If you’re facing a theft charge in Arizona, it’s essential to know the difference between theft, burglary, and shoplifting.
Arizona has specific laws governing these crimes, and understanding them can help you build a strong defense.
In this post, we will outline these charges and the penalties associated with them. Understanding the different types of laws can answer some questions about what a person may face.
CHM Law can help build you a strong defense if you are facing a theft, burglary, or shoplifting charge.
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The Differences Between Theft, Burglary, and Shoplifting
The first charge, and the most common in Arizona, is theft.
Many times, there may be confusion about theft vs. larceny.
The difference between the two is that larceny is the physical taking of property, while theft involves the general act of the crime.
Often, a court may use theft and larceny interchangeably depending on the circumstances and if it can be proven. When the distinction between theft and larceny is challenging to pinpoint, the general term theft will typically be used.
By committing theft, a person is engaging in an act that involves taking possession of someone else’s property without permission.
The Arizona law governing theft is ARS 13-1802, which states that there must be proof of a person conducting unlawful seizure of property belonging to others.
In addition, it may involve using property beyond the authorized short-term period and keeping it for an extended duration, which is considered unauthorized conversion and a form of theft.
If someone knowingly engages in any of the following actions, it can also be considered as substantiating theft:
- Intentionally control someone else’s property with the aim of depriving them of ownership.
- Convert or use someone else’s property or services beyond the agreed-upon limited period without permission.
- Obtain property or services from someone through fraudulent misrepresentation.
- Come into possession of lost property that could be returned to its rightful owner but make no reasonable attempt to do so.
- Knowingly control property that was stolen from someone else.
- Obtain services that require payment without making the necessary payment.
Theft Charge Classification
The penalty for a theft charge varies depending on the property’s value.
The classifications are as follows:
- Class 1 Misdemeanor: For property valued at less than $1,000
- Class 6 Felony: For property valued at over $1,000 but less than $2,000
- Class 5 Felony: For property valued at over $2,000 but less than $3,000
- Class 4 Felony: For property valued at over $3,000 but less than $4,000
- Class 3 Felony: For property valued at over $4,000 but less than $25,000
- Class 2 Felony: For property valued at over $25,000
Although the ARS 13-1802 law can seem confusing during the sentencing phase, first-time offenders may receive a similar punishment as outlined below:
- Class 1 Misdemeanor: Up to 6 months in jail or at least 3 years probation.
- Class 6 Felony: Up to 2 years in prison or at least 3 years probation.
- Class 5 Felony: Up to 2 ½ years in prison or at least 3 years probation.
- Class 4 Felony: Up to 4 years in prison or at least 4 years probation.
- Class 3 Felony: Up to 8 ½ years in prison or at least 5 years probation.
- Class 2 Felony: Up to 12 years in prison or at least 7 years probation.
Understanding that the presence of criminal history may result in an increase in the penalty ranges is crucial.
When the value is at least $100,000, and it is determined that a person was in control of the property and planned to deprive another, there will be no possibility of parole. The person will go directly to prison for a determined amount of time.
Having any of the above felony theft charges will never go away and becomes a permanent record.
This will make your ability to enjoy certain freedoms much more complex, such as obtaining loans, a job, or even a license.
You may also experience a financial setback in fines. Also, you may need to provide restitution if convicted.
Under ARS 13-1805, shoplifting charges can be proven if the alleged person physically takes merchandise with the intent to deprive the business of its value.
Shoplifting is a type of theft that occurs when someone takes merchandise from a store without paying for it.
Shoplifting charges are also classified based on the value of the stolen merchandise, the method used, and what the stolen item is.
The shoplifter must be seen:
- Having physical possession of items and exiting the business, and not paying
- Being unauthorized to make a purchase and keeping the items for themselves
- Manipulating the price of an item to pay a lower amount
- Concealing items within other items
- Class 1 Misdemeanor: For property valued at less than $1,000
- Class 6 Felony: For property valued at over $1,000 but less than $1,999.99
- Class 6 Felony while armed: The property value must be less than $1,000
- Class 5 Felony: For property valued at over $2,000 or an episode that occurs over three months
- Class 4 Felony: A person who uses a tool or any other object to facilitate shoplifting or has previously committed two or more offenses within the past five years involving shoplifting, theft, burglary, robbery, or organized retail theft, while committing shoplifting.
If the offender has no prior offenses, they may face any of the following penalties:
- Class 1 Misdemeanor: Up to 6 months in jail, probation for 3 years, and a $2,500 fine
- Class 6 Felony: Up to 2 years in prison, probation for 3 years, and a $150,000 fine
- Class 5 Felony: Up to 2.5 years in prison, probation lasting 3 years, and a fine of $150,000
- Class 4 Felony: Up to 3.75 years in prison, probation for 3.75 years, and a fine of $150,000
The penalties may be more severe for offenders with a criminal history.
