Theft Crimes and Fraud Charges in Arizona
– FOR IMMEDIATE HELP CALL (602) 825-2500 –
Misdemeanor Theft and Felony Theft Charges in Arizona
If you are charged with a theft or fraud offense in Arizona, the potential penalties can be severe.
People convicted of theft or fraud charges may face thousands of dollars in fines, restitution, long jail or prison sentences, and civil penalties.
If you or a loved one is facing a fraud charge or theft charge, understanding the various classifications of these types of crimes can help you. At Colburn Hintze Maletta, our experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorneys can help you understand the charges you are facing, their potential penalties, and the defenses that might be available to you.
Levels of Theft Crimes in Arizona
Theft is not a single offense that covers all situations. Instead, theft crimes fall into different levels with different punishments, depending on the value of what was stolen, and the type of property involved.
If you have previous criminal convictions on your record, you could face even harsher penalties.
What is a Theft Crime?
Under ARS 13-1802, a theft occurs when someone takes, exercises control over, uses, converts, obtains, or keeps someone else’s property without the owner’s permission or authority. The penalties may be based on the total value of the assets that were stolen.
For example, if you take property with a value of $1,000 up to $2,000, you will be charged with a Class 6 felony carrying the potential sentence of up to two years in prison. If you steal something that is valued at less than $1,000, it is a misdemeanor.
The differences between a misdemeanor and felony theft offense are described below.
Misdemeanor Theft Charges in Arizona
If you are convicted of stealing property valued at less than $1,000, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if you steal property valued at less than $1,000 from someone else’s person or take a firearm valued at less than $1,000, it is a Class 6 felony.
Under ARS 13-707 and 13-802, a conviction for a first-degree misdemeanor theft can result in up to six months in jail and fines up to $2,500. You can also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim and serve a probationary sentence of up to three years.
In most situations, the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor theft offense is one year, meaning that you can be charged with this crime up to one year after the theft was committed.
Felony Theft Charges
Felony theft offenses can be charged as Class 6 to Class 2 felonies, with the lower numbers representing more severe felony offenses.
If the value of the property alledgedly stolen has a value of more than $1,000, you could face a felony charge.
The penalties and classifications of felony theft charges in Arizona differ based on the value of the property stolen as follows:
- $1,000 to $2,000 – Class 6 felony with up to two years in prison and possible probation
- $2,001 to $3,000 – Class 5 felony with up to 2.5 years in prison with possible probation
- $3,001 to $4,000 – Class 4 felony with up to 75 years in prison and possible probation
- $4,001 to $25,000 – Class 3 felony with up to 8.75 years in prison with possible probation
- $25,001 or higher – Class 2 felony with up to 12.5 years in prison with possible probation
If the value of the stolen property is worth more than $100,000, it will be a Class 2 felony.
However, you will not be eligible for probation and will serve a prison-only sentence of up to 12.5 years.
A theft conviction can cause other consequences in your life that can continue causing harm long after you have discharged your sentence.
People who have theft convictions may lose any professional licenses they might hold, have trouble securing employment, face difficulty securing loans and credit, have trouble being approved for housing, and endure a negative stigma in the community.
Categories of Different Theft Offenses
There are also different categories of theft offenses that determine the classification of an offense and the penalties. Some of these are listed below:
- Intellectual property thefts – Violating the intellectual property rights held by others
- Trafficking in stolen property – Accepting property you knew was stolen
- Larceny or embezzlement – Converting property you did not own for personal profit
- Grand theft – Taking any property valued at more than $1,000
- Petty theft – Taking property worth less than $1,000
- Burglary – Entering someone else’s property to commit a felony inside
- Identity theft – Taking someone else’s personally identifying information
- Motor vehicle theft – Taking a vehicle belonging to someone else without permission
- Shoplifting – Taking items from a store; can range from a civil fine or a crime from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony based on the property’s value and whether damages occurred while committing the offense
- Robbery – Committing a theft with the use of weapons or force
The criminal justice system in Arizona does not treat theft crimes lightly. Other types of theft offenses include misusing a power of attorney, diverting services, extortion, and failing to return leased property.
Any conviction for a theft offense can negatively impact your future no matter what the situation might have been.
If you are facing any type of theft charges in Arizona, you should contact an experienced theft attorney as soon as possible.
The attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta are well-versed in all types of theft offenses, laws, and regulations and know how to defend against these types of allegations.
What is a Fraud Crime?
Fraud offenses in Arizona occur when people falsify information to gain a benefit. You can be charged with a fraud offense if you intentionally deceive someone else for personal gain.
Fraud offenses can also be charged when you intend to cause damage to someone else. Like thefts, there are different categories of fraud offenses with different penalties.
