Criminal Defense

Phoenix Theft Crime Lawyer

What is Theft?

While the crime of unlawfully taking someone’s property may be referred to as “Larceny” or “Embezzlement” in many jurisdictions, Arizona calls it “Theft” and codifies it under Arizona Revised Statute §§13-1802, et. seq.

Theft can be committed a number of different ways, including the following:

  • Controlling someone’s property with the intent to deprive them of the property;
  • Converting someone’s property for an unauthorized use or term while the owner of the property gave the property only for a limited or authorized use;
  • Obtaining services or someone’s property as a result of any material misrepresentation with the intent to deprive the other of those services or property;
  • Controlling someone’s lost, mislaid, or mis-delivered property under circumstances in which the identity of the property owner could be inquired into but instead using the property for one’s own or another person’s benefit;
  • Controlling someone’s property while knowing or having reason to know that it was stolen;
  • Obtaining services without paying while knowing that the services were only available after payment or diverting services for one’s own or another’s use without having the authority to divert the services;
  • Controlling the ferrous or nonferrous metal of another with the intent to deprive them of it;
  • Controlling the ferrous or nonferrous metal of another knowing the metal was stolen;
  • Buying the ferrous or nonferrous metal of another knowing that the metal was stolen;
  • While in a position of trust, taking control, use, title, or management of property of a “Vulnerable Adult” with the intent to deprive the owner of the property.

How is Theft classified in Arizona?

Theft charges vary in their classification depending upon applicable circumstances. For instance, depending upon the dollar value of the loss involved, Theft can be classified anywhere from a Class 2 Felony to a Class 1 Misdemeanor. However, the dollar value of the loss does not matter, if the stolen property is either taken directly from the person of another; is a firearm; or is an animal taken for the purposes of animal fighting—in these circumstances, Theft will be classified as a Class 6 Felony.

How is Theft punished?

Different offense classifications, whether felony Theft or misdemeanor Theft, have their own sentencing schemes and probation may be available based on whether a person has prior felony convictions; is charged with more than one case; or is facing more than one charge with the alleged crimes having occurred on different dates. A major exception, however, is that a person always has to be sentenced to prison, irrespective of their clean record, if the dollar amount of the loss is $100,000 or more.

What are the defenses to a Theft charge?

Each Theft case will be different and will require a thorough review of its circumstances and the prosecution’s theory before presenting a defense. Depending upon the situation, a successful strategy might involve various Constitutional and factual defenses such as, actual innocence; actual ownership; gift of a property; lack of the necessary intent; mistake of fact; refuting the prosecution’s calculations regarding the dollar amount of the loss or the fair market value of a property; and challenging a person’s status as a “Vulnerable Adult.”

Why hire Alcock & Associates?

When Theft can be committed in so many different ways, it is important to take Theft charges very seriously. In fact, depending upon applicable circumstances, a person may also face related charges, such as Shoplifting; Organized Retail Theft; Burglary; Robbery; Vehicular Theft; Trafficking in Stolen Property; and even Theft by Extortion. Therefore, it is exceedingly important to fully understand the government’s theory as to how a person broke the law and to identify what the potential defenses might be in every case. Lawyers at Alcock & Associates have vast experience in handling Theft cases with success and avoiding the most serious outcomes on their clients’ behalf in all courts across the state of Arizona.


Throughout the years our dedicated and experienced team of attorneys have successfully handled hundreds of theft charges across the state of Arizona. Our team is comprised of former prosecutors and we know exactly how to win in the courtroom. If you or a loved one have been charged with theft, we strongly encourage you to contact our attorneys today so we can discuss your legal options and to find ways to win your case.

Theft is crime that is broadly-defined and can also be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. How the theft is charged depends on the value of the item/s that were taken. The threshold for felony prosecution is if the value of the object taken is greater than $1000. As the amounts increase, so does the level of felony. The statute reads as follows.

ARS 13-1802: Theft of property or services with a value of twenty-five thousand dollars or more is a class 2 felony. Theft of property or services with a value of four thousand dollars or more but less than twenty-five thousand dollars is a class 3 felony. Theft of property or services with a value of three thousand dollars or more but less than four thousand dollars is a class 4 felony, except that theft of any vehicle engine or transmission is a class 4 felony regardless of value. Theft of property or services with a value of two thousand dollars or more but less than three thousand dollars is a class 5 felony. Theft of property or services with a value of one thousand dollars or more but less than two thousand dollars is a class 6 felony. Theft of any property or services valued at less than one thousand dollars is a class 1 misdemeanor, unless the property is taken from the person of another, is a firearm or is an animal taken for the purpose of animal fighting in violation of section 13-2910.01, in which case the theft is a class 6 felony.

If force is used, then theft charge converts to a robbery, which generally speaking is a far more serious crime. Another complicating factor that is attributed to situations like this is that criminal defendants are also responsible for the value of items taken by accomplices. As a result, a person caught up in a broad conspiracy may be charged with a very serious felony even if their own actions were minor.

If you have any questions or if you would like more information about the consequences of the charges you might be facing please do not hesitate to contact us to learn more.

Here at Alcock & Associates, we have a strong track record of winning cases and have the experience to handle any type of theft cases. If you would like to learn more about theft cases, please click on the video below.

We serve all cities in Maricopa County and handle matters in city court, Superior Court and Federal Court.

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