Theft is one of those crimes that can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. In most cases, how a theft charge is graded depends on the value of the items taken or, in some cases, who the items were allegedly stolen from. Felony theft carries significant penalties in Arizona, which often include a prison sentence. Therefore, anyone facing these charges must speak with an experienced Maricopa County criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The Law Office of James E. Novak aggressively represents clients charged with felony theft and has done so for over two decades. We routinely get our clients’ cases withdrawn or reduced to misdemeanor theft before the case ever reaches trial. And, because James Novak is a seasoned litigator, he is always prepared to take your case before a jury in pursuit of the best possible result.What Constitutes Felony Theft in Arizona?
Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1802 outlines the various types of theft and provides for corresponding punishments. Under his section, any of the following actions can give rise to felony theft charges:
- Controlling the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property;
- Obtaining services from another by making material misrepresentations;
- Exceeding the permitted use of property lawfully in a person’s possession;
- Possessing property that someone knows is stolen;
- Keeping lost property without inquiring about who owned the property; and
- Taking control of a vulnerable adult’s property with the intent to permanently deprive them of their ownership interest.
Unlike in some other states, how a theft is carried out is largely irrelevant when it comes to the corresponding punishment. Instead, Arizona bases the seriousness of a theft crime on the value of the items allegedly stolen.What Are the Punishments for Felony Theft in Arizona?
In Arizona, most theft offenses are graded as felonies. However, state law also makes room for misdemeanor theft offenses, provided the value of the items was less than $1,000. If the prosecution claims that the value of goods was more than $1,000, however, you will face felony theft charges.
Felony theft offenses are further classified into classes, again, depending on the value of the items. Below is a breakdown of the different gradations of theft:
- $1,000 to $1,999 – Class 6 felony punishable by 6 to 18 months in prison.
- $2,000 to $2,999 – Class 5 felony punishable by 9 months to 2 years in prison.
- $3,000 to $3,999 – Class 4 felony punishable by 18 months to 3 years in prison.
- $4,000 to $24,999 – Class 3 felony punishable by 2.5 to 7 years in prison.
- More than $35,000 – Class 2 felony punishable by 4 to 10 years in prison.
Additionally, there are certain situations where the value of the items allegedly stolen is irrelevant. For example, theft of a firearm is at least a Class 6 felony, even if the firearm is valued at less than $1,000. However, if the firearm’s value exceeds $1,999, in which case it is graded based on the value of the firearm.
If you were recently arrested and charged with felony theft, it is imperative that you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side. Prosecutors often claim the value of stolen goods far exceeds their actual value, resulting in hyped-up charges that don’t reflect what was actually taken. There are also many defenses to theft crimes, which may result in an acquittal of the government withdrawing the case against you. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we have more than 20 years of experience helping clients beat theft charges. We understand what it takes to beat even the toughest cases, ensuring our clients’ arrests have as little impact on their future as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Novak today, call 480-413-1499.