Types of Fraud Crimes in Arizona
There are several categories of fraud offenses in Arizona, ranging from civil offenses to criminal offenses. Some of these fraud offense categories are described below:
- Bank fraud – Using deception to obtain property or money from a financial institution
- Embezzlement – Embezzling money or property through deceptive means from an employer, individual, or business
- Government fraud – Using deception to gain money from the government through scams involving taxes, fraudulent billing, or swindling
- Unemployment fraud – Falsely claiming unemployment to collect benefits
- Mortgage fraud – Making omissions, material misrepresentations, or misstatements on an application to obtain a mortgage loan
- Computer fraud or tampering – Accessing data or information from someone else’s computer through fraudulent means
- Counterfeiting – Possessing, distributing, or manufacturing things that are inauthentic, including illegal transactions or for purposes to deceive others
- Wire fraud – Using the internet, email, phone calls, or facsimiles to deceive others for personal gain
- Political corruption – Using official power for illegal personal gain and can involve extortion, graft, patronage, bribery, embezzlement, and more
- Pyramid scheme – Funneling earnings or income from a lower level to a higher tier within an organization through deception
Penalties for Fraud Offenses in Arizona
Fraud offenses carry different potential penalties that can range from the penalties for a Class 6 felony to a Class 2 felony. The particular types of fraud offenses can also impact the penalties you might face.
For a first-offense Class 2 felony fraud conviction, you can be sentenced to serve up to 12.5 years in prison, face a fine of up to $150,000, be ordered to pay restitution, and potentially be placed on probation. If you have a prior conviction, your prison range can be from 4.5 to 23 years in prison. You can face up to 35 years in prison if you have two prior convictions.
If you are convicted of a fraud offense involving more than $100,000, you will not be eligible for a suspended sentence. You can face serious fines and a lengthy prison sentence depending on the situation.
What Defenses are Available for Theft or Fraud Crimes?
Your attorney will carefully analyze the facts and situation to identify the best defenses to raise in your case.
Some potential defenses might include the following:
- Lack of intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property
- The property was a gift
- Your constitutional rights were violated
- Your statements were not fraudulent
- The value of the property is less than what the police charged.
The attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta have years of experience defending against theft and fraud crimes and might be able to secure a reduced sentence or a dismissal. We will look for the best strategy for clearing a fraud or theft offense from your criminal record and help you navigate the entire court process.
When you are facing theft or fraud charges, you need to talk to an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.
Get Help from an Experienced Theft and Fraud Crime Attorney
The criminal defense attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta are among the most knowledgeable theft and fraud lawyers in Arizona.
Contact us at (602) 825-2500 to learn how we can help you defend against your charges and obtain the best possible outcome under the circumstances.
Always Available 24/7 for Legal Help
Schedule an Appointment Today!
Call Us Now to Speak with an Attorney (602) 825-2500
What People Say
“Because of Darin I got my daughter back”
Before I hired Darin I went through a total of 3 different attorneys in two different states fighting a jurisdiction battle, when my daughter was taken to a different state. It was a very difficult decision to switch attorneys at one of the most difficult, time sensitive and important times in my case, but I’m very glad I did. Upon receiving my file from previous attorneys Darin came very familiar with my case quickly. Like other people have explained he took the time to lay everything out and explain how the process was going to proceed and what to expect and continued to do this as new issues arrived. He is also very quick at responding to emails and phone calls. My case was getting close to trial as told by my previous attorneys, I did not want to go to trial as I know this is very costly (most attorneys will convince you that you need to.) Darin knew my situation, fought for what was right and got the results I wanted while avoiding a costly trial. He is extremely knowledgeable in the Child Support Guidelines as well. Because of Darin I got my daughter back. I would highly recommend him and would hire again for any future issues. Thanks Darin!
Chris - AVVO Review
“I would give them more stars, but the option is not there”
Best divorce lawyers in Arizona, hands down. Timothy Hintz handled my divorce, and as a father, I have my son and our house. I would give them more stars, but the option is not there. His paralegal Jennifer Bone is extremely competent, and the whole team is very friendly. Took a big weight off, having them behind me.
Joseph A. - Google Review
“I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.”
Dave stayed with me while he pushed back and forth with Covid-19 and the delays with court. Once cited, the state basically decides that you’re guilty through the automatic suspension of your drivers license. Dave immediately took care of that problem and I never lost the privilege of driving. Dave took notes like crazy and was upfront about our uphill battle. I was also well aware that the plea deal that was given to us, was unacceptable and through Dave’s knowledge and experience I had put my trust in him to guide me to make the right decision on how to proceed. With Dave’s guidance I had decided that we needed to fight for something better than what the prosecutor was offering and Dave was 100 percent behind me on that decision. We knew the risks, be we also knew we had very little to lose based on the prosecutions stance. We decided to go to trial… Watching the prosecution and then watching Dave was night and day!! It was clear to the jury that the prosecution didn’t have their facts straight and were not addressing the facts that they could not address…There was a lot at stake for my personal life and my work life. I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.
Gregory - AVVO Review
“This was the best possible outcome, great price, and fast.”
Darin helped me with a complex family law issue involving ownership of multiple businesses and other assets. He was able to structure a win-win that wasn’t only better than I thought was possible but that protected the business I had built. Above and beyond that, he did it with great customer service and character – which really matters to me. This was the best possible outcome, great price, and fast.
David R. - Google Review
“I still have a clean record to this day.”
