Have You been Charged with Shoplifting? Here’s What You Need to Know about Arizona Laws and Regulations
Facing shoplifting charges isn’t a lot of fun, especially if you haven’t done anything wrong. Honest mistakes can sometimes occur or you may have had a lapse of judgment. Some knowledge of Arizona laws and your rights, however, will enable you to maintain composure under the circumstance of being charged with shoplifting.
Arizona Shoplifting Laws and Regulations
Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1805 is a document that provides a detailed explanation of what classifies as shoplifting and what the penalties for such an offense are.
According to the section, shoplifting is defined as knowingly obtaining goods by:
- Removing them from a commercial establishment like a shop without paying
- Charging the price of the goods to a fictitious person
- Paying less than what an item is actually worth
- Concealing the goods
- Transferring goods in one container to another
Whenever a merchant has reasonable cause, a detention may occur. The person that is suspected of shoplifting could be questioned and authorities may also be summoned for the purpose of carrying out an investigation.
If a minor is involved in a shoplifting accident, civil action may be brought against the parents whenever a worker at the store is injured in the event.
The punishment for shoplifting will depend on the severity of the situation and the intent behind the crime. In some instances, shoplifting could contribute to a Class 5 felony charge. If this isn’t the situation, shoplifting will typically lead to a misdemeanor charge.
Penalties for Shoplifting
Several conditions have to be met for shoplifting to classify as a Class 5 felony. A few of the most common include the following:
- Taking items worth 2,000 dollars or more
- Shoplifting that is done to promote the activities of a criminal group or a gang
- Shoplifting that occurs as a part of a continual criminal episode – the commission of two or more offenses
In some instances, taking goods worth between 1,000 and 2,000 dollars may be classified as a Class 6 felony. People who have at least two similar shoplifting convictions may be facing a Class 4 felony charge.
The potential sentence for a Class 5 felony is 18 months in prison. For a Class 6 felony, an individual may get a sentence of up to one year in prison.
Whenever shoplifting leads to a misdemeanor charge, there will be at least a conviction on your record. For a Class 1 misdemeanor, there will be a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a fine of 2,500 dollars.
First-time offenders will rarely receive such a serious penalty. Usually, they will get off with a fine and a few counseling sessions. Repeat offenses, however, may contribute to much more serious penalties.
A Few Other Important Facts to Keep in Mind
First-time offenders may have another opportunity at their disposal, especially if they’re being represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you’ve been charged with shoplifting, you may be eligible for a diversion. Diversion allows for the dismissal of charges, once counseling is completed successfully and a fine is paid. The prosecutor will determine whether the individual is eligible for a diversion and what the conditions are going to be.
A person that’s convicted of a felony may be sentenced to probation in the case of a first time offense. Individuals who have a prior felony conviction will not be eligible for probation.
Finally, remember that a conviction, when charged with shoplifting, can have a much more long-term effect on your life than the legal consequences. You may suffer employment consequences and the same applies to your immigration status. A store may also decide to sue for civil damages on top of the eventual criminal charges.
Having a good defense will be of paramount importance in such situations. Usually, attorneys will adopt one of several popular approaches. A few of those involve proving that the client didn’t have intent to shoplift, that a constitutional violation has occurred after the conviction and that the value of the shoplifted goods was lower than what’s being estimated.