Theft Charges in the State of Arizona


If you or a loved one is arrested for theft in or around Phoenix or other areas of Arizona, it can be a confusing and frightening time while you wait to see what happens and what are ultimate charges are. Will it be a misdemeanor? A felony? Will you be facing jail time or just fines and probation? How will this affect employment? How will it affect your family?

There are many factors that play a role in theft charges, which is why you want an experienced Phoenix theft attorney on your side as soon as possible in the process. A legal expert who has dealt with cases like yours before can let you know what to expect and tell you the best way to fight the charges and make sure you receive the best possible outcome.

What Constitutes Theft in Arizona

The Arizona law defining theft is a complicated piece of legislation with numerous parts, but ultimately it breaks down like this: theft involves someone taking or using the property of someone else in a manner for which they did not have permission or by misrepresenting themselves. Let’s use a car as an example. You can technically be guilty of car theft if:

  • You take a car from a dealership or person selling it without paying for it and don’t return it.
  • You steal the car of a random person.
  • You borrow a car from a friend or family member without telling them.
  • You obtain permission from a friend or family member to use their car in a certain way or for a certain amount of time, but don’t follow the terms of the written or verbal agreement that you have set up.
  • You find a seemingly abandoned car and take it without reasonably attempting to discover if someone owns it.
  • You pretend that you are a licensed official of some sort in order to obtain another person’s vehicle.

Different Theft Charges Someone Can Face in Arizona

Class 1 Misdemeanor Theft – this category encompasses any kind of theft where the value of the property of services is under $1,000 and does not involve physically taking the property from another individual, stealing a firearm, or stealing an animal for the purpose of animal fighting.

Class 6 Felony Theft – this category encompasses any kind of theft where the value of the property is between $1,000 and $2,000 as well as instances of theft under $1,000 involving the above exceptions to misdemeanor charges.

Class 5 Felony Theft – this category encompasses any kind of theft where the value is between $2,000 and $3,000.

Class 4 Felony Theft – this category encompasses any kind of theft where the value is between $3,000 and $4,000 as well as any theft of a vehicle engine or transmission, regardless of the actual value.

Class 3 Felony Theft – this category encompasses any kind of theft where the value is between $4,000 and $25,000.

Class 2 Felony Theft – this category encompasses any kind of theft where the value is greater than $25,000. Anyone involved in the theft of property of services that exceeds $100,000 is also ineligible for pardon, probation, suspension of their sentence or to be released from confinement until their sentence has been served, except for cases falling under section 31-233 subsection A or B, section 41-1604.07, or until the sentence has been commuted.

How to Fight an Arizona Theft Charge

An experienced Phoenix theft lawyer will know how to use all of the details of your specific case to minimize the charges and penalties levied against you, and will walk you through the process step by step so that you understand exactly what is happening. This might mean exploring how the law enforcement officers who arrested you acted on the scene, looking into your actual involvement in the crime and whether you played a large or small role, and in some case even arguing that you were in legal possession of the property in question. To learn more, contact a qualified theft attorney in the Phoenix area today.

By Michael Munoz

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