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Hire shoplifting criminal defense attorney William Morris in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, and East Valley Arizona

Shoplifting in Arizona: Understanding Shoplifting Charges & What Qualifies as a Shoplifting Offense

A person commits shoplifting if, while in an establishment in which merchandise is displayed for sale, the person knowingly obtains such goods of another with the intent to deprive that person of such goods by:

  1. Removing any of the goods from the immediate display or from any other place within the 
  2. establishment without paying the purchase price; or
  3. Charging the purchase price of the goods to a fictitious person or any person without that person’s authority; or
  4. Paying less than the purchase price of the goods by some trick or artifice such as altering, removing, substituting or otherwise disfiguring any label, price tag or marking; or
  5. Transferring the goods from one container to another; or
  6. Concealment.

A person is presumed to have the necessary culpable mental state pursuant to subsection A of this section if the person does either of the following:

  1. Knowingly conceals on himself or another person unpurchased merchandise of any mercantile establishment while within the mercantile establishment.
  2. Uses an artifice, instrument, container, device or other article to facilitate the shoplifting.

As one can see from the language used in the Arizona Shoplifting statute one can be charged with shoplifting regardless of whether or not you ever even made it out of the store with the item, or items! It all boils down to one’s mental state, that you knowingly obtained such goods of another with the intent to deprive that person of such goods.

View the Shoplifting in Arizona is governed by A.R.S. 13-1805

Is Shoplifting A Felony In Arizona?

Shoplifting of an item (or items collectively) with a value of less than $1,000 is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $2,500. Unless the item involved a firearm, regardless of its value, is a Class 6 Felony, with punishments ranging from probation (for people without any prior felony criminal history) to 4 months to 2 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections and fines up to $150,000.

Shoplifting of an item (or items collectively) valued at more than $1,000 but less than $2,000 is a class 6 felony, with punishments ranging from probation (for people without any prior felony criminal history) to 4 months to 2 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections with a presumptive term of 1 year and fines up to $150,000.

Arizona Shoplifting law further states that: A person who in the course of shoplifting uses an artifice, instrument, container, device or other article with the intent to facilitate shoplifting or who commits shoplifting and who has previously committed or been convicted within the past five years of two or more offenses involving burglary, shoplifting, robbery, organized retail theft or theft is guilty of a class 4 felony with punishments ranging from probation (for people without any prior felony criminal history) to a minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 3.75 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections (prison, not jail) with a presumptive term of 2.5 years and fines up to $150,000.

Arizona Shoplifting law further provides that a merchant, or a merchant’s agent or employee, with reasonable cause, may detain on the premises in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable time any person who is suspected of shoplifting for questioning or summoning a law enforcement officer.

In addition to possible criminal prosecution, retailers (or its attorney) who have alleged to be the victim of shoplifting can (and often will) send a person accused of shoplifting a civil demand for payment of an amount demanding that you pay the amount demanded by the retailer or face civil and/or criminal penalties if the demand is not paid. This often applies even if the store retained the item, or items, and are not out any monies or damages whatsoever! Your payment of such demand will not immunize you from criminal prosecution! In fact, payment of the demand may be construed by the prosecuting authority as an admission of guilt by you. If you have received such a demand from a retailer (or its attorney), it is imperative that you first contact and consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney seasoned in defending shoplifting charges prior to making any such payment(s) to the retailer.

First-Time Shoplifting Charge Arizona

If someone faces their first shoplifting charge in Arizona, they can typically expect the following consequences & repercussions:

Classification of the Offense: 

A first-time shoplifting offense is usually classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, particularly when the stolen items are valued at less than $1,000.

Potential Penalties:

  • Jail Time: There is a maximum penalty of six months in jail for misdemeanor shoplifting charges.
  • Fines: The individual may face up to $2,500 in fines.
  • Restitution: This involves compensating the retailer for the value of the stolen items (in the event that you made it out of the retail establishment with the item).
  • Probation: The court may also impose probation, which includes specific conditions and requirements that the individual must meet.

It’s important to note that these penalties can vary based on the circumstances of the case and the value of the stolen items. For instance, if the value of the stolen items ranges between $1,000 and $2,000, the charge could escalate to a Class 6 felony, potentially leading to more severe consequences


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How To Get Shoplifting Charges Dropped

Hiring an experienced attorney like William L. Morris for a shoplifting charge in Arizona is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, an attorney understands the complexities of the law and can navigate the legal system effectively. They can assess the specifics of the case, including the evidence against you and any procedural errors that might have occurred. This expertise is invaluable in formulating a defense strategy that could lead to reduced charges or even getting the charges dropped. An attorney’s negotiation skills are also key in dealing with prosecutors and seeking alternatives to harsh penalties.

Furthermore, William L. Morris offers a free telephone consultation, providing an immediate and accessible opportunity for those accused of shoplifting to understand their legal options. In some cases, there might be possibilities to get shoplifting charges dropped, especially if it’s a first-time offense, or if there were mitigating circumstances. An attorney can also advise on dealing with demands for payment from retailers or their attorneys, ensuring that one’s rights are protected and that any actions taken are in their best legal interest. The guidance of an experienced lawyer like Morris can make a significant difference in the outcome of a shoplifting case.


William Morris Criminal, Theft, Assault, DUI, Expungement, & Business Attorney in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert Arizona.


Facing shoplifting charges in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler, or Mesa, Arizona? Don’t go it alone! Get in touch now for a free phone consultation or use our contact form to get a call back. We offer convenient financing to ensure you get top-tier representation. Make the smart choice—secure our experience and knowledge today!

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