Theft Defense Attorney In Tucson, Arizona
While the immediate consequences of a theft charge may include fines and time behind bars, you must also consider the fact that having this on your record will seriously impact your ability to get a job in the future. With as much competition as there is for jobs, employers, especially in retail establishments, are not likely to hire someone who has stolen in the past. You need an experienced Tucson criminal defense attorney who will take aggressive action to keep this crime off your record.
At the Law Office of Douglas W. Taylor, we have more than 17 years of experience providing defense against theft crimes and other criminal charges for people in Tucson and throughout Arizona. We believe in working hard to get things done. When you choose our law office, you will get hands-on representation from an experienced lawyer you can count on.
We Provide Defense Against All Theft Charges
Theft is an umbrella term that can be used to vaguely describe all charges where someone is accused of taking something that was not rightfully theirs to take, or obtaining something that required payment without making that payment. We defend against charges such as:
- Theft by Fraud (check fraud, credit card fraud)
- Theft of a Credit Card
- Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices
In Arizona, theft is defined as controlling someone else’s property with the intent to take it, using property or services for longer than permitted, material misrepresentation to obtain property (fraud), controlling stolen property, or controlling lost property without making an honest attempt to find out who it belonged to. It also covers taking a service without paying or arranging to pay for it.
The Punishments For Theft
Theft can either be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the kind of theft that took place, and the value of the thing or service involved. Some types of theft are a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is a misdemeanor of the highest degree. The rest fall between a Class 6 felony, the lowest class, and a Class 2 felony, the second to highest class.
Class 1 Misdemeanor Theft
The lowest level of theft, sometimes called petty theft, is punished as the highest level misdemeanor. This usually encompasses property theft of under $1,000 in value, and it carries a maximum of 6 months jail time and $2,500 in fines. The court can order restitution, which means that the defendant is not off the hook until the victim is repaid the value of their loss.
In certain circumstances, the value of the theft won’t matter as much as what was stolen. If someone steals a gun valued at less than $1,000, the charge is raised to a felony because of what was stolen.
As a Class 6 Felony
Class 6 felony thefts are thefts anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000 in value. The minimum prison sentence is four months, but it can be for as long as two years depending on the circumstances. Fines can also go as high as $150,000, plus surcharges.
As a Class 5 Felony
Class 5 felonies are thefts of services or goods valued anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000. This can be punished by a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 2 and a half years of incarceration. It also caps the fines at a maximum of $150,000, plus surcharges.
As a Class 4 Felony
Class 4 felonies is where things start to get very serious. The dollar amount of the theft amounts to something between $3,000 and $4,000. It includes the theft of transmissions or engines from vehicles, even if their actual worth is substantially less than $3,000. You can severe a minimum of one year to a maximum of 3 and ¾ years, with the same $150,000 max fine, plus surcharges.
If you’ve shoplifted and at any point in the past five years have had two or more theft related convictions, you’re automatically charged with a Class 4 felony under Arizona law.
As a Class 3 Felony
Class 3 felony is a much broader value range. Anything between $4,000 and $25,000 is class 3 felony theft. The minimum for prison time is two years, while the maximum is 8 and ¾ years. The fines still cap at $150,000, plus surcharges.
As a Class 2 Felony
Class 2 felony is for any theft above $25,000 in value. Prison time can be anywhere between three and 12 ½ years. The fine can still be up to $150,000, plus surcharges.
There is no Class 1 felony theft, because the Class 1 range only applies to homicides.
It’s also worth noting that you can be pursued civilly for theft. You’ll be responsible to pay back the total retail value of what was stolen, and you’ll be subject to additional penalties to cover damages the owner incurred as a result of that theft.
The fines are something completely separate. If you’re convicted of theft, what you may ultimately wind up owing could be on par with the cost of a new house. If you’re facing jail time, how are you going to be able to reasonably satisfy those fines? That’s a terrifying thought, and it’s exactly why you need dedicated, passionate lawyers like us to defend you against these charges.
The Evidence Against You May Not Be As Strong As It Seems
Police can and will intimidate people in order to get them to confess to crimes. They can say whatever they need to in order to encourage someone to incriminate themselves. The situation is designed to make you feel tense and nervous, but don’t panic. You don’t have to talk without a lawyer. You can politely decline to answer any questions regarding anything other than your identity until you’ve called us. We advise that you hold off.
Further down the road, you’ll deal with the prosecutor. It is the prosecutor’s job to make the evidence against you seem strong. That doesn’t mean it actually is strong. There may very well be flaws. Our job is to find those flaws and shine a light on them. We’ll search ruthlessly for any shred of doubt that can be found in the prosecution’s argument. We know exactly how to pick things apart.
First of all, what really is the evidence against you? Is there anything physical, or is the case against you based on witness statements? If so, how trustworthy are those witnesses? Is there video evidence? Does it clearly show you, or could it be anyone? Are you on tape at a gas station at the exact same moment the prosecution claims you were somewhere else? We’ll find and utilize any method we can to contradict the prosecution.
We will dig deep, attack the evidence and build a criminal defense strategy to protect your rights and your future. Nobody wants to live the rest of their life with the blemish of theft on their criminal record, whether that theft is a misdemeanor or a felony. It can limit their abilities to secure valuable employment and erode their reputation within the community.
We will work hard to get you through this. We understand the impact it can have on your life, and we don’t want to see you walk away scarred.
Schedule A Free Consultation With Us
If you’re facing theft related charges, call us today. You can use the contact form above or send us an email at email@example.com if you’d prefer. But we do keep our phone lines open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’ll be able to review the details of your case with a free consultation. As soon as you decide to work with us, we can prepare a strategy to help you fight your charges. The quicker you act, the more time we’ll have to create a strong defense.