Shoplifting involves knowingly entering a store and stealing merchandise. It can count as a misdemeanor or felony crime depending on the circumstances, value of the merchandise, and your criminal history. The law presumes that when someone uses a device or container to conceal an unpurchased item in a store, they were intending to shoplift.
It’s important to secure legal defense if you’ve been charged with shoplifting, which may result in serious conviction on your record. Your lawyer might be able to prove that you didn’t intend to steal and get your charges dropped or reduced.
Shoplifting Laws in Mesa
You’ve committed shoplifting if you’ve entered a business and taken merchandise with the intention to deprive that store of the item(s). While most people think of shoplifting as hiding something from a store in order to steal it, it can also involve charging goods to a fraudulent card. Shoplifting may include removing goods from a shelf or display without paying for them or disfiguring, substituting, removing, or altering a price tag or label in order to pay less for merchandise.
As mentioned, this offense can involve charging the price of the merchandise to someone else without their knowledge or to a fictitious person, along with concealing items with the intention to steal them. If you’re caught transferring goods from their original container to a different one, you may receive a shoplifting charge.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Mesa
Shoplifting penalties are determined by the details of the case, including the type and value of merchandise involved. The court may order you to perform public service and fulfill probation in addition to paying fines for the crime. If the merchandise stolen was worth less than $1,000, it’s a class 1 misdemeanor offense. The maximum penalty for this type of crime (if it’s your first offense) is six months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
If the shoplifted item was a firearm, the crime is a class 6 felony, which is the least serious category for felonies. The presumptive prison term for this crime is a year in prison, or two years with aggravating factors. Shoplifting property worth more than $1,000 but under $2,000 is also a class 6 felony offense. For stealing property worth at least $2,000, shoplifting goods during a continuing criminal episode, or taking items to assist or promote a criminal syndicate or street gang, you may receive a class 5 felony charge.
If you have prior instances of robbery, burglary, or shoplifting on your record, the crime may escalate to a class 4 felony. This offense can come with more than three years in prison.
If your shoplifting offense results in a misdemeanor charge, you may be able to avoid a conviction through a deferred judgment or diversion program. This type of program typically includes fines, community service, courses, and probation. Your shoplifting lawyer can try to negotiate diversion for you to secure a more favorable outcome.
Defenses for Shoplifting in Mesa
If you’ve received a shoplifting charge in Mesa, it’s imperative that you have an experienced legal representative supporting you. They may be able to show that you never intended to shoplift and took the item on accident while you were distracted. Perhaps you were profiled or falsely accused of shoplifting, which could also qualify as a valid defense.
In other cases, you may be blamed for someone else’s actions, such as switching tags on merchandise. Your lawyer could help show this to the court and potentially get your charges dismissed or dropped altogether. If someone accuses you of shoplifting, remember that you’re entitled to have a lawyer present before you answer any questions.
Having a shoplifting conviction on your record can hurt your professional opportunities in the future and end up costing you a lot. For a situation like this, it isn’t worth taking chances. Speak with one of our shoplifting lawyers in Mesa as soon as possible to protect your future.
JacksonWhite Law in Mesa, Arizona
JacksonWhite Law has been serving clients in the Mesa area since 1983. We offer a full range of legal assistance and have plenty of experience navigating cases just like yours with great success. As one of the biggest firms in the East Valley, we work to provide advanced, insightful legal solutions to families, businesses, and individuals throughout the state of Arizona.
From fines, to probation and jail time, being in legal trouble is no laughing matter. It could harm your opportunities in life and even make it harder to find a place to live. Speak with one of our skilled lawyers today to get answers to your questions and to protect your future.
JacksonWhite Mesa Office
Our Mesa office is on the northwest corner of W. Pepper and N. Center Street. You may park on Pepper or in the parking garage nearby.
The Mesa city court is located on the northwest corner of Pomeroy Street and 1st Avenue. You’ll find a public parking garage behind the building, which you can access from Pomeroy or Main Street.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.