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What Are Different Types Of Theft Charges, From Minimum To More Severe?
The severity of a theft charge is based on the amount of money that is associated with the theft. In Arizona, the charge can be classified from a misdemeanor up to a felony.
The different classifications depend on the monetary amount associated with the theft. A $25,000 or more is a class 2 felony. Anywhere from $4,000 or more, but still less than $25,000, is a class 3 felony. More than $3,000, but less than $4,000, is a class 4 felony.
This races all the way down to a class 4 misdemeanor, which is a theft of any property or services valued less than $1,000. If the item is physically taken from another person, or if it was a firearm or an animal, then the charge is a class 6 felony. Therefore, if you steal someone’s dog or you steal a gun, then it’s a class 6 felony, even if the dog or the gun is worth less than $1,000.
What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?
A misdemeanor is a less serious crime, and it’s punishable by less than one year in jail. Typically for a class 1 misdemeanor, you can get up to 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. It’s simply a less serious offense.
The different class felonies are all probation eligible in the case of a first offense. The time on probation can vary depending on the severity. This goes all the way from class 6 to class 2, class 2 being the most serious, class 6 being the least serious felony. Right beneath the felonies, severity-wise, is the misdemeanor.
Is Shoplifting a Common Example of Theft?
Yes. Shoplifting has its own statute. Typically, a shoplift in Arizona is a misdemeanor, but it can be a class 4 felony if the prosecutor chooses to charge it that way.
He can do this under various theories. For example, if you shoplifted, but you used a bag to shoplift, then they can charge you with a class 4 felony. Therefore, the charge is really under the discretion of the prosecutor.
Furthermore, a section exists that says if you have 3 or more shoplifts in a certain period of time, they can charge you with a felony.
Generally, people think of shoplifting as less serious. In most circumstances, you’d only be charged with the misdemeanor. However, it is definitely up to the discretion of the prosecutor. It can be charged as a felony.
Where Do People Typically Shoplift From? What Items Do They Take?
Generally, people are caught shoplifting from Target, Wal-Mart, or a grocery store. Afterwards, they try later to sell it to a different store to get the money back.
Beyond these frequent examples, I’ve seen people charged with shoplifting a stick of gum.
Have You Ever Seen Any Cases of Accidental Shoplifting?
In fact, I recently handled a case that was dismissed where a young man in a gas station walked up to pay for the beef jerky he temporarily placed in his pocket. A police officer observed him and proceeded to tackle him from behind. The problem was that the young man was walking up to the register to pay. The officer made a rash decision and jumped the gun so to speak. The case was ultimately dismissed.
Sometimes, police make mistakes.
I have seen instances where someone was in the grocery store, she has a cart full of groceries, and she places all the items on the check-out counter mistakenly missing one item. That is an instance of mistaken shoplift.
If a shoplift occurs by mistake, look for a surveillance video to prove it. Many stores have surveillance, and if you’re able to prove that it was just a mistake or a lack of judgment you may get out of any trouble.
If you aren’t able to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the case, then you can go to trial and convince either the judge or jury.
What About a Civil Demand Letter?
Don’t sign anything or do anything without the advice of a lawyer.
For more information on Types of Theft Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (480) 442-8343 today.