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Phoenix Theft Attorney

Theft crimes include a wide number of criminal offenses which each come with unique punishment ranges under Arizona law. Many theft crimes are only minimal misdemeanor offenses, but this does not mean you should ignore the repercussions of the offenses. Contact an experienced Phoenix theft attorney if you have been arrested on suspicion of a theft offense.

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Theft in Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona classifies theft offenses on the basis of the property value as either petit theft or grand theft. Petit theft includes theft of property valued at $1,000 or less and is a misdemeanor offense. Grand theft is a felony offense which includes theft of property valued arizona at $1,000 or greater. While felony punishments are clearly more severe than misdemeanors, misdemeanors can also lead to jail time in addition to heightened fines. Multiple misdemeanor convictions can also lead to felony convictions, which is why it is so important to fight any arrest, regardless of how small. Felony convictions can lead to any of the following: long-term prison sentences, high fines, and a permanent felony conviction on your record that can damage your ability to seek employment or gain custody of your children.

Examples of Theft Charges:

  • Robbery: Arizona law defines robbery as the act of taking property from another person against his will.
  • Burglary: broken into three different classifications depending on the location of the offense and whether the accused possessed a deadly weapon.
  • Embezzlement: typically considered a white collar crime, embezzlement is the theft of property entrusted to the person.
  • Receipt of stolen goods.
  • Obtaining property under false pretenses.
  • Forgery: occurs if a person falsely completes or alters a written instrument, possesses a forged instrument, or presents a forged instrument.

Theft offenses can include a wide array of additional offenses that occur in any situation. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Phoenix can assist you in formulating a defense strategy to accurately present your case in court. An arrest for a theft charge can range in terms of punishment from a misdemeanor to felony and can involve outside circumstances that heighten the charge. Several theft offenses can occur if you were not aware the item in your possession was forged or stolen.

Arizona’s Theft Laws

Theft of items valued at less than $1,000 is misdemeanor petty theft under Arizona law, punishable by up to six months in jail. If the perpetrator stole property from another person, used a deadly weapon during the theft, or stole an animal, the perpetrator may face class six felony charges. Theft of items valued at $1,000 to $2,000 qualifies as a class six felony with a minimum sentence of four months in jail, up to a maximum of two years in prison.

Theft of items valued at $2,000 to $3,000 constitutes a class five felony, punishable by a minimum of six months in jail up to a maximum of two and a half years in prison. Stealing $3,000 to $4,000 worth of property is a class four felony, punishable by one year to 44 months in prison. Theft of $4,000 to $25,000 is a class three felony with a minimum sentence of two years in prison to a maximum of 8.75 years in prison. Any theft over $25,000 is a class two felony, punishable by a minimum of three years in prison to a maximum of 12.5 years in prison. Prior convictions will usually have a strong bearing on a perpetrator’s sentencing.

If you have a prior felony conviction in Arizona, you may face a felony charge even for a small offense due to the prior conviction. Arizona has steep laws set in place to curb instances of theft and often attempt to prosecute to the utmost extent of the law. This is why hiring a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix is so important.

Common Defenses in Arizona Theft Cases

There are only a few viable defenses available to defendants in theft cases in Arizona. It’s vital to fight any type of criminal charge, no matter how small, to avoid having any type of criminal record that could come back to haunt you later. Some of the typical defenses a defendant may use in a theft case in Arizona include:

  • Ownership of the property in question. Ownership may be difficult to establish for some items. It’s also possible for a defendant’s property to be identical to stolen property in question in a theft case. If the defendant can prove that he or she is the rightful and legal owner of the property in question, it could form a viable defense.
  • Owner’s consent. If a perpetrator can prove the owner gave consent to use or take the property in question, it could be a valid defense in a theft case. For example, imagine John asks Dave to borrow his car for the day. Dave is late getting home, and instead of calling him to check on him, John calls the police and reports the car stolen. If Dave has proof that John willingly let him borrow the car, he can escape an unjust theft charge.
  • Lack of intent. A defendant may try to argue that he or she had no intent to steal the property in question. This may apply in the case of found items. For example, Tim is walking on the beach when he finds a backpack that has a few pieces of clothing and seemingly nothing else. However, the backpack owners’ wallet, watch, and cell phone are in a pocket that Tim doesn’t notice. The owner then uses a tracking app to locate the phone, and the police charge Tim with theft. Tim can argue that he simply found the backpack with no idea about the valuables inside. In such a case, Tim would likely return the items and the owner would drop the charges.
  • Although this is a somewhat weak defense, a defendant may argue that intoxication caused a theft, and he or she had no real intention of taking anyone else’s property. For example, Jim drinks too much at a family reunion and goes joyriding on a neighbor’s ATV. Even though this is incredibly dangerous, Jim could argue that he didn’t actually intend to steal the ATV, but intoxication impaired his judgment and he simply wanted to joyride. Please note that a defendant who uses such a defense may escape the theft charges but may face additional legal penalties for intoxicated behavior.

Orent Law Offices | Phoenix Theft Attorney

If you have been arrested on theft charges, you must speak to an experienced Phoenix theft attorney as soon as possible. Theft charges can quickly become heightened to felony charges given outside circumstances, and you do not want to let you one chance at fighting a conviction slip away. Craig Orent of the Orent Law Offices has over 25 years of experience in criminal defense. Contact our Phoenix law offices today for your initial free consultation.


  • Client Review

    Great experience. Craig was honest and upfront from the get go. Always easy to get a hold of and professional. I would highly recommend Craig Orent as your choice for representation."
    D.H.