Property crimes are a broad category of criminal charges. Generally, property crimes involve the theft or destruction of property. Property crimes in Arizona include offenses ranging from simple misdemeanor infractions to felony charges. The alleged offense, the value of property in question, aggravating factors and more can impact the severity of the charges and the potential penalties for conviction. If you’re facing property crimes charges in Arizona, you could be facing severe criminal consequences.
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Property Crimes Overview:
Generally, theft charges in Arizona are prosecuted according to value. As the alleged value of the theft increases, the potential penalties for conviction increase as well.
Shoplifting ARS §13-1805. Shoplifting charges and their severity are largely dependent on the dollar amount in question. Misdemeanor shoplifting charges typically involve shoplifting items valued under $1000. Felony charges are generally filed for amounts exceeding $1000, using a container or artifice to facilitate the shoplifting, shoplifting a weapon, or a third conviction in 5 years. Shoplifting may include the theft or attempted theft of an item including through repackaging, item concealment, or switching price tags. While non-violent and potentially unintentional, shoplifting charges still carry serious penalties. Misdemeanor convictions carry up to six months in jail with increased penalties for felony convictions.
Theft ARS §13-1802. Many offenses can lead to theft charges in Arizona. Theft charges may result from accusations of:
- Receiving stolen goods
- Trafficking stolen goods
- Forging financial documents
- Inaccurately completing financial documents
- Removing an item from someone’s property
- Misallocating employer’s funds
- Mismanaging investments
In most cases, the penalties for theft charges increase as the value of theft increases with up to 12.5 years in prison for some thefts. Theft charges and penalties can be complicated by aggravating factors and sentences can be higher for those with existing records.
Robberies are theft charges prosecuted as felony cases. Robbery charges typically fall into one of three categories:
Robbery ARS §13-1902. Robbery is taking another person’s property, by force or the threat of force, while in their presence. This could be from their person or from their surroundings. Robberies are prosecuted as class 4 felonies with corresponding penalties.
Aggravated robbery ARS §13-1903. Those accused of committing a robbery with the aid of one or more individuals present may face charges of aggravated robbery, a class 3 felony charge.
Armed robbery ARS §13-1904. Adding a weapon or simulated weapon to any crime increases its severity. Those facing armed robbery charges can face up to 12.5 years in prison with enhancements for prior convictions.
Burglary charges are complicated. In many cases, burglary charges rely on proving the offender’s intent through circumstantial evidence. Your defense may be critical in avoiding lengthy prison time. In Arizona, those accused of burglary could be facing charges for:
3rd-degree burglary ARS §13-1506. People caught within non-residential structures with the intent to commit a felony may face 3rd-degree burglary charges. This includes vehicles, industrial lots, commercial structures, residential yards, and more.
2nd-degree burglary ARS §13-1507. Anyone suspected to have unlawfully entered a residential structure with the intent to commit a felony or any theft may be charged with a class 3 felony – even if the structure is unoccupied.
1st-degree burglary ARS §13-1508. 1st-degree burglary charges can result from committing a third- or second-degree burglary while in possession of a weapon or dangerous instrument.
Possession of burglary tools ARS §13-1505. Many burglaries are carried out with the aid of tools, both advanced and simple. Anyone suspected to possess the necessary tools for committing a burglary (even if no burglary has been committed) may be arrested for possession of burglary tools.
Auto Theft (ARS §13-1814)
Auto theft in Arizona is called Theft of Means of Transportation. Cars, trucks, and other automobiles are valuable. An accusation of stealing one can carry heavy penalties. In Arizona, people may face auto theft charges for:
- Failing to return a rental vehicle on time
- Using a ‘work’ or borrowed vehicle outside its intended purpose
- Joyriding in a stolen car
- Illegally obtaining a car with the intent to keep, sell, or scrap the vehicle
- Driving a car knowing or having reason to know the car was stolen
The prosecutor does not need to prove you stole the car, or even that you knew it was stolen, to convict you of a class 3 felony. These cases are extremely easy for the prosecutors to win. But Elizabeth Mullins routinely obtains not guilty verdicts for her clients.
Vandalism/Criminal Damage (ARS §13-1602; ARS §13-1604)
Defacing, damaging, and/or tampering with any public or private property may lead to vandalism charges. Vandalism and property damage can be charged as both misdemeanors and felony charges depending on the value, the intent of the offender, and more. As the value increases, the penalties for conviction generally increase as well. The context of the damage will also affect the case. Those found guilty of vandalism or criminal damage with the intent to commit a hate crime will face severe penalties and potential federal criminal charges.
Criminal Trespass (ARS §13-1502; ARS §13-1503; ARS §13-1504)
Trespassing crimes are incredibly broad. Anyone caught in a place they are not permitted to be, or who remain in a location after being asked to leave, may face trespassing charges. Trespassing charges can result from gaining lawful access to a publicly-owned, commercial, or residential property.
Arson (ARS §13-1702; ARS §13-1703; ARS §13-1704; ARS §13-1705; ARS §13-1706)
Arson charges are serious criminal charges. In some cases, arson places people’s lives at risk increasing the severity of charges. In arson cases, the intent is an important detail in determining the charges and potential penalties for conviction. Those determined to have committed arson without intent may face reduced charges while those convicted of setting fires deliberately will face harsh sentencing. Arson investigations are nuanced and complicated. It’s important you hire an attorney experienced in successfully defending arson charges as soon as possible.
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