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Shoplifting Archives - Arja Shah Law
Arizona Police use dog to search vehicle

Do Police Need a Search Warrant to Search a Car in AZ?

In Arizona, people are protected against an unlawful vehicle search or seizure by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While the Fourth Amendment requires officers to get search warrants before they search your property, there are several exceptions to the warrant requirement that allow them to search without a search warrant.

Vehicle searches are treated differently than searches of your home,and police are generally allowed to conduct warrantless searches of vehicles as long as they have probable cause.

Several other exceptions also allow police to search vehicles without warrants, including consent, searches incident to an arrest, inventory searches, plain view searches,and searches based on reasonable suspicion. We’ll take a brief look at each of these exceptions below.

Warrantless Searches Based on Probable Cause

In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court established the mobile conveyance exception to the search warrant requirement in Carroll v. United States. In their decision, Supreme Court distinguished vehicles from homes, noting that vehicles can easily be moved away from a traffic stop, and evidence could be destroyed.

As long as police have probable cause, they can search your car without a warrant under the mobile conveyance exception without it being considered an unlawful search.

An officer has probable cause when a reasonably prudent person in the same situation would believe that evidence of a crime is likely located inside of a vehicle. However, only the areas in which the suspected evidence would likely be located can be searched.

For example, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that you stole your neighbor’s 60-inch television and that it is likely hidden in your car, he or she can search your vehicle’s trunk. However, the officer would not have probable cause to search your glove box since a television would not fit inside.

If a police officer pulled you over for a minor traffic violation, he or she will generally not have probable cause to support a warrantless search of your vehicle. However, if your conduct following the stop allows the officer to develop probable cause that evidence might be located in your vehicle, he or she can search without a warrant.

Consider this, if you are stopped for speeding, the officer will not be able to search your car based only on that. However, if he or she smells alcohol on your breath, he or she can search your car for open containers of alcohol.

Click to Learn More About Search Warrant to Search Your Car…

Theft Crimes in Arizona

Arizona’s definition of theft is to intentionally take someone’s personal property without a legal right to the property, or consent to take the property by the owner. If you have been arrested or charged with theft in Arizona, this is a serious charge and can range from a misdemeanor to felony theft. Understanding the different types of theft crimes in Arizona and what the penalties are can help you build a strong case for your defense.

Definition of Theft in Arizona

If a person has knowingly and with intention taken someone else’s property without the legal right to do so, it is considered theft under Arizona state law. Some examples of theft include:

  • Taking someone’s property for an unauthorized period of time
  • Committing fraud to take another’s property
  • Taking lost property without making a reasonable effort to locate the original and proper owner
  • Controlling someone’s property without the intention of returning it
  • Taking goods or services with no intent to pay

The landscape of criminal law regarding theft crimes is complex and challenging, and ever-changing. Contacting an experienced defense attorney if you have been charged with any theft crime, even a minor one, can help you understand your rights, and provide you the legal representation that can help your case.

Misdemeanor Theft vs. Felony Theft in Arizona

The dollar amount and value of the item stolen will determine whether the case is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony in the state of Arizona. Typically, the higher the dollar amount, the higher the penalties. If any item stolen exceeds $1000 it will likely be classified as a felony. Exceptions to this law exist for stealing a firearm or animal. Additionally, if there are violent circumstances surrounding the theft, harsher penalties are typically requested.

Unique Types of Theft

While most people consider theft to include shoplifting, burglary, or embezzlement, there are other types of theft that are common and can deprive owners of substantial sums of money.

  • Trade Secret Theft. Arizona businesses work hard to create unique services or products. Under Arizona Criminal Code Section 13-1820 if any person steals a trade secret and then attempts to sell that trade secret for profit, it is considered a class 5 felony.
  • Identity Theft Identity theft continues to grow as a criminal offense throughout the United States, and also in Arizona. If someone uses a person’s personal information without consent, permission or approval, it is considered identity theft. The Federal Identity Theft Law can be found at 18 U.S.C. § 1028 and is considered a class 4 felony in Arizona.

Contact an Experienced Theft Lawyer

Being charged or arrested for a theft crime is a serious matter, and Arizona has harsh and strict penalties for any crime involving theft. While this may be a frightening and overwhelming time, your first step should be to seek legal representation. Criminal law involving theft is complex, and theft crimes can range from misdemeanors to third-degree felonies. You need a theft lawyer that not only understands the law but will be dedicated to defending you and helping you either negotiate, settle, or defend your case.
Our firm’s founder, Arja Shah, will aggressively advocate for your rights. If you have been arrested or charged with a theft crime, contact Ms. Shah at (602) 888-0369 or by filling out the law firm’s online form.

How Shoplifting Charges Defense Can Help Your Case in Goodyear

Facing shoplifting charges can be stressful. In Goodyear, Arizona, a misdemeanor conviction can lead to probation, jail time, hefty fines, and a permanent mark on your record. Shah Law Firm PLLC is committed to protecting the rights of those facing crimes in and around Goodyear. We focus on criminal defense and have earned a positive reputation for helping clients get the outcomes they’re looking for.

Understanding Shoplifting Charges in Arizona

Shoplifting is generally defined as removing or substituting price tags to pay less, removing products without paying, or concealing goods to another container. Shoplifting charges vary in severity. A first-time misdemeanor offense can include no jail time, while a Class 1 misdemeanor may result in six months of jail time and $2,000 in fines. For repeat offenders, the stakes are much higher.

There are some instances where you may face a felony conviction for shoplifting in Arizona, such as if you’ve had a prior shoplifting or theft conviction in the last five years, shoplifted more than 3 times in 90 days, or if the goods valued over $2,000.

What to Do When You’re Facing Shoplifting Charges

If you are arrested and charged with shoplifting in Goodyear, it’s important to hire an experienced shoplifting charges defense attorney to represent you. At the Shah Law Firm PLLC, we understand all shoplifting laws in Arizona and can represent individuals like you. We also offer no-cost legal consultations to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have about the upcoming legal process.

To schedule this important conversation in Goodyear, call our Arizona law firm at (602) 888-0369 today. We serve individuals in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Goodyear and Apache Junction, AZ.

Contact Arja Today to Learn How She Can Help You!

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