Many people think of theft as a minor crime and, it is in some cases. Basically, the severity of the charge depends on the stolen property and the manner in which it was stolen. Arizona law describes theft as:
- The unauthorized use of property or services with the intent to unlawfully deprive the rightful owners of possessing their own property.
- Material misrepresentation.
- Improper delivery or loss of property in transit.
- The sale of the property at below market value to somebody else.
- The sale of merchandise outside the lawful course of a legitimate business.
Different Theft Penalties
Theft offenses vary in their execution and the criminal charges assigned them. Some of them are burglary, robbery, auto theft, larceny, identity theft, and embezzlement. The scope is quite broad; from petty theft to grand theft, all these receive theft charges and are punishable by law.
The different penalties are mainly based on the value of the property or service that the offender steals. A theft act may be a misdemeanor or a felony. The following is the general classification of felony charges for theft crime according to the Arizona penal code:
- Less than $1000 – Class 1 Misdemeanor
- $1,000 – $3,000 – Class 6 Felony
- $2,000 – $3,000 – Class 5 Felony
- $3,000 – $4,000 – Class 4 Felony
- $4,000 – $25,000 – Class 3 Felony
- $25,000 or more – Class 2 Felony
Take note that:
- Theft cases involving stolen goods worth less than $1,000 warrant a Class 6 Felony charge if the items were directly taken off of the victim or if they are animals taken with the intent to use them in animal fighting.
- Any theft of property amounting to over $100,000 results in the most serious punishments for theft felonies. Incarceration is a given. Other thefts, especially mere misdemeanors, may receive pardon, release, probation, or suspended sentences, but when the stolen amount is of this magnitude, the only possible leniency allowed is credit for time already served.
- Felony theft convictions result in supervised probation as well as possible imprisonment or jail time. The prison sentence is based on different factors, including the defendant’s criminal record. A prior criminal conviction will understandably influence sentencing.
White Collar Theft
When the theft occurs within a business, it is considered a white collar, no matter the position of the offender. Nonetheless, this kind of theft is typically committed by those in upper management through fraudulent practices for the purpose of gaining financially. The classification also covers extortion, forgery, money laundering, and tax evasion. False accusation is very much possible in relation to white collar crimes.
If you find yourself charged with white collar theft, a criminal lawyer on your side can help you figure out the best steps to take. Many of these cases are taken care of the outside of the courtroom to avoid a criminal trial, which is often preferable for all parties concerned.
Criminal Law Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing a theft charge, you must consult a criminal defense attorney right away. You need legal advice on resolving the case in the quickest way with the most favorable results. If you need legal representation or legal assistance, call the Law Offices of Howard A. Snader, LLC and speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your case.