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Shoplifting – A Jury Eligible Offense

Saturday / February 22, 2014

Most people have a pretty good idea of what constitutes shoplifting – you go into a store and take items without paying for them.  Pretty simple, right?  Besides simply taking items, there are a few other ways that an individual can commit the crime of shoplifting.  According to the shoplifting statute, the crime can be committed by charging the purchase price of the goods to a fictitious person or any person without that person’s authority; or 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 transferring the goods from one container to another; or concealment.  A.R.S. §13-1805.


In most circumstances, shoplifting is a class one misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six months in jail, a $2,500 fine, and three years of probation.  It is also one of the few misdemeanors that allow for a jury trial as opposed to a bench trial.


Routinely in shoplifting cases, an individual is detained by the store’s lost prevention officer.  It is important to note that lost prevention officers are not law enforcement.  They are employees of the store are do not necessarily have to follow the same rules as law enforcement.  Routinely the lost prevention officer will detain the individual through whatever force is necessary to prevent them from leaving the store, and interrogate them until police arrive.  Any statements made either to law enforcement or the lost prevention officer can later be used against the individual in court.


If you ever find yourself in the situation where you are being charged with shoplifting, do not speak to the lost prevention officer or police.  You have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination so they cannot force you to say anything on your own behalf.  Second, ask to speak with an attorney immediately.  This will help prevent officers from continuing to try to question you.  If you or someone you know has been charged with the crime of shoplifting, immediately seek an attorney’s help to ensure the accused’s rights are protected.  To schedule a no obligation consultation with my office, visit my website at or by calling me at 480-331-7568.

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