Types of Shoplifting and Why You Will Need a Criminal Defense Attorney in Tempe

In Tempe, Arizona, shoplifting is considered a very serious crime with serious consequences. Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes committed, with at least 50,000 instances reported in Arizona in 2015. Shoplifting makes up more than a third of the crimes of theft in the State. False allegations of shoplifting is not unusual.

Shoplifting can be properly defined as an act where a person knowingly takes goods that are on display for sale from any business establishment with the intent of not paying for those goods. Any of the following instances can result in shoplifting charge being filed:

  • Taking any of the goods on display without paying for them.
  • Removing any items from a business, including a storeroom, without paying for them.
  • Paying for goods using a fake account
  • Paying for goods with a credit card or check that’s not registered to you and without the owner’s permission.
  • Altering, substituting, removing or disfiguring the price tag, label or markings by some artifice or trick, so  to pay less than the marked price for the goods.
  • Transferring goods from one container to another with the intent of paying a reduced price
  • Concealment of goods to sneak them out of the store.


Any of the above actions can lead to a felony or misdemeanor conviction, depending on the value of the goods obtained or if the item taking is a firearm. A conviction can lead to a prison sentence, jail term, probation, hefty fines or community restitution.


Classifications For Shoplifting Charges

Class 1 Misdemeanor

Under this classification, the value of property or goods shoplifted is less than $1000. The sentence carries up fines of $2,500, 3 years of probation and 6 months in jail.


Class 6 Felony

There are two situations where shoplifting is a class 6 felony.  One, the goods shoplifted were valued between $1,000 and $2,000, and two, where the property shoplifted was a firearm no matter the value. The sentence under this classification could be prison term between 4 months and 2 years, fines up to $150,000 and a maximum probation period of 3 years.


Class 5 Felony

There are three situation where shoplifting is a class 5 felony.  One, the goods shoplifted were valued $2000 and more. Two, when in a series of continuing criminal events of at least 3 separate events within 90 days, the amount of goods obtained add up to $1,500 and more. Three, if the shoplifter assisted a syndicate or gang. The sentence could be prison term between 6 months and 2.5 years, fines up to $150,000 and a maximum probation period of 3 years.


Class 4 Felony

A shoplifter can be convicted under class 4 felony if he/she used an instrument, artifice, device, container or any other article to facilitate the act. Under this category, even a shopping bag is considered a container. Additionally, if the shoplifter has 2 prior convictions in the prior 5 years for the crime of shoplifting or any other crime of theft, such as robbery, burglary or organized retail theft, the crime falls under a class 4 felony. Here, the sentence could be prison term between 1 year and 3.75 years, fines up to $150,000 and a maximum probation period of 4 years.

Most retail stores detain a shoplifter before the police arrive on the scene, as is their legal right. The law gives an employee the right to detain someone in a reasonable way for questioning or while waiting for the arrival of law enforcement. Merchants also have the right to take civil actions against shoplifters in their premises. These penalties include paying the retail value of the stolen items, whether or not the merchandise is recovered, plus an additional assessment of $250.


Contact Us Immediately!

If you have been accused of shoplifting in Arizona, contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law. That is because your future, your rights and freedom are at stake. Speak to an aggressive and experienced criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with shoplifting cases. You can enjoy a customized and individualized service from this attorney as he protects your rights. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, through email or by phone at (480) 860-4321 for a free initial consultation.