Arizona Theft Attorney

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Arja Shah is a top criminal defense attorney in Arizona. Over the years, she has represented hundreds of clients whose lives could have taken a turn for the worse had she not successfully defended them in court. Knowing what is at stake for her clients motivates Arja to do everything in her power—including offering very personalized service to her clients, not found anywhere else. For her, working as an effective criminal defense lawyer is as much about knowing how to comfort and guide clients through tough times as it is about knowing the law.

Arja also believes that everyone deserves the best defense she can possibly offer. Past clients and fellow attorneys can attest to the intensity and aggressiveness with which she protects the constitutional rights of those who put her trust in her.

Arja was selected as one of The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers and made it to the list of Top 100 Attorneys by Phoenix Magazine in 2015 and 2016.


What is Theft?

The definition of theft is relatively simple; it refers to the act of taking another person’s property without their permission. Theft is often used as an umbrella term to describe similar crimes, such as burglary, larceny, and even robbery. However, these other crimes have their own distinct differences as well. For example, burglary differs from theft in the sense that it requires a person to take another person’s belongings using force. Still, it is a type of theft—and many would argue that it’s the most severe form of theft due to the fact that it involves threatening or even hurting the victim in order to illegally obtain the property.

Differences between theft and larceny

It is important to understand the differences between the crimes of larceny and theft, which are often used interchangeably but are different in a lot of ways. For starters, it is worth noting that theft is the broader of the two terms, and larceny can be considered a form of theft (as described above).

When a person commits theft, it is understood that they stole another person’s belongings with the intent to use or resell those belongings to make money. Another important distinction to keep in mind is that theft can apply to non-tangible objects just as much as it can apply to physical objects. For instance, a criminal could steal and use another person’s personal information (such as credit card numbers or social security numbers) without their permission. This would be referred to as identity theft.

Larceny, on the other hand, refers to a situation where a person steals something from another person with the sole purpose of using it for themselves (as opposed to selling it). For example, a person might steal a gaming console from another person with the intent to use it for themselves.

No matter what the situation, an action is considered theft if a person steals something that’s not theirs. However, the severity of the charge can vary based on the total value of the item(s) stolen.

For example, many courts recognize theft of anything less than $500 in value as petty theft or petty larceny.

Possible legal penalties and consequences

In Arizona, theft of anything worth less than $1,000 in total is categorized as a misdemeanor, which carries up to six months in jail. Theft of anything between $1,000 and $2,000 in value is a class 6 felony and could result in up to two years of prison time. This can go all the way up to a class 2 felony with penalties being up to 12.5 years in prison.

A misdemeanor or felony theft charge will remain on a person’s criminal record for the rest of their lives, resulting in difficulties getting a job and even getting approved for loans. Therefore, if you or somebody you know has been charged with any form of theft, it’s in your best interest to speak as soon as possible with a highly-skilled and experienced attorney who can take on any charge of misdemeanor or felony theft Arizona prosecutors may throw at you.

Defenses your lawyer may use in your theft case

All criminal cases depend heavily on the facts. Now let’s assume that in your theft case, all the underlying facts point to you taking property from another party without their express permission. Those facts, however, can be refuted by a number of legal defenses a good Phoenix theft lawyer can employ in your case. Here are some of them.

You can claim the right to or ownership of the property

The most skillful and experienced theft lawyer Phoenix has to offer can defend you by establishing that you took the property in good faith because you honestly believe that you have a valid claim to it, or that you genuinely believe it was yours. However, for this defense to work, you and your attorney must be able to provide evidence that will support your claim. You cannot just say that you thought it was yours without presenting proof that the property, indeed, belongs to you.

You just borrowed the property

A skilled theft attorney Scottsdale residents accused of stealing can count on may use the defense that their client just “borrowed” the property and had every intention to return it. The defendant can even claim that he or she just “forgot” to return the property. As with anything presented to the court, the lawyer must present evidence to establish that this, indeed, is the case.

Return the stolen property

Strictly speaking, returning the property the defendant is accused of stealing is not a real defense to theft charges. However, the act of returning the property can make the defendant look somewhat sympathetic to a prosecutor, and that picture could come in handy should the defense attorney attempt to negotiate a possible plea deal. With a plea deal, the defendant could be facing reduced penalties instead of bearing the brunt of the full force of the law against theft in the event of a conviction.

Entrapment defense

If the defendant was arrested for theft because someone else lured them into committing the crime, then his or her lawyer can use entrapment as a defense. Such a defense could apply if the whole theft was thought up and executed by a person with the intent of arresting and prosecuting the targeted individual in a court of law. The entrapment defense specifically targets the person who orchestrated the entrapment or induced the defendant to commit the theft.

Claim intoxication

A defendant in a theft case can claim that he or she was intoxicated at the time the property was stolen. It doesn’t matter if the intoxication was alcoholic, chemical, or drug-related. As long as the defense lawyer can successfully establish with unassailable proof that the client was indeed under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the alleged theft took place and only took the property by mistake, there was no intent to steal.

These are just some of the possible defenses that Arja Shah, a most capable criminal defense lawyer, could apply should you secure her services as your defense attorney in your theft case.

Contact Arja Shah to schedule a consultation today by calling (602) 560-7408

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