Shoplifting Charges in Arizona

Learn about the laws, penalties and civil consequences of a shoplifting charge in Arizona. Find out if you can avoid a conviction and criminal record.

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Shoplifting in Arizona is a crime with serious penalties, including potential fines and jail time. In addition to facing criminal penalties, shoplifters can be sued by merchants in civil court to recover damages.

Shoplifting in Arizona

Shoplifting in Arizona is broadly defined, and includes actions such as removing goods without paying the purchase price, paying less than the purchase price by removing or altering price tags, and concealing merchandise, with the intent to deprive the merchant of the merchandise.

Removing merchandise with the intent to resell or trade or using a container or device to facilitate the removal, without paying the purchase price, constitutes organized retail theft, a Class 4 felony.

A merchant can detain an individual in a reasonable manner, for a reasonable period of time, if the merchant has reasonable cause to suspect that the individual is shoplifting.

Criminal penalties for shoplifting depend on the value of the goods stolen, types of goods stolen, and number of prior convictions. In addition to criminal penalties, shoplifters face civil suits by victimized merchants for money damages. Criminal and civil penalties for shoplifting are described below.

Criminal Penalties for Shoplifting in Arizona

Charge

Classification

Penalty

Shoplifting property valued at less than $1,000 (excluding firearms)

Class 1 misdemeanor

Up to six months in jail, a maximum $2,500 fine and up to three years of probation

Shoplifting property with a value between $1,000-$2,000

Class 6 felony

Six months to one-and-a-half years of jail time and up to three years of probation. Fines  up to $150,000

Shoplifting a firearm

Class 6 felony

Six months to one-and-a-half years of jail time and up to three years of probation. Fines  up to $150,000

Shoplifting property with a value of $2,000 or more, shoplifting during any continuing criminal episode, or shoplifting to promote/further/assist criminal gangs or criminal syndicates.

Class 5 felony

Nine months to two years of jail time and up to three years of probation. Fines  up to $150,000

Using any instrument or device such as a container with the intent to facilitate shoplifting

Class 4 felony

One-and-a-half to three years of jail time and up to three years of probation. Fines  up to $150,000

Shoplifting when you already have committed or been convicted within the past five years of two or more offenses involving burglary, robbery, shoplifting, organized retail theft or any other type of theft

Class 4 felony

One-and-a-half to three years of jail time and up to three years of probation. Fines  up to $150,000

Civil Penalties

Victimized merchants can sue adult and emancipated minor shoplifters, or the parents/legal guardians of unemancipated minors, in civil court for money damages. Damage awards can equal the retail value of the goods, as well as an additional penalty, between $250 and $250 plus the retail value for adult and emancipated minor shoplifters, and between $100 and $100 plus the retail value for parents or guardians of unemancipated minor shoplifters.

Prosecution Diversion Programs and Plea Bargaining

Prosecution diversion programs may be available to certain individuals accused of first-time or low-level crimes in Arizona. Upon completion of a diversion program’s requirements, such as restitution and community service, the criminal charges against the accused will be dropped.

Those who do not qualify for a diversion program may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor assigned to the case. Plea bargains typically involve the accused receiving reduced criminal charges or sentencing in exchange for a guilty plea. Plea bargaining is at the discretion of the prosecutor.

Learn more about diversion and pretrial options.

Help With a Shoplifting Offense

If you have been charged with shoplifting in the state of Arizona, you should seek help from a criminal attorney. A qualified and experienced criminal attorney can help you assess the possibility of participating in a diversion program, raising defenses, and negotiating plea bargains, in order to best minimize the consequences of the shoplifting charges.

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