Even if a crime does not result in significant jail time, even a misdemeanor level theft conviction can be problematic in completing background checks or obtaining professional licensing or security clearances. However, hope is not lost if you are facing theft charges in Gilbert, Phoenix, Mesa, or other cities in central Arizona. A theft defense attorney can help you comprehend your legal rights and options to deal with your charges, including negotiating with the assigned prosecutors in the case working hard to get your charges dismissed or reduced.
Arizona Theft Laws
Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1802, theft is the willing and knowing act of depriving someone of their property and controlling that property with the intent to deny the owner of it. Other examples of theft include:
- Wrongfully using, altering, or destroying the services or property of another entrusted to them
- Obtaining services or property of another by means of material misrepresentation
- Coming into control of lost, misplaced, or misdelivered property without attempts to notify the new owner
- Controlling the property of another knowing that it was stolen
- Obtaining services known to be available only for compensation (without paying).
- Knowingly taking control, title, use, or management of a vulnerable person’s property.
Theft can take many forms in Arizona, including:
- Armed robbery
- Credit card fraud
- Identity theft
- Petty theft with a prior conviction
- Shoplifting or petty theft
- Theft of means of transportation (i.e. grand theft auto)
- Vehicular theft
At the Law Offices of Brandon White, P.C, we understand theft laws and can help you fight whatever charges you are fighting.
Call a Phoenix Theft Crime Lawyer for a Consultation
Just because you are charged with a crime does not mean you will be convicted. An experienced theft lawyer in Phoenix can fight for you. You deserve to know all the options available to you, and your case deserves the best defense possible. If you’d like to speak with an experienced lawyer about your case, contact us today.
Possible Theft Crime Penalties and Consequences in Gilbert, Arizona
Whether or not theft is a misdemeanor or a felony in Arizona is determined by the monetary value of the property stolen. Arizona Revised Statutes ARS § 13 – 1802 mandates that a theft shall be classified as a misdemeanor unless the dollar value of what was stolen exceeds $1000. Exceptions include instances where an animal or a firearm is stolen - these instances will be charged as a felony. Penalties can be elevated if an assault occurred during the theft crime.
Below are the different classes of theft in Arizona and the potential penalties:
Class 1 Misdemeanor Theft: Sometimes called petty theft, a class 1 misdemeanor theft is the lowest level crime of theft. Penalties for those convicted include up to six months in jail, fines up to $2,500, and restitution. It is common for a plea agreement for a first offense misdemeanor to include minimal jail time, a fine, probation, and repayment for/of the item that was stolen.
Class 6 Felony Theft: Theft of property or services with a value of $1,000 to $2,000. Penalties for those convicted include 4 months to 2 years of incarceration and fines up to up to $150,000.
Class 5 Felony Theft: Theft of property or services with a value of $2,000 to $3,000. Penalties for those convicted include 6 months to 2.5 years in prison and fines up to up to $150,000.
Class 4 Felony Theft: Theft of property or services with a value of $3,000 to $4,000. Penalties for those convicted include 2 to 3.75 years of incarceration and fines up to up to $150,000.
Class 3 Felony Theft: Theft of property or services with a value of $4,000 to $25,000. Penalties for those convicted include two to 8.5 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.
Class 2 Felony Theft: Theft of property or services with a value of $25,000 or more. Penalties for those convicted include three to 12.5 years of incarceration and fines up to $150,000.
Defenses to Theft Charges in Phoenix, AZ
Prosecutors in theft cases bear the burden of proving that the theft occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant possessed the items and that they did not have permission to do so.
There are numerous ways to contest theft charges. The simplest way is to show that you never possessed the items in question. Another defense is possible if the defendant claims to have possession of the property by legal means. For example if there is evidence that you have a bill or sale or a receipt, showing ownership, etc. Some additional defenses are available to theft charges in Arizona:
- Mistaken Identity
- Insufficient Evidence
- Violations of Constitutional Rights
- Presence Defense (at the scene but did not participate)
- Mental State (you had no knowledge or desire to commit a crime)
With the proper preparation, It may also be possible to contest the charges before the case goes to trial, meaning during the pre-trial negotiation stage of the case. An experienced Gilbert larceny attorney could aim to exclude evidence by arguing that the police work that led to its discovery was illegal. If granted by the Court, the Judge can actually preclude the evidence from coming in at trial, thereby negatively affecting the prosecutor’s case against you.
How Gilbert Defense Attorneys Can Assist with Theft Charges?
We believe all of our clients, as well as potential clients, should be informed. You should understand the scope of your charges. Before we can evaluate the case, we will discuss not only the “Cliff’s Notes” of your case but the relevant specific details including:
- The events leading up to your arrest
- The arrest itself and the officer’s conduct and actions on-scene
- Your criminal history
- Your educational, employment, and life history
- Immigration issues
We have handled many theft cases in Arizona and know what to do, what to ask, and how to position yourself for the best outcome. We understand how stressful facing these serious charges can be, but we stand by our clients every step of the way.