Burglary involves illegal entry into a building or structure with the intent to commit a theft or felony. It’s important to understand the distinction between theft and burglary.
Theft involves taking someone’s property without using force, whereas burglary involves illegally entering a location to commit theft.
Below are overviews of the differences between the types of burglary charges.
Third-Degree Burglary – ARS 13-1506
Third-degree burglary is governed by ARS 13-1506.
In order to be charged with third-degree burglary, it must be proven that unlawful entry was made into a building or location and that there was intent to conduct theft.
Burglary in the third degree involves two scenarios:
- Intentionally breaking into a non-residential building or a fenced commercial or residential yard with the intent to steal or do anything else that is considered a felony.
- Using a manipulation key or master key to get into any part of a car with the intent to steal or commit any other type of felony in the car.
Third-degree burglary is classified as a Class 4 Felony.
It carries a possible prison sentence of between 1 and 3.75 years, with probation lasting 4 years and a $150,000 fine.
When there is a history of felony charges, the sentencing may become even harsher.
Second-Degree Burglary – ARS 13-1507
Second-degree burglary is governed by ARS 13-1507.
Second-degree burglary occurs when the offender has entered unlawfully into a residence and remains for a period of time to commit a felony or theft of property.
A second-degree burglary charge is classified as a Class 3 Felony, with a prison term of 2-8.75 years, probation lasting 5 years, and a possible $150,000 fine.
First-Degree Burglary – ARS 13-1508
First-degree burglary is governed by ARS 13-1508.
First-degree burglary involves elements of both second and third-degree burglary and includes possessing a weapon or explosives while the crime is being committed.
Since a weapon is involved during the crime, it can be proven that it is a crime that is considered dangerous in nature. If the felony is considered dangerous in nature, then probation will not be a possible outcome.
Instead, burglary with a weapon is charged as a Class 2 Felony, and there is a prison sentence of between 7 and 21 years.
If the crime is not considered a dangerous felony, then first-degree burglary is classified as a Class 3 Felony.
The prison sentence is between 2 and 7 years, and probation lasts 5 years. There may be a fine of $150,000 for any of these felony charges.
Finding The Best Defense For Shoplifting Charges, Theft Charges, and Burglary Charges
If you are facing shoplifting, theft, or burglary charges, it is essential to have the best defense possible to protect your rights and defend your case.
Every case is unique, so it is important to have a skilled defense attorney who can carefully evaluate the circumstances of your case to determine the best course of action.
With their expertise and experience in the legal system, a skilled defense team can help you navigate the complex legal process, minimize potential penalties, and protect future opportunities.
CHM Law Can Build a Defense Suited For You
When searching for a criminal defense lawyer, finding an attorney with experience handling burglary, theft, and shoplifting charges is important. This knowledge will allow a defense attorney to build a personalized defense based on your unique circumstance.
Thankfully, the attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta have decades of real experience in handling such matters and a proven track record of success in all types of theft, burglary, and shoplifting cases.
Give the legal team at CHM Law a call now at (602) 825-2500, so they can immediately get started on helping you build your defense.
David Maletta is a widely respected criminal defense attorney with over 23 years of experience and has worked on over 1,000 cases and has successfully won over 100 jury trials. David graduated from Northern Arizona University, Magna Cum Laude in 1993 with a degree in Psychology. Shortly thereafter, he earned his Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1998. He has extensive experience in criminal and DUI matters, homicide, sexually-based offenses, domestic violence, white-collar crimes, and various misdemeanor crimes.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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On one of the worst and most surreal nights of my life (do not EVER get a DUI people!) I was lucky enough to find my way to Tim Hintze. Being in Phoenix for the Thanksgiving holiday from out of town, and after spending the evening with family, I ended up spending the night in jail.
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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.
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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
“David was relentless in his pursuit of my son’s innocence”
We retained David Maletta to represent our son after being cited for what can only be described as a momentary lapse of reason. David was extremely knowledgeable, was able to clearly communicate very complicated concepts, and was relentless in his pursuit of my son’s innocence. He had strong relationships with the prosecuting attorney and respect of the judge, which ultimately resulted in my son learning a really hard lesson with limited consequences (traffic school and writing an essay to the judge on the physics of driving 130MPH and what happens if that goes badly). I have already sent all of my friends with teenage and 20 year old kids his contact information for when they inevitably get that call. David completely exceeded all of our expectations and we could not recommend him any stronger. Thank you for everything.