If you’ve been charged with an Arizona theft crime, unfortunately you’re not looking at just a simple slap on the wrist if convicted. Whether the theft is a misdemeanor or a felony, the crime may not necessarily expose you to substantial jail or prison time, but the havoc an Arizona theft conviction reaps regarding professional licensing, background checks, job opportunities and security clearance can be devastating. Having the facts of your case evaluated by a trained criminal defense attorney will provide you the best opportunity to avoid a conviction and the future collateral consequences.
Arizona theft cases are defined in A.R.S. § 13-1802. Pursuant to the statute, you are guilty of theft if you knowingly:
SIDE NOTE: Convert under Arizona theft law means to wrongfully use, alter or destroy property of another.
Each of the examples above provides the basis for an Arizona theft prosecution. Whether the theft will be classified as a misdemeanor or felony depends entirely on the value of the item or services controlled or converted.
Misdemeanor theft, often referred to as “petty theft,” applies to cases where an individual has stolen property or services valued under $1,000. Misdemeanor theft is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
For a first-time offender in the state of Arizona, you may be sentenced to:
The statute of limitations for a misdemeanor theft charge is one year. This means that a person can be charged for up to one year after the crime was committed. If the Arizona theft charges constitutes a felony, then the felony theft statute of limitations would apply and allow charges to be brought up to seven years after the crime was committed.
Felony theft occurs when you commit a theft pursuant and A.R.S. § 13-1802 and the value of the goods of services stolen exceeds $1,000.00. In essence, there are different felony classifications depending on the value of the property or services. They are as follows:
The felony theft statute of limitations in Arizona is seven years. This means that an individual can be charged for theft up to seven years after the crime was committed.
The penalties for theft in Arizona are serious. Just how serious the penalty for theft is, is determined by the level of the felony theft. They are as follows:
IMPORTANT: If a person is convicted of a class 2 felony theft pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1802(1)-(3) and the dollar amount alleged exceeds $100,000.00. the person is not eligible for probation and must serve a prison sentence of between 3 and 12.5 years.
In addition to any penalties for theft may face from the courts after an Arizona theft charge, there are other penalties that many people face. Arizona theft charges have substantial collateral consequences because they are known as a “crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT).” This legal categorization means that the crime is generally considered depraved or immoral. A conviction for a CIMT offense can have consequences even greater than those some suffer through the criminal court system. Other penalties for theft pursuant to a collateral theory include:
The defenses of defense that you may want to raise will depend on the specific facts of your case. However, some of the more common defenses to theft include:
There are several other ways under law to have your Arizona theft case dismissed that don’t involve winning a legal challenge, a victory at trial or having the prosecution dismiss your case. The most common avenues of dismissal through negotiation by an experienced theft lawyer are as follows:
Example. You are accused of stealing your neighbor’s lawn mower. If the neighbor agrees, you can simply pay money for the stolen lawn mower in exchange for the criminal case being dismissed. It is important to note, however, when you have been accused of a crime, you are generally forbidden from making contact with the victim. As such, misdemeanor compromises must be handled by an experienced theft lawyer, a prosecutor, a judges or the victim advocate. Simply contacting the victim and asking to buy your way out of a crime may constitute witness tampering.
Both diversion and a misdemeanor compromise are plea offers to dismissal which should be handled an experienced theft lawyer in conjunction with the prosecutor, victim and sometimes the judge. Be sure to discuss these dismissal avenues with the facts of your case when having your charges evaluated by an attorney.
Arizona theft cases can take many different forms and can be charged under several different legal theories. However, the most common forms of theft in Arizona include:
A theft charge is not an all-encompassing offense. There are a variety of Arizona theft related offenses that come with different penalties altogether. Please visit the linked pages below or check out a brief description of each of these offenses.
If you have been charged with an Arizona theft offense you will be facing challenges both in court and in your personal life. With jail time, fines, probation and other collateral consequences as likely penalties for theft, an experienced Arizona theft lawyer can mean the difference between a conviction and a not guilty finding. At Feldman & Royle, we have successfully defended those charged with both misdemeanor theft and felony theft in plea negotiations and at trial. We offer a free consultation to answer question and help clients to learn more about their charges, penalties and possible defenses.
The felony theft statute of limitations is 7 years in Arizona.
The misdemeanor theft statute of limitations is 1 year in Arizona.
In Arizona, you may be eligible to have your case dismissed pursuant to a misdemeanor compromise. To qualify, the victim and defendant agree to a civil payment in exchange for the charges being dismissed.
For a first offense misdemeanor theft charge in Arizona, the penalty in anywhere from 6 months in jail to probation and no jail. Common plea agreements call for a minimal jail time, a fine, probation and repayment of the stolen item. Felony theft often has much harsher consequences.
The penalties for felony theft in Arizona range from probation and no jail to 12.5 years in prison depending on the value of the item or services stolen.