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How Is Theft Defined In The State Of Arizona?


Arizona actually has several different theft charges, including fraud, forgery, shoplifting and organized retail theft. These are a whole host of different types of thefts, ranging from misdemeanor to felony charges.

What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About Theft Charges?

Some of the common misconceptions that I see include receipt of stolen property or receipt of something for an extremely good price, maybe too good a price. In these cases people feel like it’s not really their responsibility to know everything about what they were buying or where it came from, but the law sees otherwise when it comes to particular types of purchases and the way things are purchased.

The common example would be someone buying a stereo system out of the back of a truck. If someone pulls up, while you’re in the parking lot at Home Depot, and say they have a full stereo system for $100, then it’s on the purchaser to think, “What’s going on here? This isn’t the normal way I’d purchase a stereo system. This stereo system could be stolen or could have been retrieved illegally by the person that’s selling it to me.” The law puts some responsibility on a potential purchaser to do some investigation or use some common sense regarding their own purchases. If, in that case, there was any idea, on the part of the purchaser, that they may be receiving stolen property or purchasing something that didn’t belong to the seller, they could be charged with possession of stolen property or theft of property, depending on how the state charges it.

What Are The Common Types Of Theft Cases That You Handle?

There is a lot of low-level shoplifting. That’s a very common charge and is the entry level to theft. These are misdemeanor charges, typically, where people pass the point of purchase without paying. A lot of shoplifters will say, “Hey, I had the money on me; I could have paid for it. I just started walking out and forgot I had this stuff.” A lot of times, those are the concerns or questions that they raise, but at the end of the day, the state has to prove that you passed the point of sale without paying and also that you didn’t have any intent to pay, and sometimes, having the money on you to pay for a product can be evidence against your intent. However, shoplifting is also known to not just be a crime of necessity but a crime of addiction with people who have issues with stealing things just for the thrill of it.

There are also standard property thefts involving individuals stealing another individual’s property, such as picking up loose electronics in public places and things that people have failed to pay attention to for a short period of time, including smartphones, laptops, tablets and things that can be easily snatched. Moving on up into a little bit more complicated thefts, there is organized retail theft, which is a larger scale shoplifting operation, sometimes coordinated between several people where they are stealing property from several different stores over a period of time.

However, organized retail theft is charged as a felony, and in a lot of cases it can be not all that different from regular shoplifting, which is a misdemeanor. The difference is that organized retail theft can involve another individual helping you, like a lookout, or using shopping bags to hide the merchandise when you are leaving the store; this type of behavior, while it’s not all that different from shoplifting, elevates it to a felony charge. Shoplifting, organized retail theft and the theft in-between really do have a wide range of possible penalties and punishments when it comes to very similar behavior.

Then we move into more involved theft rings. Sometimes individuals are committing crimes and making money to support drug habits, which is one of the big reasons why people commit more organized retail thefts where several individuals are stealing a lot of small ticket items in an effort to sell them at pawnshops and online for the money that they immediately need to purchase drugs. A lot of these individuals are going to be taken advantage of by other individuals, who lead those theft rings. There is a lot going on in the theft world related to other types of crimes, like drugs.

For more information on Theft Charges In Arizona, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (602) 456-1982 today.

Jared Allen, Esq.

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

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