Shoplifting Laws Defense Attorney in Phoenix, AZ
Shoplifting Laws in Arizona vary from a misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony depending on the value of the stolen goods and any prior offenses. If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with shoplifting in Phoenix Arizona, it is important to have a qualified and experienced shoplifting defense attorney. At Castillo Law, Cindy Castillo is highly trained, experienced, and has successfully defended a number of clients in shoplifting cases. In Phoenix Arizona there are a number of laws that affect people charged with shoplifting.
Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1805 provides that a person is guilty of Shoplifting if:
A. While in a shopping establishment a person knowingly obtains merchandise from that shopping establishment with an intent to deprive the establishment of merchandise by:
1. Removing the merchandise from the establishment without paying the purchase price; or
2. Charging the purchase price of the merchandise to a fictitious person or any person without that person’s authority; or
3. Paying less than the purchase price of the merchandise by some trick or artifice such as altering, removing, substituting or otherwise disfiguring any label, price tag or marking; or
4. Transferring the merchandise from one container to another; or
B. A person is presumed to have the necessary culpable mental state pursuant to subsection A of this section if the person does either of the following:
1. Knowingly conceals on himself or another person unpurchased merchandise of any establishment while within the establishment.
2. Uses an artifice, instrument, container, device or other article to facilitate the shoplifting.
SEVERE PENALTIES FOR SHOPLIFTING
Shoplifting merchandise with a value of less than $1,000.00 is a class one (1) misdemeanor, unless the merchandise is a firearm in which case the shoplifting charge is a class six (6) felony. The range of punishment for a class one (1) misdemeanor is anywhere from zero (0) days in jail up to six (6) months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500.00 plus an 84% surcharge; and probation up to three (3) years.
Shoplifting merchandise with a value of $1,000.00 or more, but less than $2,000.00 is a class six (6) felony. If this is a first offense class six (6) felony, a person can receive probation with no jail time up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of four (4) months to two (2) years.
NOTE: If this is a first offense and you are in certain jurisdictions, you may be eligible for a diversion program. A diversion program will allow you to go to a class and if successful, have the charges dismissed. If you are in this circumstance, it still may be important for you to consult with an attorney. Shoplifting is considered a crime of moral turpitude. Hence, for some agencies even a diversion program may cause problems with changes in immigration status and professional licenses.
Shoplifting merchandise with a value of more than $2,000.00 is a class five (5) felony. If this is a first offense class five (5) felony, a person can receive probation with no jail time up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of six (6) months to two and one half (2.5) years.
Shoplifting merchandise during any continuing criminal episode, or shoplifting merchandise to promote, further, or assist a criminal street gang, is also charged as a class five (5) felony. A “continuing criminal episode” means theft of property with a value of $1,500.00 or more if committed during three separate incidences within a period of ninety (90) consecutive days.
A person who in the course of shoplifting uses an artifice, instrument, container, device or other article with the intent to facilitate shoplifting, or who has in the past five (5) years committed or been convicted of two or more offenses involving burglary, shoplifting, robbery, organized retail theft or theft is guilty of a class four (4) felony. For a first offense class four (4) felony, punishment can be probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of one (1) year to three and three quarters (3.75) years of incarceration.
NOTE: Maricopa County has charged individuals with “organized retail theft” in situations where it is alleged that shoplifting occurred on more than one occasion when certain elements are met.
DEFENSES FOR SHOPLIFTING
There are a number of defenses that an experienced and knowledgeable defense attorney can raise on your behalf if you have been charged with shoplifting. For example, there are many innocent circumstances where an individual leaves a shopping establishment without the intent of shoplifting but simply forgot to pay for an item or was careless in where he/she placed the item while he/she was shopping. In these instances, a defense attorney is able to show that the person did not have the mental state for purposes of depriving the shopping establishment of its merchandise. There are other circumstances where a person simply does not have the intent to leave the shopping establishment, but rather the person passes the point of purchase for an innocent reason without knowing he/she has passed the point of purchase in the establishment.
Shoplifting cases normally involve loss prevention officers, who are not law enforcement officers, and video evidence. Thus, an attorney may also be able to discredit the loss prevention officer and/or what is shown in the video. In some circumstances, attorneys are able to show that the loss prevention officer and/or law enforcement officer coerced the suspect or used illegal means in which to gain a confession from the suspect. In this circumstance, statements can be suppressed on voluntariness grounds. Additionally, a shoplifting suspect has all of the constitutional rights (i.e., Miranda and Right to Counsel) afforded to other defendants charged with crimes and violations of those rights can also lead to better outcomes, dismissals and even acquittals.
If you have been charged with Shoplifting, it is important for you to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable shoplifting attorney. I offer free consultations. Please feel free to contact me at 480-206-5204 or fill out the form on this page.