In Arizona, the statutes regarding theft define the term broadly, with several types of behavior qualifying as theft. Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1802 provides that this crime of theft, also commonly referred to as stealing, occurs in the Phoenix Metro area, or anywhere in Arizona, when:
- A person obtains and appropriates for his own personal use the property of another that has been misdelivered, mislaid, or lost, where it is possible to discover the true owner and the person fails to make a reasonable effort to contact the true owner.
- A person takes control of property he knows or should know is stolen, or obtains services without paying or making an agreement to pay, where the person knows that service is only available for a fee.
- A person knowingly takes control, management, title, or use of the assets or property of a vulnerable or incapacitated adult through deception or intimidation. Evidence that control was taken with only inadequate compensation provided will give rise to an inference that deception was intended.
- A person converts property or services of another without authorization or by means of a fraudulent misrepresentation, such as stealing cable.
- A person lacking lawful authority deprives another of property, intending to deprive the victim of the property.
Being suspected of theft can be serious depending upon the circumstances, as charges range from simple misdemeanors up to class-two (2) felonies. As a result, the penalties may be harsh in some cases. If you have been accused of stealing, contact DM Cantor today for a Free Case Review with a lawyer, by using our secure online form or by calling 602-737-2812.
Possible Penalties for Theft Charges
Where the property allegedly stolen has a value of less than $1,000, you will be charged with a class-one misdemeanor. If the property taken is worth less than $1,000 and is a firearm or an animal taken with the intent to engage in animal fighting, the charge is elevated to a class-six felony. Class-one misdemeanors are punishable by probation along with the possibility of a jail term of up to six months. You will also be required to provide restitution to the property owner an will be liable for a fine of $2,500 plus a possible surcharge of 84 percent. Judges also have the option of suspending your sentence and ordering community service instead.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you are suspected of theft and are convicted where the property value exceeds $100,000, you will face a mandatory prison sentence of between three (3) and twelve and a half (12.5) years. For property stolen with a value of between $25,000 and $100,000, the charge will be a class-two felony resulting in either a prison term of between three (3) and twelve and a half (12.5) years in prison or probation with up to one year in jail, assuming it is your first conviction. If you have one prior allegeable conviction, the prison term range is between four and a half (4.5) years and twenty three years and three months (23.25 years). Two prior felonies increases the prison term range to ten and a half (10.5) to thirty-five (35) years in prison.
Where the value of the stolen property is between $4,000 and $25,000, you will be charged with a class-three felony, which is punishable by prison of and (2)two years to eight years, nine months (8.75) years, of probation and no jail or up to a year in jail; having prior convictions elevates these penalties.
If the stolen property value is between $3,000 and $4,000 or the property stolen is a vehicle engine or transmission of any value, class-four (4) felony charges result. The penalty for first-time offenders is a prison term of between one (1) year and three years, nine months (3.75 years), or probation with no jail, up to a year in jail. Prior convictions increase the penalties to the point where having two priors can result in a prison term of up to fifteen (15) years.
If you take property or services with a value of between $2,000 and $3,000, that is considered a class-five (5) felony, while taking property with a value of between $1,000 and $2,000 is considered a class-six (6) felony. All felonies carry the potential of over 1 year in prison.
Possible Defenses to Theft
Arizona provides several defenses for those accused of stealing, including “consent”, which typically arises in the context of close relationships — for example, where a brother, sister, roommate, employer, or fraternity brother gives permission for the defendant to use property or services, and controversy arises when the relationship sours. Additionally, the defense of “mistake of fact” occurs where a defendant thinks he has been given permission to use property by the rightful owner of the property, but the permission-giving individual does not actually own the property.
Where the charge involves an accusation that a vulnerable individual was taken advantage of, a common defense is that the property was intended as a gift.
In addition to theft-specific defenses, our firm can assert general defenses such as Miranda rights violations, denial of right to counsel, lack of a valid search warrant, errors in police reports, and forensic flaws.
Being accused of stealing is a serious matter, and you need the best representation to help you avoid long prison terms and maintain your reputation. DM Cantor has earned the elite AV® rating from Martindale Hubbell®, and with many former prosecutors on staff, the firm has unique insight into criminal defense strategy. To set-up a free case review with a lawyer, contact DM Cantor today by using our confidential online form or by calling 602-737-2812. Our office is available 24 hours a day.