What are the Different Types of Theft in Arizona?
Theft – also known as larceny – can be categorized in many different ways. The simple definition of theft is taking away property that belongs to someone else without their permission. For it to be theft, you must have the intention to deprive the person of that property.
One way that Arizona law differentiates theft is in the value of the goods the perpetrator steals. Another way is in the use of a deadly weapon or excessive force. We’ll analyze these different scenarios and ways in which understanding the type of theft you’re being charged with could impact your criminal case.
Petty theft and grand theft explained
Petty theft is a less serious offense than grand theft. In Arizona, petty theft takes place when someone steals property or services that are worth less than $1,000. This is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor.
You’ll face up to six months in jail and a fine of $2,500 for your first conviction. If you commit the crime again within two years, you could face a class 6 felony. This then carries a sentence of one to five years in prison.
To be considered petty theft, the thief must not use excessive force or fear of excessive force. Once force is involved, the case elevates from theft to robbery. An example of this is the difference between pickpocketing an unsuspecting individual and threatening to harm someone if they don’t give you their wallet. See the distinct difference in the use of force between these examples?
Grand theft on the other hand involves goods of $1,000 or more. The larger the value of the property or services you steal, the more serious the penalties you’ll face. Here’s a breakdown of the felony classifications for theft.
- Class 6: Stealing goods worth $1,000 to $2,000
- Class 5: Stealing goods worth $2,000 to $3,000
- Class 4: Stealing goods worth $3,000 to $4,000
- Class 3: Stealing goods worth $4,000 to $25,000
- Class 2: Stealing goods worth $25,000 or more
Additionally, some categories of goods stolen will fall under a felony class regardless of the value of the good. For example, stealing a vehicle’s engine or transmission is automatically a class 4 felony regardless of the value of that engine or transmission. Likewise, stealing a firearm or animal to use for the purpose of fighting the animal is automatically a class 6 felony.
Shoplifting (merchandise theft)
Another category of theft in Arizona is shoplifting. Arizona law §§ 13-1805 defines shoplifting as the following.
“A person commits shoplifting if, while in an establishment in which merchandise is displayed for sale, the person knowingly obtains such goods of another with the intent to deprive that person of such goods.”
There are a variety of ways a person can commit the crime of shoplifting, including the following.
- Removing the goods from the store without paying
- Paying less than the purchase price for the goods by tampering with the price tag, label or other means
- Transferring goods from their original container to another
- Concealing the goods
To be guilty of shoplifting, you must knowingly remove the item from the store without paying its set price. Much like petty theft and grand theft, the classification of shoplifting and the penalties the crime carries vary based on the value of goods you steal. Here’s are the penalties for shoplifting in Arizona.
- Class 1 misdemeanor: Stealing goods worth less than $1,000
- Class 6 felony: Stealing goods worth $1,000 to $2,000
- Class 5 felony: Stealing goods worth $2,000 or more
- Class 4 felony: Using any device to defeat theft prevention measures regardless of the value of the goods you steal
Theft criminal defense in Arizona
Criminal convictions for theft or shoplifting can have a serious effect on your future, especially if you’re found to be a repeat offender. Avoiding a conviction can be the difference between a normal life and struggles to find employment, housing and more.
If you’re charged with theft, shoplifting or any other type of crime in Arizona, contact us. We’ll provide an expert criminal defense to protect your good name and way of life.