If you have been accused of stealing from another person and charged with a theft crime, you are facing potentially severe penalties, including jail or prison time, fines, and probation. It is easy to feel hopeless and afraid for your future, but with the right theft crime attorney in Glendale, things may not be as bad as they appear; there is a long road from arrest to conviction. Don’t assume because you have been arrested that conviction is inevitable; it is not. Having a top-notch criminal defense lawyer in Glendale on your side can often make the difference between loss of freedom and having a criminal record that will follow you for years to come and being able to resume your normal life with a minimum of serious consequences.
There are many ways to commit theft. A brief definition of theft is that it is a criminal offense involving the intentional and unauthorized taking or controlling another person’s property in order to deprive the rightful owner of that property. Theft also includes obtaining services for which payment is due without compensating the provider of the service or obtaining services or property of another person fraudulently by making some material misrepresentation of fact.
There are many ways to deprive others of what is rightfully theirs. Below are some of the common types of theft that result in criminal charges being filed:
Retail theft (shoplifting): Retail theft, or shoplifting, is stealing from a store. It is fairly common among juveniles and has the potential for damaging a child’s future. These are some actions that can be charged as retail theft:
Most shoplifting is of minor amounts and will be charged as a misdemeanor for a first offense, although subsequent occurrences may be charged felonies. Your attorney may be able to help you or your child avoid a criminal record. There are effective defenses and a good lawyer may even be successful in having the charges dropped if it is the first offense.
Bad checks: If you deliberately pay for something by writing a worthless check knowing that there is not enough money in the checking account to cover it by writing a check on a closed account, or by writing a check on someone else’s account, it is considered a theft crime.
Robbery: Robbery is using force, intimidation, or fear to deprive someone of their property. It is a Class 2 felony.
Aggravated robbery: Aggravated robbery is robbery with the assistance of an accomplice (or more than one). It is a Class 3 felony.
Armed robbery: Armed robbery is a robbery in which the means of causing fear or intimidation in the victim is the use of a weapon. A weapon could be a knife or a gun, or it could be a rock, a bat, a broken glass bottle, or any other object capable of doing serious bodily harm. Armed robbery is a Class 4 felony.
Burglary: Burglary is theft involving forced or unlawful entry into a home, structure, business, or vehicle for the purpose of committing a felony. Arizona law has burglary-related charges ranging from a Class 6 to a Class 2 felony, depending on the degree.
Identity theft: Identity theft involves the stealing of someone else’s personal information, including name, address, social security number, date of birth, and so forth, to make purchases, obtain credit, apply for the victim’s tax refund, or for other illegal purposes. Seek advice from a white-collar crime lawyer to help you build a defense against identity theft accusations because the first offense in Arizona is charged as a Class 4 felony.
Theft of Means of Transportation: This is auto theft: gaining control of someone else’s vehicle with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that vehicle. This includes borrowing a car and failing to return it, obtaining use of the vehicle by fraud, finding a “lost” vehicle and failing to notify the rightful owner, or using a car you knew, or should have known, to be stolen. Auto theft is typically charged as a Class 3 felony.
Embezzlement: This is a situation in which you were an employee in a position of trust, authorized to handle money and other assets of the business as a function of your employment, and intentionally appropriated those funds or assets for your own purposes, depriving the business’s owner of those assets.
Fraud: Fraud involves dishonesty, lying, or misrepresentation of some material fact, with the intent to deceive another person for personal gain or to harm that person. Securities fraud, internet fraud, and any type of fraudulent activity that crosses state lines is a federal crime.
Receiving Stolen Property: If you accepted or bought something that you knew, or should have known, was stolen, you could be found guilty of receiving stolen property.
Theft of Services: When you avail yourself of someone’s services that are meant to be paid for and they don’t pay or use some deceptive means to obtain those services, this is a theft crime, the same as if you had stolen actual goods. Examples include walking out on a restaurant check, tampering with a utility meter to avoid payment, hailing a taxi and running off without paying the driver.
The classification of a theft crime, with some variability reflecting circumstances surrounding the crime and the particular type of property stolen, is based on the monetary value of that which was stolen. This is a general outline of theft classification in Arizona and the penalties attached to each:
Less than $250.00: Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, up to a $2,500.00 fine, and probation.
From $250.00 to $1,000.00, theft of a firearm, or theft of an animal for fighting: Class 6 Felony, punishable by up to two years in prison, or probation and up to one year in county jail, and fines up to $150,000.00.
From $1,000.00 to $2,000.00: Class 5 Felony, punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in prison, probation, or one year in county jail, and a fine of up to $150,000.00.
From $2,000.00 to $3,000.00: Class 4 Felony, punishable by up to 3.75 years in prison, or probation and up to a year in county jail, county jail, and fines of up to $150,000.00.
From $3,000.00 to $25,000.00: Class 3 Felony, punishable by up to 8.75 years in prison or probation plus up to a year in county jail, with a maximum fine of $150,000.00.
Over $25,000.00: Class 2 Felony, punishable by up to 12.5 years in prison or probation plus up to a year in county jail, with a fine of up to$150,000.00.
$100,000.00 or more: Mandatory prison sentence of 3 to 12.5 years without the possibility of suspended sentence probation, release, or pardon.
Arizona’s laws pertaining to theft are complex and the potential penalties severe. These are serious charges, and a conviction could deprive you of your freedom, your reputation, and a large chunk of your money in the form of fines. Most theft crimes are felonies, meaning you face incarceration and a lifetime of limitations as a convicted felon on your employment and housing options, ability to own a firearm, and the right to vote or hold public office. If you are a resident alien, you could be deported.
The stakes are high, and you need the best legal help you can find. A skilled and experienced lawyer can identify and raise defenses that may lead to the charges being dropped or reduced, or in you being acquitted at trial. You will find the quality and experience you need in a criminal defense lawyer when you call Glendale area attorney Craig Orent. Craig is an Arizona Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer who has many years of experience in obtaining the most favorable possible outcomes for his clients over a career that has spanned decades. He has received widespread recognition for legal excellence and has earned the gratitude of hundreds of clients.
Every criminal case is different. Craig will investigate the facts, including the actions of the police before and after your arrest, and will strategize the most effective defense, considering the unique circumstances of your case.
Don’t make any statements to police or prosecutors until you have spoken with your attorney. Call Orent Law without delay.