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Criminal Defense

Shoplifting

SHOPLIFTING ATTORNEYS IN AZ

We handle all types of shoplifting charges in Arizona. Even though many people treat shoplifting as a petty offense, shoplifting can be quite serious in certain cases. The important variables are these.

  • 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, you may be facing a felony charge and you should contact an attorney immediately. If this is your first offense and you do not fall into any of the categories above, you may be able to be admitted to a diversion type of program. Shoplifting is the type of offense in Arizona–along with a number of other non-violent misdemeanors–that usually can be resolved with a diversion program. However as stated above–people charged with shoplifting who have multiple prior offenses on their record can face felony charges and prison time.

We can provide more information with a free consult or click on the video above to learn about shoplifting in Arizona.

How Misdemeanor Court Works

Shoplifting:

If you have been charged with shoplifting, you should contact an attorney immediately.

Shoplifting is a type of theft that involves taking merchandise from a retail store. It is one of the most commonly charged offenses in Arizona. Shoplifting can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how the theft was committed and the value of the items taken.

Shoplifting is defined by A.R.S. § 13-1805:

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 incidences 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.

What the State must prove:

The State 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.

What does that mean?

It means that if someone goes into a store, and while they are there that person takes something without intending to pay for it, they have committed shoplifting. Someone could also commit shoplifting by tricking a cashier into letting them pay less than the listed price for an item, or by switching the contents of a container.

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 can also be charged as a felony is 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 an otherwise minor shoplifting offense into a serious felony requiring prison time.

Penalties:

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

While a long prison term 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

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Alcock & Associates P.C.
2 North Central Avenue, 26th Floor
Phoenix AZ 85004