Tempe Lawyer for Theft Crimes Charges

You could be charged with theft if you take or convert somebody else's property without her agreement, intending to keep her from the property. Theft can occur through misrepresentation, but it can also involve stealing goods or services. You could face theft charges if you take control of the lost property without making reasonable efforts to let the owner know. Larceny and theft involve the intentional taking of property. However, the circumstances will determine the specific type of theft charged in Arizona and the potential penalties upon conviction. If you were charged with theft in Tempe, you should talk to James E. Novak, an experienced criminal defense attorney with great instincts who develops robust strategies to defend his clients. He previously worked as a prosecutor and understands how the government approaches these cases. 


Arizona criminalizes theft in several statutes. Theft may involve extortion, theft of trade secrets, and shoplifting. Under Arizona Revised Statute section 13-1802, theft could be charged when it can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that you: 

  • Obtained property or services by making a material misrepresentation while intending to deprive another of the property or services
  • Controlled someone else's property with the intent to deprive them of the property
  • Controlled property knowing with reason to know that it is stolen property
  • Seized control of lost, mislaid, or improperly delivered property of someone else under circumstances that would allow for inquiry about the true owner and misappropriated the property without taking reasonable steps to notify the true owner
  • Controlled another's property knowing or having reason to know it was stolen
  • Got services known to be only available for compensation without paying or rerouted someone else's services without authorization
  • Controlled nonferrous or ferrous metal of another intending to deprive that person of metal
  • Purchased ferrous metal or nonferrous metal of another, knowing the metal was stolen. 

Theft may involve property or services. Property can include intellectual property, such as trade secrets. The fair market value of what was stolen at the time of the theft will affect the charge.  Under Arizona law, you could also be charged with theft if the prosecutor can show beyond a reasonable doubt, you:

  1. Knowingly.
  2. Took title, control, management, or use of a vulnerable person's property.
  3. While acting in a posture of confidence or trust.
  4. Intending to deprive the vulnerable adult of the property.

The jury may infer you intended to deprive a vulnerable adult of property if you took control of the property without paying adequate consideration.

The value of the property will determine the class of felony that's charged. The most serious nonviolent thefts are those of property worth at least $25,000; this crime can be charged as a class 2 felony. If the property at issue is worth $4000 - $25,000, you could be charged with a class 3 felony. You could be charged with a class 4 felony if the goods or services carry a value of $3000 - $4000. A class 5 felony may be charged if the goods are worth $2000-$3000. A class 6 felony involves theft of goods or services worth $1000 - $2000. You could be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor if the property or services were worth less than $1000. 


You shouldn't assume your conviction is assured. There are various defenses our lawyer may be able to raise. We may be able to raise a reasonable doubt about whether you intended to deprive the owner of the property. Circumstances may exist that show you weren't aware of taking another's property or that you didn't intend to deprive the owner of the property. In some cases, it may be appropriate to prove the property's fair market value was less than what the prosecutor claimed to secure a plea deal for a lesser class of felony.  

We may raise certain affirmative defenses when theft is charged in connection with a vulnerable adult. For instance, if you were charged with stealing from a vulnerable adult, we may be able to show the property was provided as a gift as part of a pattern of gift-giving that existed before the adult became vulnerable. 

Retain a Seasoned Lawyer for Theft Crimes Defense in Arizona

If you're charged with theft in Tempe, you should discuss your situation with our seasoned Tempe criminal defense attorney James E. Novak. He represents those accused of theft in Phoenix and Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.