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FAQs About Theft Cases In Arizona


How Is Theft Defined Under Arizona Law?

There are actually numerous ways that theft, fraud, forgery, and identity thefts can be charged. A simple theft is essentially knowingly or intentionally taking someone’s property without permission. It is that simple and it extends as the foundation for many other theft and fraud charges.

What Is The Difference Between Theft, Shoplifting, Burglary Or Robbery? What Sets Those Apart?

Shoplifting is typically restricted to taking merchandize from an establishment without permission. The common stealing merchandise from stores, stealing food from a grocery store typically comes under shoplifting. Shoplifting can extend to what is called organized retail theft. If you are coordinating shoplifting with other individuals, that can raise a misdemeanor shoplifting offense to a felony organized retail theft. If you are using some type of artifice, an artifice under the law would be like a bag or a shopping cart or something to gather merchandise to remove them from the store that can be cause for an organized retail theft charge, which is a felony as well. Those are the things that fall under the shoplifting banner.

Burglaries are different. Burglaries often are residential or non-residential burglaries. They involve individuals going into a home or business without permission and they can be prosecuted for burglary for a couple of different reasons: Firstly, because you went into the home to steal something and you did, you could also be charged for burglary for entering a home or a business with the intent to commit a felony. You could go into the home with the intent to assault someone or to commit a crime, which would be a burglary as well, even if you did not take anything from them.

The difference between a robbery and armed robbery is whether the robbery was conducted with a weapon of some type. Did it involve forcibly taking someone’s property from the person? That is the difference between theft, shoplifting, burglary and robbery.

Moving onto forgery and fraud crimes, they are also thefts of a kind. Taking the example of forgery, the most common thing seen is signing some type of check or document that allows someone to get a financial benefit from someone else. Fraudulent checks or signing some paperwork that turns over money or property to someone who is not the actual individual that would be forgery and fraud. Then there is embezzlement, especially in small businesses. Employees that have access to a payroll or money for the accounting in a small business can be charged with embezzlement or a fraud scheme if over time, they are taking money from the business without permission or taking money from the petty cash without permission over a period of time. They could be charged with fraud scheme, which is essentially a pattern of theft or fraudulent behavior and those are very serious felony offenses with potentially significant incarcerations.

Are There Different Diversion Programs That Are Available For First Time Offenders?

Yes, diversion is definitely available, typically for a lower level misdemeanor theft offense, depending upon what actually happened. Diversion is available a lot in shoplifting cases for first time offenses. Typically, a theft from a person or forgery may not always be eligible for diversion. There are some new programs in Arizona, especially with the felony court, where they are experimenting with some new diversion ideas. However, it is not available to everybody in a first time situation, it is really case dependent.

In terms of penalties, first and foremost, theft and fraud charges often come at some type of financial gains with the perpetrator and financial loss to the victim. Therefore, restitution to a victim is always going to be very important. Sometimes, it will be divided out over a period of time. Sometimes, property can be seized to satisfy a restitution judgment. Restitution is always going to be a big portion and sometimes there will be additional fines and fees on top of just paying the individual back. However, in bigger fraud schemes or theft cases, there can be some significant incarceration imposed as well.

Do Theft Or Fraud Cases End Up With A Plea Or Do They End Up Going To Trial?

It is totally fact dependent. In a very complicated fraud or theft case where there are multiple dates of offense and multiple allegations, those cases are typically going to resolve. That is because the exposure at trial is so high for each date of offense that is considered a separate crime. If you are convicted of all of these different crimes and they are stacked up together, a judge can give you a very lengthy prison sentence. Even if it is your first time being convicted, if you are convicted for multiple dates of offense and multiple victims, those things can be added together to give you a very lengthy prison term. Therefore, the complicated and expensive theft and fraud cases wind up resolving through plea agreements. Going to trial on them can oftentimes be very detrimental to the client.

If you need Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Theft Cases in Arizona, call the law office of Jared Allen PLLC for a FREE Initial Consultation at (602) 456-1982 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

Jared Allen, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (602) 456-1982.

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