Phoenix-Mesa-Gilbert Criminal Defense Theft Crimes
According to a report from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, larceny theft constitutes more than 62 percent of all of the crimes committed in the state. Though it is a common crime, it is also one that Arizona—including police and prosecutors in the Phoenix-Mesa-Gilbert area—takes seriously. If convicted of a theft crime, you face fines, jail time, or both, and the destruction to your reputation can last for years. If you are charged with theft in the Phoenix-Mesa-Gilbert area, have an experienced attorney represent you.
What Is Theft?
As described in state law, theft, sometimes referred to as larceny theft, is when a person knowingly controls the property of another, with the intent to deprive the other person of the property. If property or services were entrusted to you for limited use and you gave unauthorized use of that property to someone else, Arizona law also considers that theft. In addition, taking control of the property of a vulnerable adult, while in a position of trust and with the intent to deprive the vulnerable adult of that property, constitutes theft.
When someone is charged with a crime, it is classified either as a felony or a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are considered the less serious of the charges. Misdemeanors are listed as Class 1, 2, or 3, with Class 1 misdemeanors the most serious. Theft of property valued at less than $1,000 is considered a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona, and is punishable by a maximum of six months in jail. The court can also impose fines upon a misdemeanor conviction, depending on the facts of the case.
Misdemeanor Diversion Programs
The court may sometimes offer diversion programs to eligible defendants as an alternative to criminal convictions. These programs educate and rehabilitate people and prevent them from reoffending. Courts will dismiss the cases of defendants who complete these programs.
The court will give an eligible defendant, once charged, the opportunity to enter a plea agreement that requires participation in a diversion program, among other conditions. The court will sentence a defendant who fails to complete the program to the punishment set forth in the plea agreement.
The court will inform your attorney if you are eligible for a diversion program, either at your arraignment or at the pre-trial disposition conference.
Felony crimes are more serious than misdemeanors. Arizona also lists them in numbered classes, with 1 the most serious. The only Class 1 felonies in Arizona are first- and second-degree murder.
The greater the value of the property involved in your theft charge, the more serious the potential consequences. The classes of theft felonies and consequences are:
- Class 2: $25,000 or more in fines, plus a maximum of five years in prison
- Class 3: $4,000- $25,000 in fines, plus a maximum of 3.5 years in prison
- Class 4: $3,000- $4,000 in fines, plus a maximum of 2.5 years in prison
- Class 5: $2,000- $3000 in fines, plus a maximum of 1.5 years in prison
- Class 6: $1,000- $2,000 in fines, plus a maximum of 1 year in prison
When property valued at less than $1,000 is taken off of the person of another, is a firearm, or is an animal stolen for the purpose of animal fighting, a Class 6 felony may result.
Theft of a motor vehicle, regardless of the value, is a Class 4 felony.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Although the court will permit you to represent yourself, it is generally not a good idea—particularly if you are facing criminal charges. Criminal law and procedures are complex. Average citizens generally do not understand the process and cannot protect themselves adequately from the consequences they face.
An experienced criminal defense attorney help with your case in many ways. Not all of the items listed below pertain to every case, but when appropriate, a criminal defense attorney may:
- Protect your rights
- Ensure that you do not say anything incriminating while police or prosecutors question you
- Help to convince the court or prosecutor to drop charges if sufficient evidence that you committed a crime does not exist, or if law enforcement used an improper procedure during the investigation.
- Negotiate a sentencing program for you, such as the diversion program
- Attempt to persuade the court to reduce or waive your bail
- Negotiate a plea agreement to increase your chances of a reduced punishment
- Analyze your case and work with you to develop a defense strategy
- Gather information from prosecution witnesses and even hire investigators if needed
- Advise you of the benefits and consequences of pleading guilty
- Help alleviate the anxiety of criminal charges and provide you with compassion, support, and guidance
- Navigate the aspects of a criminal trial, including jury selection, questioning witnesses, and arguing on your behalf
- If you are convicted, a criminal defense attorney may also assist you with the appeals process
Your Next Step
If you are charged with a theft crime or investigated for one, find an attorney to represent you. At McPhie Law, we have handled more than 1,000 cases, many of which had positive results. Our founder is a former prosecutor and offers those trial skills for his clients’ advantage.
We believe that information is powerful—we won’t push you to accept a plea agreement or convince you to go to trial. We will, however, make sure that you have all of the information you need to make that decision. And if your case goes to trial, we will stand by your side, ready to fight.
If you are concerned about how you’re going to afford a lawyer, we have payment plans available. Don’t leave your freedom, your future, and your reputation to chance. Contact McPhie Law online or call us today at (480) 400-5555, for a free consultation.