One piece of advice for people who are charged with anything in Arizona is to hire a great lawyer because the state does not care if you’re innocent or not. The Arizona legal system will try to ruin your life. A couple of years ago I was the victim of an antisemitic hate crime when a guy named Billy, who had a history of drug and alcohol issues and was thrown out of the Navy for being violent, decided to attack me after drinking all day in Old Town (Sunday funday) over a pointless argument over whether it’s better to buy homes immediately post-recession or during the 10th year of a bull market run which was his argument. The disagreement led to Billy making several anti-semitic comments and assaulting me, which led to me beating up billy. Billy and his friends then went to the police and lied to try to get me thrown in jail for months for assault while getting 10s of thousands of dollars in restitution in the process. I hired David Maletta. We went to court and destroyed Billy and his best friend/roommate Taylor who were trying to extort me and ruin my life. In Arizona there is a 3.5% chance you’ll get all charges dropped because of how hard the state is on crime but we pulled it off and I still have a clean record to this day.
MJ Walsh - Google Review
“Listens to every request that you make on a case”
I honestly just want to let it be known to any and everyone looking for an attorney on a case. Whether it be DUI, possession, or your every day to day traffic violations where you need representation attorney Tim Hintze is your man. You have to respect a man that listens to every request that you make on a case and he gets in there and gets it done. Tim has my respect as an attorney and being a well-rounded representer. From him being honest on the possibility and options for your case to him being easy to work and communicate with via over the phone or face to face Mr. Hintze is working it out.
Ben - AVVO Review
“Very professional, very empathetic, and very responsive to all the issues.”
I had the opportunity to work with Darin during a very troublesome time in my life. As a family attorney, I found him to be very professional, very empathetic, and very responsive to all the issues I faced. I would recommend him to anyone without a second thought. Thank you, Darin!
Gary C. - Google Review
“The calm in the middle of my storm…”
I recently consulted with Darin after my wife filed for divorce. He was referred to me by a friend whom I very much trust. Darin was the antithesis of the first two attorneys I consulted (who were matter-of-fact and had very little empathy about the fact that I was struggling emotionally with what was transpiring). From the first few minutes of speaking with Darin, it was obvious that he was very knowledgeable and skilled with divorce and family matters. While that was most important to me, the thing that made the difference was his calming, logical, and empathetic approach. He took the time to listen and empathize with me. He took the time to understand what I wanted to achieve through this process and laid out my options. After the consultation, I knew he would be my attorney if I had to pull the trigger. I, ultimately, didn’t have to engage Darin’s services due to a reconciliation with my wife. I hope I never have to go through that process again. However, if I do, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt who I will be hiring to represent me…Darin R. Colburn. Darin, thank you for caring and being more than an attorney.
Frank - AVVO Review
“There is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David”
I hired David Maletta and it was the best decision of my life. His knowledge, genuine interest, overall attitude, and ability to connect with people is incomparable. I could talk about all of this at length. I COULD do all of that, but that wouldn’t do David justice. He first and foremost demonstrates his interest and genuine care for his client. Being in uncharted territory with a criminal charge and nowhere to turn, David’s presence and personality put all nerves at ease. I went through a jury trial with David beside me. The trial ran for 3 days and I spent a significant amount of time with David one-on-one. During this stressful time, he wanted to hear my input and thoughts on everything. David was incredible from the first day I met him. Not only is he a great attorney, but he is also a great person who cares about people and finding justice for his clients. He connects to the human side of people. I can’t put into words how much David cares about the individual in a case. When it comes to the courtroom, there is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David.
Jacob - AVVO Review
“Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently”
I had an incident and was given the catch-all charge. There wasn’t really anything I could do by myself to get out of it. Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently to ensure that I would have the best possible outcome from my case. Which he successfully achieved! As of right now, I am on the path to having my case fully dismissed. A couple of things that really helped me through this process was that Tim did an amazing job at answering my questions. He was available almost anytime and would respond promptly when he got my emails. He was also very approachable and comforting to be around while we had in person meetings and especially when I was at the court house. I would trust him and the company he works for with any other cases in the future, and as of right now, they will be my first choice if I need a lawyer in the future.
Dylan - AVVO Review
“He fights for his clients like no one I have ever seen”
David Maletta is the absolute best trial attorney in the state of Arizona. He is a kind, emphatic, and extremely patient person. As an attorney, he is prepared, aggressive, and extremely skilled. He is not afraid to go to trial and fight for his clients, like other attorneys that just plead their clients to the original charges. When he is in trial, he flips a switch and goes from a nice guy to a killing machine. He fights for his clients like no one I have ever seen. Watching him do a cross-examination is exhilarating because he is so good it’s scary.
Patricia Bevins - Google Review
“Nothing but good things to say about my experience.”
I have nothing but good things to say about my experience working with David Maletta. I was in a very high-stress situation facing a pending DUI charge. He doesn’t know this, but I actually interviewed 5 potential lawyers, and he was the most optimistic of all of them. He took over and handled everything, and now I don’t have to live with a DUI. Thank you so much for everything! Highly recommend them to anyone looking for legal help.