Arizona Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws

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Defining Theft Under Arizona Law

In the state of Arizona, a person commits the crime of theft by knowingly, and without lawful authority to do so, taking any of the following actions:

  • controlling another person’s property with the intent to deprive them of the property
  • using another person’s property or services for an unauthorized period of time
  • obtaining another person’s property and services through material misrepresentation (i.e. fraud)
  • controlling lost property without reasonably attempting to find its owner
  • controlling stolen property, or
  • obtaining compensable services without paying or agreeing to pay for the services. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-802.) 

Classification and Punishment for Theft in Arizona

Depending on the dollar value of the items involved in the theft, as well as the circumstances surrounding the offense, the crime can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony under Arizona law. If the offender has no previous felony convictions, Arizona law dictates that he or she receives the presumptive sentence for the felony theft conviction, unless certain aggravating or mitigating factors exist to justify a sentence other than the presumptive sentence. In most cases, the presumptive sentence is the mid-range sentence between the possible minimum and maximum sentences for a crime. For example, the presumptive sentence for a class 6 felony is one year, with the maximum sentence being two years and the minimum sentence being four months.

Class 1 Misdemeanor Theft

The theft of any property or services valued at less than $1,000 is a class 1 misdemeanor in the state of Arizona, which is the lowest-level theft offense under Arizona law (this is sometimes known as "petty theft"). However, if the offender takes the property directly from a person, if the property is a firearm, or if the property is an animal taken for the purposes of animal fighting, the theft may be bumped up to a class 6 felony, regardless of the value of the property. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1802G.)

Theft of property valued at $1,000 or less constitutes a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona, which is punishable by up to six months of incarceration and a fine of not more than $2,500.  The court also may order the payment of restitution, meaning the offender must reimburse the theft victim for the value of the stolen property. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-707(A).)

Class 6 Felony Theft

If the theft involved property or services valued at least $1,000, but not more than $2,000, the offense is a class 6 felony in Arizona. This level of felony carries a sentence of imprisonment of at least four months to a maximum of two years and a fine no greater than $150,000. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702(D).)

Class 5 Felony Theft

Theft of property or services valued at between $2,000 and $3,000 is a class 5 felony in Arizona. This level of felony theft is punishable by imprisonment for a minimum of six months to a maximum of 2.5 years, plus a fine of not more than $150,000. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702(D).)

Class 4 Felony Theft

Theft of property or services valued at between $3,000 and $4,000 is a class 4 felony (as is the theft of any vehicle engine or transmission, regardless of dollar value). And a person who commits the offense of shoplifting under Arizona law, and who has two or more previous convictions that involved burglary, shoplifting, robbery, or theft within the past five years, also commits a class 4 felony. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1805(I).)

A class 4 felony in Arizona carries a sentence of imprisonment ranging from one year to 3.75 years, as well as a fine of no more than $150,000. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702(D).) 

Class 3 Felony Theft

Theft of property or services with a value of at least $4,000 but not greater than $25,000 is a class 3 felony in Arizona. This degree of felony theft is punishable by imprisonment for two to 8.75 years, plus a fine of no greater than $150,000. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702(D).)

Class 2 Felony Theft

Theft of property or services with a value of $25,000 or more is a class 2 felony under Arizona law. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1802G.) A class 2 felony carries a sentence of imprisonment ranging from a minimum of three years to a maximum of 12.5 years, as well as a fine of no greater than $150,000. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-702(D).)

Civil Penalties for Theft

In addition to criminal penalties for theft, a person who commits shoplifting in Arizona is liable to the owner of the stolen merchandise or property for:

  • a penalty in the amount of the retail value of the merchandise, and
  • an additional penalty of at least $250, but not more than the sum of $250 plus the amount of actual damages suffered by the owner. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-691.) 

If a minor commits a shoplifting offense, his or her parent or legal guardian can be held liable to the store owner for a penalty in the amount of the retail value of the merchandise, plus an additional penalty of at least $100, but not more than $100 plus the actual damages suffered by the owner. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-692.)

Effect of Prior Convictions on Punishments for Theft

Although Arizona statutes do not address the issue directly, any prior criminal conviction on a defendant's record (for a theft-related offense or for any other misdemeanor or felony) will almost certainly mean harsher punishments at sentencing time for a subsequent theft offense. Conduct your own legal research or speak to an Arizona criminal law attorney to understand how prior theft-related convictions (or any prior criminal convictions) may affect a subsequent theft charge in Arizona.

by: , J.D.

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