The cost of living is on the rise, and so is shoplifting. Shoplifting seems to be an epidemic in this country at the moment, and that is the reason for this blog- not the author’s bleak and dwindling dating options. Many people don’t take shoplifting seriously, especially when the victim is a huge corporation like Target or Walmart that doesn’t struggle financially. However, a defendant convicted of shoplifting can face serious consequences- which can also result in getting unmatched on a dating app years later. Read on to learn more about the crime of shoplifting in Arizona and what to do if ever arrested for this offense. If you’re facing shoplifting charges in Maricopa, Pima, or Pinal County, contact our firm at 480-833-8000.
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1805
Arizona’s law regarding shoplifting is A.R.S. § 13-1805. It pertains specifically to the theft of merchandise for sale in an establishment. There are 5 definitions of shoplifting in Arizona:
Removing goods for sale from a display or any other place within the establishment without paying the purchase price;
Charging the purchase price under a fictitious name or someone else’s name without their permission;
Paying less than the purchase price for an item by switching or removing the price tag;
Transferring the goods from one container to another; and
Shoplifting can be carried out in numerous ways and doesn’t just have to be someone slipping an item into their bag or jacket without paying for it. Deceptive acts meant to reduce the purchase cost of an item, such as removing a clearance tag from one product and switching it with the item’s price tag, are also considered shoplifting. Additionally, the defendant has to have intent to commit shoplifting- criminal charges would be inappropriate if there were surveillance footage available of a child slipping the allegedly shoplifted item into the defendant’s bag as a prank. If a defendant is caught shoplifting by the establishment, the establishment can detain the defendant while waiting for the police to arrive. Reasonable cause to believe that the defendant committed shoplifting is a sufficient defense to unlawful imprisonment allegations.
The value of the goods stolen can affect how serious the charges against the defendant will be. The value can be calculated using a single occurrence or a “continuing criminal episode.” It will be considered a continuing criminal episode if the defendant steals $1,500 worth of goods or more in at least 3 occurrences over 90 days. For example, if a defendant steals $500 worth of goods from Target five times over a few weeks, this will be considered a continuing criminal episode worth $2,500. Some retailers will wait until a shoplifter has stolen enough to qualify for felony charges before calling the police. Here, it could be crucial for the defendant to pick apart each allegation of the continuing criminal episode to bring the case value back into misdemeanor thresholds.
Shoplifting an item worth less than $1,000 is a class 1 misdemeanor. However, shoplifting a firearm of any value is a class 6 felony. Shoplifting goods valued between $1,000 and $2,000 is also a class 6 felony. Shoplifting goods worth more than $2,000 is a class 5 felony. It is elevated to a class 4 felony if the defendant uses a container, artifice, or another device to commit the shoplifting or if the defendant has been convicted of 2 or more theft crimes in the past 5 years. For more information about shoplifting charges and penalties in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, call 480-833-8000.
Penalties for Shoplifting in Arizona
Shoplifting can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony in Arizona, depending on the value of the goods stolen and other factors relevant to the case at hand. Per A.R.S. § 13-707, a class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to 6 months in jail. Per A.R.S. § 13-702, the sentencing guidelines for a class 6 felony are between 6 and 18 months. For a class 5 felony, the recommended prison sentence is 9 months to 2 years. The recommended sentence for a class 4 felony is 1.5 years to 3 years. Felony sentencing can be reduced by mitigating factors and increased by aggravating factors.
A defendant convicted of shoplifting can be required to repay the value of any goods they stole as well as criminal fines. After completing jail time, the defendant may also need to complete probation. If the defendant is convicted of felony-level shoplifting, they will lose access to some civil rights such as voting and owning a firearm. Shoplifting is prosecuted as a serious offense in Arizona, not just a slap on the wrist as some might assume. If you are concerned about how a shoplifting charge in Arizona could affect your future, call 480-833-8000 to discuss your situation in detail with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.
Setting Aside or Sealing a Shoplifting Conviction
While determining if I could get past this conviction, one factor that I weighed was that it had not been set aside or sealed. Arizona doesn’t allow for the expungement, or complete erasure, of criminal convictions. That leaves the option of having a conviction set aside and/or the record sealed. A conviction that is set aside indicates that the defendant completed all of the requirements set forth by the judge during their sentencing. When a criminal record is sealed, it can’t easily be accessed in an internet search by the public, such as a match on a dating app.
Set-asides are governed in Arizona by A.R.S. § 13-905. A judge ruling on a motion to set aside should consider factors like the nature and circumstances of the offense, prior or subsequent convictions, the length of time since the defendant completed their sentencing requirements, the defendant’s age at the time of conviction, and the victim’s input, if applicable. A criminal defense attorney can help a defendant request a set-aside and/or a record seal, as well as restoration of civil rights, if applicable. If you’re seeking to address the negative repercussions of a prior shoplifting conviction in Arizona, call 480-833-8000 to schedule your free consultation with our firm.
Experienced Arizona Criminal Defense Representation for Shoplifting and Other Theft Offenses
As you can see, sometimes the five-finger discount can end up costing that person far more in the long run. Shoplifting carries serious penalties in Arizona, and some retailers will wait until a suspect has stolen enough goods to qualify for felony prosecution before pursuing charges. A criminal conviction as a misdemeanor or felony offense will have lasting consequences, but a felony conviction can be life-shattering. You might not feel confident in your court-appointed attorney’s ability to execute the best strategies for your case. If so, you have the right to consult with and retain your legal counsel. Our skilled team at My AZ Criminal Defense Lawyers will work persistently to help you find the ideal outcome for your case given your personal and unique circumstances. To see if we’re the right fit for your situation, contact us through our online form or call 480-833-8000 to schedule your free consultation.