Phoenix Theft Attorney

Theft crime is one of the most complex criminal offenses in Arizona’s laws.  The Arizona theft statute, contained in Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1802, criminalizes a wide variety of activities, and punishes them in various and different ways, which makes hiring a skilled Phoenix theft attorney imperative following a charge. According to Arizona crime statistics, a total of 1,659 people were arrested in 2018 for theft accusations, making theft crime one of the most common offenses in the state.

If You’ve Been Arrested, Contact a Phoenix Theft Lawyer

If you are charged with a theft crime, regardless of its classification, you need the services of an experienced, aggressive, and effective local theft attorney on your side. The consequences can be dire and you need someone to help you get the best possible result in your individual case.

Contact AZ Defenders by calling (480) 456-6400 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Get the legal representation you need, our law offices will take your call 24/7.

  • Our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience in jury trials.
  • We are skilled and aggressive in our approach to defend your legal rights and freedom.
  • We offer free consultations and theft case evaluation.

What Our Clients Are Saying

This group is great to work with!  Very professional and organized as well as responsive to any questions.  Along the way, I was provided with some very good tips that saved me a lot of time and hassle.  Craig is a great attorney and was able to get me a reduced outcome on my case.  I highly recommend working with them for your needs.  I wouldn’t hesitate to call them again!

– Joe T.

Phoenix Theft Lawyer

What Are the Penalties for Thievery in Phoenix?

The punishment for theft cases depends largely on the value of the property, with some exceptions. The criminal classifications range from a Class 1 Misdemeanor to a Class 2 Felony. If the property or services are valued at $25,000 or more, for example, then the theft is a Class 2 Felony.

What Is the Dollar Amount for Felony Theft in Arizona?

The dollar amount at which theft charges in Arizona transition from a misdemeanor to a felony is $1,000, under A.R.S. Section 13-1802(G). If the goods that were allegedly stolen are valued at or above $1,000, the theft crime is automatically entered as a felony rather than a misdemeanor. This is an important distinction, as the consequences of a misdemeanor vs. felony conviction in Arizona vary considerably. 

A felony will strip you of several constitutional rights, for example, such as the right to vote and bear arms, while a misdemeanor conviction will not. The penalties involved are also more severe and can jump from no jail time or a maximum term of six months to up to two years in prison plus three years of probation for the lowest degree of felony theft.

There are exceptions to the dollar amount rule, however. If a firearm of any value is stolen, the criminal charges are entered as a felony. Stealing an animal also automatically results in felony charges, regardless of the monetary value of the animal. Other extenuating circumstances, such as taking property from someone’s person or using a deadly weapon, can also upgrade a misdemeanor charge to felony theft.

Class 2 Theft Felony Penalties

  • A Class 2 Felony carries a prison sentence of 3 years to 12.5 years, probation of up to 7 years, and a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharge.  Under some circumstances, if the value of the property is greater than $100,000, then probation is not available.
  • If the property or service is valued at $4,000 – $24,999.99, then the theft is a Class 3 Felony.

Class 3 Theft Felony Penalties

  • A Class 3 Felony carried a prison sentence of 2 years to 8.75 years, up to 5 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharge.
  • If the property or service is valued at $3,000 – $3,999.99, then the theft is a Class 4 Felony.

Class 4 Theft Felony Penalties

  • A Class 4 Felony carries a prison sentence of 1 year to 3.75 years, up to 4 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges.
  • If the property or service is valued at $2,000 – $2,999.99, then the theft is a Class 5 Felony.

Class 5 Theft Felony Penalties

  • A Class 5 Felony carries a prison sentence of 6 months to 2.5 years, up to 3 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges.
  • If the property or service is valued at $1,000 – $1999.99, then the theft is a Class 6 Felony.

Class 6 Theft Felony Penalties

  • A Class 6 Felony carries a prison sentence of 4 months to 2 years, up to 3 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges.
  • If the property or service is valued at less than $1,000, then the theft is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, unless the property is taken from the person of another, is a firearm, or is an animal taken for the purpose of animal fighting, in which case it is a Class 6 Felony.

Class 1 Theft Misdemeanor Penalties

  • A Class 1 Misdemeanor carries a maximum jail term of 6 months, a maximum fine of $2,500, and probation for up to 3 years.
  • One exception to the value-punishment system is engines and transmissions.  The theft of any vehicle engine or transmission is a Class 4 Felony, regardless of value.
  • Criminal convictions in Arizona carry consequences far beyond prison, jail, fines, and probation.  If convicted of a felony, you lose civil rights, including the right to bear arms.  Regardless of offense, you will have a conviction on your record forever.

Charged with theft? Schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Phoenix theft attorney from AZ Defenders.

What Are Common Theft Charges & Offenses?

