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Arizona Theft Laws: The Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony

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Arizona Theft Laws: The Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony

Being accused of theft should never be taken lightly. In the state of Arizona, there are varying degrees of classifications of theft. While the accusation of theft is always a serious charge, each classification comes with its own unique set of penalties. Understanding the differences between a misdemeanor theft and the various classes of felony theft is important to building the best case for your defense and protecting your future.

What is Theft?

Under Arizona State law, a person can be convicted of the crime of theft in situations where they knowingly (and without having the lawful authority to do so), take any of the following actions:

  • Using someone else’s property or services for any unauthorized period of time.
  • Committing fraud as a means of obtaining another person’s property or services.
  • Controlling lost property without making a reasonable attempt to locate its owner.
  • Controlling someone else’s property with the intent of depriving the said person of the property.
  • Controlling stolen property.
  • Obtaining compensable goods or services without paying for the goods or services.

Schill Law Group understands the law as it pertains to all types of theft and can help fight on your behalf.

Misdemeanor vs Felony Theft in Arizona

The primary difference between a misdemeanor and felony theft charge in the state of Arizona concerns the dollar value of what was stolen. Generally speaking, the higher the dollar value of the property or service that was stolen, the harsher the penalties will be if convicted. ARS § 13 – 1802 mandates that a theft shall be classified as a misdemeanor unless the dollar value of what was stolen exceeds $1000. Theft crimes exceeding this amount will be brought forth as a felony charge. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. In the event that a firearm or an animal is stolen, the charges will be brought as a felony. Other extenuating circumstances, such as an assault during the theft, could also impact the severity of the charges.

Classification and Penalties for Theft in Arizona

The following is an outline of the different classifications of theft in Arizona and their corresponding penalties:

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor Theft – Theft of property or services with a dollar value of less than $1000 is designated as a Class 1 misdemeanor, and is the lowest-level theft offense. Sometimes, this level of theft is described as “petty theft.” A Class 1 misdemeanor theft is punishable by as many as six months of jail time, fines up to $2500, and restitution to the victim.
  • Class 6 Felony Theft – The lowest level felony theft charge is designated as a class 6 and involves cases, where the property or services involved, were valued between $1000 to $2000. If convicted, punishment involves a minimum of four months to a maximum of two years of incarceration and fines up to $150,000.
  • Class 5 Felony Theft – This class of theft involves property or services valued between $2000 to $3000 and carries a sentence of six months to 2.5 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $150,000.
  • Class 4 Felony Theft – Here, property or services involved in the theft are valued between $3000 and $4000. In addition to this, the theft of any vehicle engine or transmission (regardless of the actual dollar value) is designated as a Class 4 Felony theft. Punishment includes one to 3.75 years of incarceration and fines of no more than $150,000.
  • Class 3 Felony Theft – A theft is designated as a Class 3 felony when a property is valued at at least $4000 but not greater than $25,000. If convicted, punishment includes two to 8.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
  • Class 2 Felony Theft – The most serious class of felony theft in Arizona, this type of charge involves property or services with a value of $25,000 or greater. Those convicted may receive three to 12.5 years of incarceration and fines not to exceed $150,000.

If you or someone you love has been charged with theft, NOW is the time to reach out to Schill Law Group for legal help. Reach out to us for a free consultation and we’ll start building your case today.

Were You Accused of Employee Theft? Here Are the Steps You Should Take



Were You Accused of Employee Theft? Here Are the Steps You Should Take

If you’ve been accused of theft in at work by your employer and wondering what steps to take, Schill Law Group in Phoenix is here to help. After being accused of theft at work you could be facing two types of consequences: termination and/or criminal prosecution. Obviously, accusations of theft at work are extremely serious and could not only affect your immediate livelihood, but also your employment for years to come. It’s important that you try to remain calm and carefully work to sort out the situations. The steps you will need to take will largely depend on understanding the details of your unique situation. For situations in which you need legal representation, Schill Law Group handles accusations of theft at work in Arizona regularly and will help you navigate this stressful, complicated time. If you’d like to speak directly with an attorney about your situation, call the Schill Law Group today for a free consultation on your case.

(480) 525-8900

Ask Questions

When being accused of theft, before anything else it is wise to gather as much information about the accusation being made as possible. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to assess the situation, protect yourself, and seek the best legal representation when necessary. Find out precisely what you are being accused of stealing. Determine whether or not you are being fired or if you are being charged with a crime. Will your company be handling an internal investigation where you will be able to share your side of the story with your supervisor or HR personnel, or is the investigation being handed over to the police? What are the next steps? In addition to asking these types of questions, it’s important to remember that no matter how much you may want to proclaim your innocence, it’s often best to keep your words at a minimum so that you don’t accidentally implicate yourself – especially if law enforcement becomes involved. Even if you are falsely accused of theft, it is advisable to limit your statements.

Seek Legal Representation

Once you have a better understanding of what you are being accused of and how the investigation is being handled, it’s time to look for experienced legal representation. Schill Law Group in Arizona has handled numerous cases related to accusations of workplace theft and we can walk you through the process. Partnering with a law firm is a crucial step because it allows you to be cooperative with the investigative process without making the problem worse. Too many employees have made the mistake of trying to “clear the air” or “talk things out” with their employers, only to find that their attempts to remedy the issue have implicated them further or led to more trouble. It’s much wiser to allow a legal professional to speak on your behalf.

Don’t Be Pressured Into Giving Up Your Right To An Attorney

There are many instances when employees are wrongfully accused of workplace theft. You may feel that if you have nothing to hide, you should be able to simply answer questions on your own and that hiring an attorney could actually make you look guilty. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even innocent people need professional legal representation in order to protect themselves. As mentioned previously, going it alone can actually make your problems worse, so we urge you to present your case to an experienced lawyer.

Remain Calm

You won’t be able to make the situation any better if you get emotional or angry. While a false accusation is understandably frustrating, statements or emails composed in anger are likely to make the situation worse, even when you’ve done nothing wrong. You will only undermine any efforts made to demonstrate that the theft accusations are unfounded.

Know Your Rights

In addition to fighting to clear your name and protect you from legal prosecution, a lawyer will also be able to explain your rights so that you can navigate your way through the investigation process as comfortably as possible. For example, you may have questions about your right to privacy as the investigation is carried out, whether or not you have the right to refuse a lie detector test, or may be curious about whether you have the right to review your HR record. Your attorney will be able to provide answers to these questions so you don’t have to remain in the dark. The Schill Law Group has extensive experience in handling Arizona theft cases and will be able to guide you through your situation, too. If you or a loved one have been accused of workplace theft, don’t hesitate to seek help from Schill Law Group. Give us a call to set up a free case consultation today.