While shoplifting may seem like a minor offense, the legal consequences can be quite serious. If convicted, the offense will remain on your record for the rest of your life. In Arizona, shoplifting occurs when a person steals from a store, retail business, or another establishment in which merchandise is sold.
Penalties for shoplifting depend on the value of the item or items taken, whether or not it was a first offense, and the type of item that was stolen. A shoplifting conviction can go from a misdemeanor to a felony if the merchandise was removed with the intent to trade or sell which constitutes as organized retail theft.
If you have been arrested for shoplifting in Arizona, acquire legal assistance immediately. The Peoria Shoplifting Lawyers at JacksonWhite Law are available to discuss your case and recommend a strong defense designed to minimize or possibly eliminate any and all penalties.
Shoplifting Laws in Peoria
Shoplifting in Arizona is described by A.R.S. § 25-1805 as the act of entering a retail store during business hours and knowingly obtaining an item without paying for it. This can include any type of retail establishment, such as a convenience store, big-box store, clothing boutique, resale shop, or any other store that sells goods.
There are many situations that could result in a shoplifting conviction. For example, if displayed goods are taken without paying for them, or if items are removed from an area of the store, such as a storeroom, without paying. If goods are charged using a fake account or with an existing account that belongs to someone else and used without their permission, it may be considered shoplifting.
Shoplifting may also include the act of tricking someone to obtain goods for less than the actual price, putting an item into a different container to get it at a cheaper price, or altering price tags to obtain the item at a cheaper cost.
Shoplifting Penalties in Peoria
As shoplifting is a type of theft, the penalties involved can be severe. Shoplifting carries various punishments to fit the crime, whether you’re stealing a $2 chocolate bar or a firearm. Penalties for shoplifting range from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony.
Class 1 Misdemeanor
If you have been charged with shoplifting property that is valued at less than $1,000 (excluding firearms), the penalty is up to six months in jail, up to three years of probation, and a maximum fine of $2,500.
Class 6 Felony
If you have been charged with shoplifting property with a value of between $1,000 and $2,000, the penalty is between six months and one-and-a-half years in jail, up to three years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000.
Class 5 Felony
If you have been charged with shoplifting property that is valued at $2,000 or more, shoplifting to assist a criminal gang, or during any continuing criminal episode, the penalty is between nine months and two years in jail, up to three years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000.
Class 4 Felony
If you have been charged with intent of using a container or device to facilitate shoplifting, the penalty is one-and-a-half to three years of jail time, up to three years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000. You may also face a Class 4 felony if you have been committed or convicted of shoplifting in the past five years or have two or more offenses involving robbery, burglary, shoplifting, organized retail theft, or any type of theft.
Minors may also commit shoplifting in Arizona. When this happens, the parents or legal guardians may be held legally responsible and be forced to pay damages in court. A merchant has the right to file a lawsuit for up to $10,000 in damages or for an amount equal to the retail value of the goods.
Defenses for Shoplifting in Peoria
If you are ever detained for shoplifting, it is important to take advantage of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Do not admit to the crime as this information could be used as evidence by the state. Under Arizona vs. Miranda, you have the right to have an attorney present when being questioned about a crime.
When determining the best defense for your unique case, we will take a number of factors into consideration. Common defenses for shoplifting offenses include showing that the shoplifting incident was not intentional or was a misunderstanding, such as putting an item in your bag and forgetting it was there as you continued shopping.
You may also have a case if authorities failed to recite your Miranda rights or if the merchant wrongfully detains you. In some instances, a reasonable cause of defense can occur if a police officer falsely arrests you for reasons such as profiling.
Call the Peoria JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.