Shoplifting and theft convictions can lead to a wide range of consequences. However, if you are facing these charges, there may be alternatives to help protect your future and avoid a mark on your criminal record.
Theft and shoplifting diversion programs in Mesa are designed to help reduce repeat offenses and allow people a second chance without a permanent criminal record. A diversion agreement is an agreement in which the prosecutor agrees to fully dismiss the case in exchange for the defendant completing certain requirements, usually classes, fees, community service, etc. At Grand Canyon Law Group, our skilled attorneys can help you determine if you may qualify for a diversion program and advocate for your acceptance into one.
Depending on the value of the stolen goods and whether a defendant has any previous criminal convictions, shoplifting in Arizona can range from a misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony. Under ARS § 13-1805, shoplifting occurs when a party intentionally obtains goods from a shopping facility with the intent to deprive the owner.
The most basic example of shoplifting defined under ARS § 13-1805 is simply taking an item out of a store without paying for it. However, there are other actions that could constitute shoplifting, including:
Additionally, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to commit the crime.
The penalties for shoplifting in Mesa are stated in the Arizona Revised Statutes. Sentencing varies depending on the nature of the crime, mitigating or aggravating factors, and any prior criminal offenses.
Shoplifting property worth less than $1,000 is a class 1 misdemeanor (unless the property is a firearm, in which case it is a class 6 felony). Under ARS § 13-707, a first-time class 1 misdemeanor carries a maximum prison term of six months. But even very low dollar amounts can be felony if it is one “with an artifice” like a bag or even a pocket, or if it is a repeated offense.
Shoplifting goods with a value between $1,000 and $2,000 or to assist any criminal gangs or syndicates is considered a class 5 felony. Under ARS 13-702, a class 5 felony carries a minimum sentence of 6 months (with mitigating factors) and a maximum of two and a half years under aggravating circumstances if the defendant has no historical prior felony convictions. Each historical prior felony jumps it up to a higher range of sentencing.
Mitigating circumstances may include the defendant’s age, the degree of participation by the defendant, or rare or considerable duress during the commission of the crime. It can also include information about the defendant’s childhood, drug or alcohol addiction, or positive things such as family responsibilities, prior accomplishments, community service, etc. An experienced attorney at our Mesa office can investigate the circumstances of the alleged shoplifting and present any mitigating factors to the prosecutor and court. This can also be used to convince a Mesa prosecutor to refer a defendant to a theft diversion program for stealing rather than face conviction.
A diversion program is essentially a way for offenders to prevent a felony conviction from appearing on their record if they are willing to complete treatment, pay fees, and any other requirements are put upon them to “earn” the dismissal. All of the theft diversion programs in Mesa are designed to provide an alternative to conventional prosecution by allowing eligible offenders to engage in an educational or treatment program. The goal is to cut down on repeat offenses and conserve prosecutorial resources. This education benefits the defendant, but also society as a whole in addressing the problem instead of just throwing people in jail with no help on how to fix the issue.
The curriculum will be administered in compliance with Mesa stealing diversion program guidelines. If a person completes the recovery program, the pending criminal complaint will either not be charged or dismissed with prejudice. Our dedicated lawyers know the available options for shoplifting diversion programs in the area and can help defendants pursue this alternative.
If you are facing charges of theft or shoplifting, your first priority should be to contact a knowledgeable attorney. You may be eligible for theft and shoplifting diversion programs in Mesa that could help you avoid the consequences of a permanent criminal record.