself in court. To do this to the best of your ability, you should bring in an experienced criminal defense attorney.

A criminal defense attorney will evaluate and analyze all evidence in the case. Your attorney will then build your case accordingly and do all they can to ensure the best possible outcome.

Click here for information on an incriminating statement to police can be used against you.