Juvenile Shoplifting Charges in Arizona

Every child makes mistakes. If these mistakes end in criminal charges, they can change the course of a child’s life forever. Shoplifting is one of the most common juvenile crimes. The law surrounding juvenile shoplifting in Arizona is similar to the law in many other states. Although most cases involving juveniles do not lead to criminal charges, a misdemeanor is possible. Your family could also owe thousands of dollars in restitution to the shop. Learn more about the law and the penalties your child might face with a juvenile shoplifting charge in Arizona.

Shoplifting Laws in Arizona

The crime of shoplifting under Arizona Revised Statute 13-1805 is to knowingly take or carry off someone else’s goods while in an establishment where merchandise is displayed for sale. It is shoplifting if the person does this with the intent to deprive the establishment of those goods. Shoplifting can entail many different actions or behaviors ultimately meant to deprive the establishment of the merchandise.

  • Removing goods from a display or elsewhere in the establishment without paying.
  • Charging the goods to someone who does not exist, or to someone without that person’s permission.
  • Transferring goods into a different container.
  • Concealing goods on one’s person or someone else’s person.

It is enough to prove that someone had the necessary mental state to knowingly shoplift if the individual intentionally concealed the item or used a container or device to shoplift. Under Arizona law, a merchant or employee has the right to reasonably detain a person suspected of shoplifting. Your child could get arrested for shoplifting before being released to you.

Consequences of Juvenile Shoplifting

Shoplifting under ARS 13-1805 can have serious consequences for a child. A shoplifting conviction for a juvenile may lead to community service, fines, restitution and even time in a juvenile detention center. It can also put your child’s fingerprints on record for life. If your child continues shoplifting as an adult, he or she could face much more severe penalties. These can include hefty fines, restitution, probation, mandatory community service and jail time. Arizona charges most adult shoplifting crimes as felonies.

  • Property value of less than $1,000. Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Shoplifting a firearm. Class 6 felony.
  • Property value of $1,000 to $2,000. Class 6 felony.
  • Property value of $2,000 or more. Class 5 felony.
  • Shoplifting to promote a criminal street gang. Class 5 felony.
  • Two prior shoplifting, robbery, burglary or organized retail theft convictions in the past five years. Class 4 felony.

On top of the potential penalties your child could face for juvenile shoplifting, you could also face civil liability as a parent. The law in Arizona states that if a minor is convicted of shoplifting, the minor cannot be held responsible due to his or her age. Instead, the merchant harmed by the shoplifting can bring a civil action against the child’s parents or legal guardians. If a merchant files a claim against you, you may have to pay to replace the item, plus additional restitution. Restitution could be up to $10,000 for a child’s malicious or willful misconduct under ARS 12-661.

Should I Hire an Attorney for Shoplifting Charges?

Although the criminal courts in Arizona do not treat juveniles the same as adults when it comes to shoplifting crimes, it can still be important to hire a Glendale criminal lawyer to help your family with juvenile shoplifting charges. You may need a lawyer to negotiate the charges down with the prosecutor, such as a misdemeanor charge down to an infraction that will not go on your child’s permanent record. An attorney may also be able to negotiate the amount of restitution you must pay to the merchant. A criminal lawyer’s services could save your child from consequences that would otherwise follow him or her for life.