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Shoplifting charges and Diversion Program eligibility

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Theft offenses such as shoplifting may result in a misdemeanor or felony charge based on the value of items allegedly taken from a retail store. The Legislature of the State of Arizona notes that misdemeanor shoplifting involves taking property worth no more than $1,000.

A prosecutor may allege a defendant switched labels on luxury goods or changed their sales tags to pay a lower price. If officials claim that an individual altered a label to pay less, a prosecutor may file charges that reflect the item’s actual price.

Actions that may lead to a felony shoplifting charge

Under Arizona’s statutes, a second misdemeanor shoplifting offense within two years may lead to a class 6 felony charge. Unlike a first-time offense, a conviction of a second theft charge may result in penalties that include spending at least one year in jail.

Officials may file class 6 felony charges for first-time offenses by alleging the unlawful taking of property valued between $1,000 and $2,000. If officials claim that an individual took a firearm, however, shoplifting may classify as a class 6 felony offense regardless of how much it cost. Removing animals from their homes for fighting purposes may also lead to felony charges.

Diversion Program eligibility and possible case dismissal

According to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office website, some offenders may be eligible for a Diversion Program. As noted on Phoenix.gov, completing a Diversion Program may result in a case dismissal. Judges could consider a charged individual’s personal issues. Substance abuse or mental health issues may, for example, have influenced the alleged actions.

Whether facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, alleged offenders may assert a defense to challenge a prosecutor’s claims. In some cases, an alternative program could lead to an outcome that does not include incarceration.