What are Shoplifting Laws in Arizona?
When a person enters a commercial retail establishment and tries to steal an item by concealing the same under his clothes or in his bag or by some other means with the intention of cheating the store owner, it is considered as shoplifting. It is a kind of theft committed in a retail store where goods are displayed to be sold; the store can be a clothing boutique, a resale shop or a grocery mart. If the person willingly hides an item or items within a package, alters the price tags, changes the containers or does something to mislead the merchant, he can be charged with shoplifting.
Shoplifting is a serious crime and in Arizona, it might get more serious than anybody can imagine. While minor cases are considered as misdemeanors, serious ones are classified as felony; if the shoplifted item is a firearm, the charges might get more serious. The severity of the penalty depends upon the value of the stolen merchandise.
Shoplifting charges in Arizona also include:
- Taking displayed merchandise and leaving the store without paying
- Removing items from the merchant’s storeroom and not paying for them
- Charging goods to someone else’s account without his/her permission
- Involve in any activity in order to obtain items for less than their actual price
What if the shoplifter is a minor?
If the shoplifter is a minor, the merchant has all the right to detain his legal guardian in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable time in order to question or summon the law enforcement agency. He can also sue the parents or guardians in a civil court to recover the retail value of the stolen goods along with his court and lawyer costs.
Shoplifting in Arizona can be seriously dangerous since the state penalizes the offender with both the criminal and civil charges ($250+damages, $100+damages in case of a minor).
Shoplifting in Arizona: Penalties
Shoplifting can sometimes happen unknowingly; the shopper might just get distracted on to something and forget to pay for the items he has purchased. However, if the merchant has sufficient evidence to believe that the act was committed intentionally to cheat him, he can take the legal measures that are drafted to protect the interests of the merchants.
- If the value of the goods accounts for less than $1000, it is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of up to 6 months jail term along with $2500 in fine. A 3-year probation period can also be included in the sentence.
- If the value of the stolen goods is over $1000 but less than $2000, or if the item is a firearm whose value is less than $1000, it is regarded as a class 6 felony that carries a prison term of 6-18 months with a fine of up to $150000. A 3-year probation period may also be ordered.
- If the value of the goods stolen accounts to $2000 or over, or if the goods are obtained over 3 events during a 3-month period and values at $1500 or more, or if the offender assisted a gang, the offense is classified as a class 5 felony that carries a prison sentence of up to 9-24 months with a maximum fine of up to $150000 and a 3-year probation period.
- If the person involved in shoplifting uses a purse, backpack or any other device or instrument to facilitate the act, or if the person has 2 prior theft offenses over the past 5 years, it is regarded as a class 4 felony that carries a prison sentence of 18-36 months, a 3-year probation period and a fine of up to $150000.
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