How to Fight a Theft Charge in Arizona?
According to Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1802, theft has a large range of meanings. Thus, you may be charged with theft in various circumstances, such as:
- Controlling lost property (theft by finding)
- Obtaining services that you know are available only for compensation without paying
- Taking control of a vulnerable adult’s property while acting in a position of trust and confidence.
An experienced criminal defense Arizona law attorney can have these charges dismissed or reduced, after examining the evidence and the way police conducted the investigation.
Types of Theft Charges under Criminal Defense Arizona Law
Depending on the value of the theft and the circumstances of the action, you can be charged with misdemeanor or felony under criminal defense Arizona law. The difference between the charges and the resulting sentence is made by the value of the property involved in the theft case:
- Under $1,000 (petty theft) – misdemeanor
- Between $1,000 and $2,000 – class 6 felony
- Between $2,000 and $3,000 – class 5 felony
- Between $3,000 and $4,000 – class 4 felony
- Between $4,000 and $24,999 – class 3 felony
- Over $25,000 – class 2 felony.
Misdemeanor charges result in a sentence of maximum $2,500 fine, restitution of stolen property or repayment of its value, maximum 6 months in jail and up to 3 years of probation. The felony charges carry severe penalties, ranging from 2 years in jail for class 6 felony and up to 12.5 years in jail for class 2 felony.
Ways in which a Criminal Defense Arizona Law Attorney Can Fight the Charges
An experienced criminal defense attorney can identify several potential defenses to the charge brought against you. In many cases, the lawyer may argue that the statute of limitations has expired.
According to Arizona Revised Statutes 13-107, the time limitations for commencing the prosecution are:
- 6 months for a petty offense
- 1 year for a misdemeanor
- 7 years for class 2-6 felonies.
Other potential defenses can be:
- Unreliable investigation – the criminal defense Arizona law attorney can question the investigation of the police and the way they collected and preserved evidence
- Mistaken identity – witnesses and blurry surveillance camera footage can lead to a mistaken identification of the perpetrator. Any experienced lawyer can tell you that eyewitness testimony is one of the most unreliable pieces of evidence
- Mere presence – in case of shoplifting charges, you can invoke the fact that you were merely present at the scene of crime, but were not involved in it. In the confusion of the moment (especially during the busy sale season) many people are erroneously accused of shoplifting with little to no evidence.
Diversion Agreement Can Get Your Case Dismissed
Even if there is some evidence against you, your criminal defense Arizona law attorney can help avoid a trial and sentencing. If the value of the stolen property is not high, you may enter into a plea agreement called the diversion agreement. In this case, the case will be dismissed after you complete the requirements of the agreement, such as:
- Repayment of the value of the stolen item
- Performing community service
- Attending special classes.
This means that you will not have a criminal record and you may continue your life without this stain on your reputation.
Hire a Skilled Attorney to Represent You!
A theft charge is serious, because you may end up in prison for many years. Also, you will face challenges when you are trying to find employment once you have served your sentence.
An experienced criminal defense Arizona law attorney can get your case dismissed or your charges reduced by investigating the evidence and the way the police conducted the investigation, so call us now!