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Shoplifting may seem like a minor crime. If you, your child or another loved one face accusations of shoplifting, it seem like “no big deal.” However, a theft conviction, including shoplifting, will remain on your criminal record and could keep you or your child from jobs that require the employee to be trusted with anything of value. In some circumstances, shoplifting can even be a felony charge.

Tempe Shoplifting Lawyer

If you or a loved one faces shoplifting charges in the Tempe area, contact the Law Office of James E. Novak. James Novak is a skilled attorney who fights for the rights of people charged with theft, whether misdemeanor or felony. He will work for the accused to keep a record clear of conviction and avoid the serious penalties that can occur if found guilty. Call today at (480) 413-1499 to schedule a free consultation.

James Novak represents clients throughout Maricopa County, including Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale and Phoenix.

Information on Shoplifting Charges

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How Shoplifting is Prosecuted under Arizona Law

“Shoplifting” is defined in Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1805 as, when in an establishment where goods are displayed for sale, like a retail store, the accused obtains the goods of another with the intent to deprive that person of those goods, and does so by:

  • Removing them from the display or another place without paying their purchase price;
  • Charging the purchase price to a person who has not given permission or a person who does not exist;
  • Paying less than the purchase price by altering, removing, switching or disfiguring the price tag;
  • Placing the goods in another container, box or package to avoid paying the purchase price; or
  • Concealing the good.

The accused is presumed to have the culpable mental state, meaning he or she is presumed to have had the intent necessary to convict, if prosecutors can prove he or she:

  • Knowingly conceals, on himself or herself or on another person, unpurchased merchandise while within the establishment; or
  • He or she uses a shoplifting device, such as one that disables the anti-shoplifting safeguards stores use.

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Penalties for Shoplifting

If you are charged with a shoplifting offense in Maricopa County, the extent of the penalty will depend largely on the value of the property in question. Property worth less than $1,000 is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine up to $2,500, unless the property was a firearm. In that case it becomes a class 6 felony, punishable by a presumptive sentence of a year in prison for a first offender.

If the value of the property was worth more than $1,000 but less than $2,000, then it is also a class 6 felony. If property is worth more than $2,000, the offense becomes a class 5 felony, punishable by a presumptive penalty of 1.5 years in prison if it is a first offense.

The value of the property is determined cumulatively. If a person is accused of stealing five objects worth $250 each, for example, then the cumulative total will be $1,250 and the person will be charged with a class 6 felony.

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Other Aggravating Factors in Shoplifting Cases

Regardless of the value of the property, some factors may make shoplifting a greater offense. Some factors that will make an offense a class 5 felony, regardless of value, are:

  • If the alleged shoplifting is done to further or assist a criminal gang or any other “criminal syndicate,” or
  • If the alleged shoplifting is part of a “continuing criminal episode,” in which the accused is alleged to have stolen property worth $1,500 or more during three or more different incidents in a period of 90 days.

Using a shoplifting device, as described above, will elevate any charge to a class 4 felony, punishable by a presumptive sentence of 3.5 years for a first offender. If the accused has been convicted of two or more offenses in the past five years involving theft, burglary, robbery, shoplifting or organized retail theft, then he or she will be charged with a class 4 felony.

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Finding the Best Maricopa County Attorney for Fight Shoplifting Charges

If you face shoplifting charges, call a skilled lawyer who can help you fight the charges. James Novak will seek out all available defenses and will seek for your charges to be reduced or dismissed. Contact the Law Office of James E. Novak today at (480) 413-1499 to schedule a free consultation.

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