Shoplifting charges in Flagstaff and Northern Arizona should never be taken lightly, as they can result in severe penalties if you are convicted. The consequences of a conviction can also impact your personal and professional life for years to come.
It is crucial to understand that the steps you take both in the store and after your arrest can significantly influence the outcome of your case. If you find yourself in this challenging situation, the experienced Flagstaff criminal defense attorneys at Griffen & Stevens Law Firm PLLC are here to guide you through the process, explain your options, and mount an aggressive defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances.
Understanding Shoplifting Under ARS §13-1805
In Arizona, shoplifting is defined under ARS §13-1805 as the act of knowingly obtaining goods or merchandise from a store with the intent to deprive the owner of the item's full retail value. It is crucial to understand that shoplifting can take various forms, and the law addresses each of them differently based on the value of the items involved and the specific circumstances. Shoplifting can range from misdemeanor offenses to felony charges, each carrying its own penalties.
Shoplifting is a charge that encompasses a broad range of actions. Here are a few examples of scenarios that can lead to shoplifting charges:
Hiding merchandise in your clothing, bags, or other containers with the intent to leave the store without paying for it is a form of shoplifting.
You could be arrested for shoplifting if you change price tags, labels, or packaging to pay less for an item than its actual value.
Placing an expensive item inside the container of a cheaper item to pay a lower price violates Arizona's shoplifting law.
Walking Out Without Paying
Leaving the store without paying for items, whether hidden or in plain view, is a very common way that shoplifting is committed.
Paying With a Fake Account
You could also face shoplifting charges if you pay for items using a fake account or another person's account without their permission.
Depending on the value of the stolen merchandise and the case's specific circumstances, you could be arrested for a misdemeanor or felony. The police would charge you with a misdemeanor if the goods stolen are valued at less than $1,000; a Class 6 felony if the goods are valued at between $1,000 and $2,000; and a Class 5 felony if the merchandise value exceeds $2,000. You will face more severe penalties, including longer prison sentences, higher fines, and more significant long-term consequences if you are convicted of shoplifting as a felony.
Seven Steps to Take if You’re Charged With Shoplifting in Flagstaff
When you’re charged with shoplifting, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do next. However, taking immediate, informed action can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Here are the essential steps to take if you are arrested for shoplifting:
If you are confronted by store security or law enforcement, you must remain calm and cooperate. Resisting or acting aggressively can only worsen the situation and may result in additional charges.
Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent
Upon your arrest, you have the right to remain silent. The prosecutor can use anything you say against you in court, so it is wise to exercise your Miranda rights and wait until you have legal representation before providing any statements.
Retain a Flagstaff Criminal Defense Lawyer
Hire a skilled criminal defense attorney, such as the professionals at Griffen & Stevens Law Firm PLLC, immediately. A lawyer can provide the guidance you need to protect your rights and build a solid defense strategy.
Understand the Law and Penalties in Arizona
You should familiarize yourself with Arizona's law on shoplifting and the penalties you could face if convicted. This information will help you make informed decisions in your criminal case.
Your attorney will need as much information as possible to build a strong case. You can help your lawyer defend you by collecting any receipts, witness contact information, or other helpful information that may help establish your innocence or create reasonable doubt.
Stay Off Social Media
Refrain from discussing the incident on social media or with anyone other than your attorney. Offhand comments can be misconstrued and used against you.
Negotiate With the Prosecution
In some cases, your attorney may negotiate with the prosecution for a plea bargain to reduce the charges or the sentence you face if you plead guilty to shoplifting or a less serious offense.