Under Arkansas law, theft occurs when a person knowingly:
(Ark. Code Ann. § 5-36-103.)
Arkansas laws also identify a number of very specific types of theft offenses, including:
Some of these theft offenses fall within the theft offense classification scheme, which is based on the dollar value of the property involved, and is discussed in the next section. If you need more details on a particular theft offense, you can research Arkansas theft statutes (Ark. Code Ann. § 5-36-104 through 5-36-124).
In the state of Arkansas, theft offenses generally follow a classification system that is based on the dollar value of the property or services taken. The value of the property or services is the reasonable fair market value at the time the theft occurred, or the reasonable replacement value of the property shortly after the theft occurred. (Ark. Code Ann. § 5-36-101.)
Arkansas classifies a theft offense as a Class A misdemeanor (the lowest-level theft offense under Arkansas law, commonly known as petty theft) if the value of the property or services stolen is $1,000 or less.
A theft will also be classified as a Class A misdemeanor if the stolen property is a trade secret, if the stolen property is motor vehicle fuel, or if the theft offense involves the unauthorized use of a vehicle. (Ark. Code Ann. 5-36-124.)
Punishment for a Class A misdemeanor theft conviction in Arkansas includes a sentence of imprisonment of no more than one year and payment of a fine of not more than $2,500. (Ark. Code Ann. 5-4-401.)
When the value of the stolen property or services ranges between $1,000 and $5,000, theft is classified as a Class D Felony in Arkansas.
Also, s theft that would ordinarily be classified as a Class A misdemeanor (involving property or services valued at less than $1,000) will be bumped up to a Class D Felony in Arkansas if the offender obtained the property during a series of thefts on three or more occasions within a three-day period.
Finally, a theft also constitutes a Class D felony in Arkansas when:
Punishment for a Class D felony under Arkansas law can result in a sentence of imprisonment of no more than six years and a fine no greater than $10,000.
If the value of the property or services involved in the theft offense is between $5,000 and $25,000, Arkansas law classifies the offense as a Class C felony.
Additionally, theft rises to the level of a Class C felony in Arkansas when:
The punishment for a Class C felony theft conviction in Arkansas is a sentence of three to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of no more than $10,000.
When theft involves property or services valued at $25,000 or more, the offense is a Class B felony in Arkansas.
Theft is also considered a Class B felony in Arkansas -- regardless of the dollar value of the property or services involved -- when the offense involves:
A Class B felony theft offense under Arkansas law carries a sentence of five to 20 years of imprisonment, as well as a fine of no more than $15,000. (Ark. Code Ann. 5-4-401.)
In addition to criminal penalties, a person who commits shoplifting (or the parent or legal guardian of a minor who commits shoplifting) can be held civilly liable to the store owner for:
Arkansas theft laws do not specifically address the effect of any prior criminal conviction on an offender’s record, whether it is a theft-related offense or another misdemeanor or felony criminal conviction. In most cases, a prior criminal conviction of any kind will result in harsher punishments at sentencing time after a theft offense conviction. An Arkansas criminal law attorney can help explain how prior theft-related convictions (or any prior criminal convictions) may affect a subsequent theft charge in Arkansas.