There are ten ways to commit theft under the theft statute, Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1802. Theft covers a broad scope of crimes, including identity theft, credit card fraud, burglary, and more.  To commit theft in Arizona, you knowingly, and without lawful authority:

  • Taking control of someone else’s property with the intent to steal it.
  • Convert for an unauthorized term or use services or property of another entrusted to you or placed in your possession for a limited, authorized term or use.
  • Obtain services or property of another by means of any material misrepresentation with the intent to deprive the other person of the property or services.
  • Come into control of lost, mislaid, or misdelivered property of another under circumstances providing means of inquiry as to the truth owner and appropriate the property to your own or another’s use without reasonable efforts to notify the true owner.
  • Control stolen property of another knowing or having reason to know that the property was stolen.
  • Obtaining services known to you to be available only for compensation without paying or an agreement to pay the compensation or diverting another’s services to your own or another’s benefit without authority to do so.
  • Controlling the ferrous metal or nonferrous metal of another with the intent to deprive them of the metal.
  • Controlling the ferrous metal or nonferrous metal of another knowing or having reason to know that the metal was stolen.
  • Purchasing within the scope of the ordinary course of business the ferrous metal or nonferrous metal of another person knowing that the metal was stolen.
  • Taking control, title, use, or management of a vulnerable adult’s property while acting in a position of trust and confidence and with the intent to deprive the vulnerable adult of the property.

Defenses to Theft Charges in Phoenix

Theft charges can have devastating effects on a criminal defendant’s life. A conviction can permanently change a defendant’s future, such as the ability to attain a job or housing. The strength of your defense can make all of the difference. Working with a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney in Phoenix can give you the edge that you need to build the strongest and most compelling defense possible. 

Although every case is unique, examples of potential defenses that may be used against theft charges include:

  • Ownership. If you owned or had reason to believe that you owned the item in question, your lawyer may be able to argue that you did not steal the item. This could be a usable defense if you were under the impression that the owner of the property gave you permission to take the item or let you borrow it.
  • Lack of intent to steal. The prosecutor has the burden to prove that you knowingly took the item or property with the intent to deprive the owner of it. If you had no intention of stealing the item (e.g., if you were simply borrowing something and planned to return it), lack of intent may be a plausible defense strategy.
  • Insufficient evidence. Your lawyer could work to undermine the evidence against you, such as getting evidence that was acquired through an illegal search and seizure thrown out. This could lead to an argument for insufficient evidence, which may result in case dismissal or acquittal by a jury for failure to meet the burden of proof.
  • Mistaken identity. Your lawyer may be able to prove that the prosecutor has the wrong defendant, such as by demonstrating that you were somewhere else at the time of the alleged theft (defense by alibi). 
  • Duress or entrapment. Another potential defense to a theft charge is that you did steal the item, but you only did so because you were forced to by threats or intimidation (duress) or convinced to do so by an undercover police officer (entrapment). Your lawyer will need to show that you would not have stolen the property were it not for these extenuating circumstances.

These are a few potential defense strategies that could be used in a theft case in Arizona. Your lawyer will go through all of the possible defenses available based on the specific facts of your case. At AZ Defenders, we personalize each defense strategy for the unique case and client. In this way, we achieve the best possible results for each case rather than recommending that all of our clients take plea deals. Discuss your potential defense with our attorneys for more specific information.

How Can a Phoenix Theft Attorney Help?

A Phoenix theft attorney will have the knowledge and expertise to craft a defense strategy that is best suited to achieve case dismissal, reduced charges or another positive case outcome. This can protect you from the worst possible penalties associated with a theft allegation, which often include time spent in jail or prison. 

In addition, your lawyer can take care of complicated legal matters for you during your case, such as attending hearings on your behalf, filing motions and paperwork, communicating with the prosecutor and courts, and representing you before a judge and jury. Having a lawyer handle these processes for you can ensure that they are done correctly while simultaneously giving you the mental freedom to focus on yourself and your future.

How Much Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Cost in Phoenix?

The price of hiring a criminal defense attorney can be well worth the value that you get out of your lawyer when facing theft charges. Yet it’s important to be aware of how much your lawyer charges and how he or she bills for the law firm’s time and services. This can help you remain in better control of the cost of your case.

Criminal defense lawyers typically charge either flat fees or hourly rates. Due to the variable nature of cases in criminal law, hourly rates are more common. With this payment arrangement, how much your attorney costs depends on the number of hours the lawyer spends litigating your case. This can vary considerably based on the complexity of your theft charges and the factors involved.

At AZ Defenders, we understand that cost is a concern for most criminal defendants. We make our fees transparent and easy to understand so that you know exactly what to expect upfront – no unwelcome surprises at the end of your case. We also pride ourselves on making our services affordable, and base our rates on each client’s specific situation.

Every criminal defendant has the right to legal counsel. If you cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be appointed for you at little to no cost. When making the decision between a public defender and a private lawyer, however, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. A private attorney will have significantly more time and resources to spend on your case. The cost of an attorney should not stop you from protecting yourself as much as possible when your future is at stake.

Phoenix Theft Attorney

Consult With a Theft Attorney in Phoenix Today

At AZ Defenders, our criminal defense attorneys have decades of combined experience. Our Phoenix theft lawyers have a track record of won cases and are known as one of the most aggressive criminal attorneys in the state. We serve clients all around the Phoenix area, Maricopa County, Prima County, and more. You can read more about our case results, here or give us a call to schedule your free theft crime case evaluation. No matter how severe your theft charges are, we will do our best to protect your legal rights.

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