Theft Crimes Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ
In Arizona, a person can be charged with theft in a variety of ways, and depending on the circumstances, the prosecuting agency can increase your criminal exposure by adding enhancers to the charge. Arizona law defines “Theft” A.R.S. §13-1802 as follows:
A person commits theft if, without lawful authority, the person knowingly:
- Controls property of another with the intent to deprive the other person of such property; or
- Converts services or property of another entrusted to the defendant or placed in the defendant’s possession for a limited, authorized term or use; or
- Obtains services or property of another by means of any material misrepresentation with intent to deprive the other person of such property or services; or
- Comes into control of lost, mislaid or mis-delivered property of another under circumstances providing means of inquiry as to the true owner and appropriates such property to the person’s own or another’s use without reasonable efforts to notify the true owner; or
- Controls property of another knowing or having reason to know that the property was stolen; or
- Obtains services known to the defendant to be available only for compensation without paying or an agreement to pay the compensation or diverts another’s services to the person’s own or another’s benefit without authority to do so.
- A person commits theft if the person knowingly takes control, title, use or management of an incapacitated or vulnerable adult’s assets or property through intimidation or deception, as defined in section §46-456, while acting in a position of trust and confidence and with the intent to deprive the incapacitated or vulnerable adult of the asset or property.
Depending on the value of the property and/or the method of how the property was obtained, theft can be charged as a misdemeanor up to a class two felony, and the severity of the punishment varies drastically because of the prosecuting agency’s ability to add enhancers to the charge.
RANGE OF POSSIBLE PUNISHMENT FOR THEFT CRIMES
A person may be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor if the value of the property or services is less than $1,000.00 (unless the property that is taken is a firearm, or is an animal taken for the purpose of animal fighting in which case the theft is a class 6 felony). A class one (1) misdemeanor carries a possible range of punishment of probation with zero (0) days to six (6) months in jail. In addition, a fine of $2,500.00 plus 84% surcharge is usually added, along with restitution. Any fine imposed as punishment by the judge may be suspended and the defendant may be required to perform community service instead. Shoplifting offenses generally fall in this category, learn more by clicking here.
A person may be charged with a class 6 felony if the value of the property or service taken is one-thousand dollars or more, but less than two-thousand dollars. For a first offense a class six (6) felony, punishment can be probation with zero (0) days up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of four (4) months to two (2) years of incarceration.
A person may be charged with a class 5 felony if the value of the property or service taken is two-thousand dollars or more, but less than three-thousand dollars. A first offense punishment range for a class five (5) felony can be probation with zero (0) days up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of six (6) months to two and one half (2.5) years in custody.
A person may be charged with a class 4 felony if the value of the property or service taken is three-thousand dollars or more but less than four-thousand dollars. Note: Theft of any vehicle engine or transmission is a class 4 felony regardless of value. 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.
A person may be charged with a class 3 felony if the value of the property or service taken is four-thousand dollars or more but less than twenty-five thousand dollars. For a first offense class three (3) felony, punishment can be probation with zero (0) days to one (1) year in jail, or prison range of two (2) to eight and three quarters (8.75) years in prison.
A person may be charged with a class 2 felony if the value of the property or service taken has a value of twenty-five thousand dollars or more. For a first offense class two (2) felony, punishment can be probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of three (3) years to twelve and one half (12.5) years of incarceration.
NOTE: If the value of the property or services exceeds $100,000.00, probation is not available. This means a person must serve prison time.
If you have one or more historical allegeable prior felony convictions, your punishments are increased proportionately by the sentencing guidelines. It is important if you are in this situation that your attorney reviews the prior felony conviction, as not all prior felony convictions are allegeable. A prior felony conviction means you have a prior felony no matter how old it is. An historical allegeable felony is a prior felony that can significantly increase your prison exposure. Some felonies are always allegeable like Murder and Aggravated DUI. Class 2 and class 3 felonies are allegeable for 10 years from the date of commission of the offense. While a class 4, 5, and 6 felony is allegeable for 5 years. There are many other factors that go into the time computation.
POSSIBLE DEFENSES FOR THEFT CRIMES
Depending on what section of the statute you are charged with, there are a number of possible defenses an experienced and aggressive attorney can raise for you. If you are charged with depriving the owner of his property, an attorney might raise a consent defense. In other words, you had consent to possess the property. Your attorney might also argue that while you possessed the property, you were mistaken as to its true owner. For example, you may have picked up another person’s jacket that looked just like yours. Your attorney may also argue that you did not have reason to know the item was stolen that you possessed.
If you are charged with theft by taking control of a vulnerable person’s property, your attorney might argue that the property was given as a gift to the defendant, which was consistent by the “victim” before the victim became vulnerable.
Like other criminal acts, there are also a number of constitutional challenges that your attorney may argue which include an unlawful search and seizure; a violation of your right to counsel or your Miranda Rights. Your attorney may also raise the issue that when the officer was questioning you about the theft, he coerced you or made offers of leniency to get you to admit the act.
If you are being investigated or charged with a Theft Crime ask to speak with an attorney immediately and before you give any statement. Any statement you make will be used against you.
As with any crime, it is important to hire an experienced and aggressive lawyer to defend you who has knowledge and experience with Theft Crimes and all of the possible defenses to Theft Crimes. You can rely on Castillo Law to help you.