There are times when it may seem all too easy to sneak a valuable item out of a large retail store, perhaps as a single one-off act. The reality is that committing retail theft is a serious crime with consequences that will surely catch up with you.
If you stand accused of shoplifting, you have the right to build a strong defense against the charge. Protecting yourself starts by understanding the consequences that come with the various levels of shoplifting offenses.
Is shoplifting a felony?
The Arizona legal statutes regarding shoplifting define a theft valuing less than $1,000 as a misdemeanor. Shoplifting goods exceeding $1,000 in value is a felony. Stealing property valued at less than $2,000 is a class 6 felony, while any amount above $2,000 constitutes a class 5 felony. The severity of a crime might change, however, if the theft involves firearms or organized criminal activity.
Will you go to prison for shoplifting?
Committing a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona entails up to 6 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. A first-time class 6 felony offense may come with a maximum of 2 years in jail, while a class 5 felony can imply up to 2.5 years in jail. Felony offenses may also imply hefty fines, which vary based on the value of goods stolen and other factors.
Shoplifting may be a relatively minor crime that is often punishable as a misdemeanor, but the consequences can still affect you greatly. Keep in mind that repeat offenses may come with much steeper penalties as well.