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.