Criminal Defense

Shoplifting Lawyer in Phoenix


Shoplifting, which involves taking merchandise from a store without paying for it, might seem like a minor offense, but in reality, it can lead to significant legal issues. In the state of Arizona, shoplifting is treated as a serious offense — and the penalties can be quite severe, depending on factors such as the value of the stolen items and the specific circumstances surrounding the theft.

If you’re currently navigating a shoplifting charge, it’s vital to seek legal advice and understand your rights and options. Your future may be affected by the outcome of your case, so taking the situation seriously and being informed about the legal process is crucial.


Alcock & Associates is a renowned Phoenix law firm that specializes in handling all types of shoplifting charges in the state of Arizona. Our skilled and experienced attorneys explore all possible options to achieve the best possible outcome for each case, whether it involves negotiating reduced charges, securing alternative sentencing options, or representing clients in court.

Our track record of successfully defending clients against shoplifting charges speaks for itself, proving time and again why we are the go-to experts when it comes to shoplifting defense in Arizona.


Shoplifting is known to be one of the most common charged offenses in the state of Arizona and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, which depends on how the theft was committed and the value of the items taken.

The severity of the charges and penalties for shoplifting primarily depends on the value of the items stolen. But keep in mind that when assessing a shoplifting case, several other factors come into play, such as:

  • Do you have prior shoplifting convictions?
  • Was the value of the goods taken greater than $1000?
  • Is the government claiming that you were part of a group or gang?
  • Did you have any type of device that conceals items or suppresses anti-theft measures?
  • Do you have any immigration concerns?
  • Did you admit to the police to committing multiple shoplifting offenses?

If you answered yes to any of these questions above, there is a chance that you may be facing a felony charge and we recommend that you get into contact with a defense attorney. On the other hand, if this is your first offense and you do not fall into any of the categories or questions which were stated above, you may be eligible to be admitted into a diversion type of program.

Shoplifting is the type of offense in Arizona–along with a various amount of non-violent misdemeanors–that can frequently be resolved with a diversion program. However, as previously stated, individuals who are charged with shoplifting who also have multiple prior offenses on their record can face felony charges and prison time. Felony convictions can lead to more significant fines, longer jail or prison sentences, and a permanent criminal record, which can have a lasting impact on one’s life and future opportunities.

For more information feel free to click on the video above to learn about shoplifting in Arizona.


Below we have provided the Arizona Statute for shoplifting:

A. 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 by:

  1. Removing any of the goods from the immediate display or from any other place within the establishment without paying the purchase price; or
  2. Charging the purchase price of the goods to a fictitious person or any person without that person’s authority; or
  3. Paying less than the purchase price of the goods by some trick or artifice such as altering, removing, substituting or otherwise disfiguring any label, price tag or marking; or
  4. Transferring the goods from one container to another; or
  5. Concealment.

B. A person is presumed to have the necessary culpable mental state pursuant to subsection A of this section if the person does either of the following:

  1. Knowingly conceals on himself or another person unpurchased merchandise of any mercantile establishment while within the mercantile establishment.
  2. Uses an artifice, instrument, container, device or other article to facilitate the shoplifting.

C. A merchant, or a merchant’s agent or employee, with reasonable cause, may detain on the premises in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable time any person who is suspected of shoplifting as prescribed in subsection A of this section for questioning or summoning a law enforcement officer.

D. Reasonable cause is a defense to a civil or criminal action against a peace officer, a merchant or an agent or employee of the merchant for false arrest, false or unlawful imprisonment or wrongful detention.

E. If a minor engages in conduct that violates subsection A of this section, notwithstanding the fact that the minor may not be held responsible because of the person’s minority, any merchant who is injured by the shoplifting of the minor may bring a civil action against the parent or legal guardian of the minor under either section 12-661 or 12-692.

F. Any merchant who is injured by the shoplifting of an adult or emancipated minor in violation of subsection A of this section may bring a civil action against the adult or emancipated minor pursuant to section 12-691.

G. In imposing sentence on a person who is convicted of violating this section, the court may require any person to perform public services designated by the court in addition to or in lieu of any fine that the court might impose.

