Being wrongfully accused of a crime can be a confusing and frightening experience. You may not know your rights or how to defend them. If a business has wrongfully accused you or a loved one of shoplifting in Arizona, you may need professional assistance from a lawyer to clear your name and avoid facing legal consequences you do not deserve. Hiring a Glendale criminal defense attorney from the beginning can help your case and give you peace of mind.
Definition of Shoplifting
In Arizona, the definition of shoplifting under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1805 is knowingly taking goods from an establishment with merchandise for sale with the intent to deprive the shop of said goods. Someone commits shoplifting by taking items from a shop or store without paying for them while posing as a customer. Shoplifting occurs when the store is open, not as part of a burglary, which happens after hours.
- Removing goods from a merchandise display without paying the purchase price.
- Charging the purchase price of the merchandise to someone who does not exist or a real person without his or her authority.
- Paying less than the purchase price of the merchandise through fraud, deceit or altering the price tag.
- Transferring the goods into a different container or vessel.
- Concealing the goods.
To commit the crime of shoplifting, the individual must have a culpable mental state: to knowingly conceal unpurchased merchandise on him/herself or another person or to use an instrument, container or device to commit shoplifting. A merchant or employee has the legal right to detain someone accused of shoplifting for a reasonable time. If what you did or did not do does not meet Arizona’s definition of shoplifting, you might have been wrongfully accused of this crime.
Shoplifting Laws in Arizona
Shoplifting is a common crime in Arizona that can come with serious criminal implications. It can be a felony charge in some situations. Shoplifting items less than $1,000 in value is a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona unless the item is a firearm, in which case the crime is a class 6 felony regardless of value. The penalties for this level of crime can include community service hours, a fine of up to $2,500 and up to 60 days in jail.
A felony shoplifting crime is the stealing of an item worth more than $1,000. The degree of the felony will depend on the value of the item. Punishments can include months to years in jail. Juveniles will face punishments that focus more on rehabilitation than punishment. If someone has wrongfully accused you or your child of shoplifting, take the accusation seriously. You could be in significant legal trouble if your lawyer cannot prove your innocence.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Shoplifting Case
Someone might wrongfully accuse you of shoplifting in a few different ways. A store owner or employee might believe you stole something you came into the store with, accuse you of shoplifting when you do not have any of the shop’s merchandise on you, accuse your child of shoplifting when out with friends or accuse you of stealing something you just purchased. Regardless of the circumstances leading up to the false accusation, you may need help from an attorney to resolve the issue.
A lawyer can get to the bottom of how and why someone has wrongfully accused you of shoplifting. An attorney can argue the charges using defense strategies such as insufficient evidence, lack of intent, incorrect defendant or witness testimony. A lawyer can improve your odds of convincing the courts to drop the charges against you while giving you peace of mind about your case. Contact a lawyer to handle your case, including court appearances, while you focus on the future.