H. Shoplifting property with a value of two thousand dollars or more, shoplifting property during any continuing criminal episode or shoplifting property if done to promote, further or assist any criminal street gang or criminal syndicate is a class 5 felony. Shoplifting property with a value of one thousand dollars or more but less than two thousand dollars is a class 6 felony. Shoplifting property valued at less than one thousand dollars is a class 1 misdemeanor, unless the property is a firearm in which case the shoplifting is a class 6 felony. For the purposes of this subsection, “continuing criminal episode” means theft of property with a value of one thousand five hundred dollars or more if committed during at least three separate incidents within a period of ninety consecutive days.

I. A person who in the course of shoplifting uses an artifice, instrument, container, device or other article with the intent to facilitate shoplifting or who commits shoplifting and who has previously committed or been convicted within the past five years of two or more offenses involving burglary, shoplifting, robbery, organized retail theft or theft is guilty of a class 4 felony.


In order for the State to be successful in their prosecution, they must prove five elements for most shoplifting cases:

1) That the person accused of shoplifting; 2) while in a retail store; 3) knowingly obtained goods; 4) with the intent to deprive the owner or proprietor of such goods; 5) concealed or removed goods from the retail store.


In practical terms, these elements outline what the prosecution must prove to establish that a shoplifting offense has occurred:

  • Identity: They need to identify the person accused of shoplifting; it must be the correct individual.
  • Retail Store Location: The alleged shoplifting incident should have taken place within a retail store, which is an essential context.
  • Knowledge and Acquisition: The accused must have knowingly obtained the goods, meaning they were aware of their actions.
  • Intent to Deprive: There should be evidence or indication that the accused intended to permanently deprive the owner or store of the goods, not just borrow or temporarily possess them.
  • Concealment or Removal: The accused should have either hidden or taken the goods out of the retail store. This demonstrates an active effort to unlawfully take possession of the items.

Whether shoplifting is charged as a misdemeanor or felony depends on the total value of the things taken from the merchant, whether the shoplifting was committed as a part of a “continuing criminal episode,” and whether the shoplifting is determined to be gang activity.

Shoplifting is a crime that can also be charged as a felony if a person has been convicted of two or more crimes involving burglary, shoplifting, robbery, or organized retail theft. The third in time rule in this statute can turn what would otherwise be a minor shoplifting offense into a more serious felony requiring prison time.


Shoplifting could turn into a very serious charge. If you or a loved one have been accused of shoplifting you should contact an attorney immediately.

While a lengthy prison term for shoplifting is unlikely, the State may require some prison time for felony shoplifting, especially if the offense is the third in time.

Offense Statute Felony

$2000 or more A.R.S. § 13-1805(H) Class 5 felony

Criminal episode A.R.S. § 13-1805(H) Class 5 felony

Street gang or syndicate A.R.S. § 13-1805(H) Class 5 felony

$1000 to $2000 A.R.S. § 13-1805(H) Class 6 felony

Less than $1000 A.R.S. § 13-1805(H) Class 1 misdemeanor

Firearm A.R.S. § 13-1805(H) Class 6 felony

Artifice or container A.R.S. § 13-1805(I) Class 4 felony

Third in time A.R.S. § 13-1805(I) Class 4 felony

How Alcock & Associates Can Help

At Alcock & Associates, our Phoenix shoplifting lawyers have a profound understanding of Arizona’s shoplifting laws and legal procedures. We use this expertise to build a strong defense tailored specifically to the unique circumstances of each client.

We employ a variety of defense strategies to achieve reduced charges or explore alternative sentencing options. With unwavering dedication, we provide assertive representation in court, ensuring that your rights remain safeguarded throughout the entire legal proceedings.

In the event of a conviction, our firm is fully equipped to handle the appeals process, tirelessly working to overturn the conviction or secure a more favorable outcome.

Don’t let a shoplifting accusation cast a shadow over your future. Reach out to Alcock & Associates today to initiate a discussion about your case. Your future deserves experienced and dedicated legal support.

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Here at Alcock and Associates our team and staff are dedicated to helping and representing YOU. The first step is to understand your case. We will take the time to get to know you and your legal situation so that we are best able to answer all of your questions. After your initial consultation with our attorneys, you will know what you are facing and what can happen to your case.


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Alcock & Associates P.C.
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