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Ask Colleen Grady Your Own Question
Colleen Grady
Colleen Grady, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 486
Experience:  Attorney and Counselor at Law
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I have a family member who is an honors student at *** with

Customer Question

I have a family member who is an honors student at *** with no record, who was caught shoplifting $350 in merchandise from a department store, involving removal of a security device. She sees a judge in the morning. I'm wondering if diversion is possible.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Arizona. She is a student at ********* ***** *******, in Flagstaff.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I haven't even talked to the family member. I found this out from an officer at the station Student is 18. I saw that her phone was at the police station and we called to inquire what was going on.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 month ago.

Hello. I will help you today. I have been an attorney for 27 years. I am reviewing your question and will be back to you shortly.

Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 month ago.

Give me a short time to complete a full answer for you.

Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 month ago.

I am concerned about the actual charge being a misdemeanor or a felony. I say this becasue the security tag was removed and we don't know how. If this was done with an instrument which was found on your family member, he or she could face a felony charge.

Shoplifting is defined by the law as follows:

13-1805. Shoplifting; detaining suspect; defense to wrongful detention; civil action by merchant; public services; classification

A. 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 establishment without paying the purchase price; or

2. Charging the purchase price of the goods to a fictitious person or any person without that person's authority; or

3. 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

4. Transferring the goods from one container to another; or

5. Concealment.

B. 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.

Here is the possible charges depending on how the shoplifting was committed:

G. In imposing sentence on a person who is convicted of violating this section, the court may require any person to perform public services designated by the court in addition to or in lieu of any fine that the court might impose.

H. Shoplifting property with a value of two thousand dollars or more, shoplifting property during any continuing criminal episode or shoplifting property if done to promote, further or assist any criminal street gang or criminal syndicate is a class 5 felony. Shoplifting property with a value of one thousand dollars or more but less than two thousand dollars is a class 6 felony. Shoplifting property valued at less than one thousand dollars is a class 1 misdemeanor, unless the property is a firearm in which case the shoplifting is a class 6 felony. For the purposes of this subsection, "continuing criminal episode" means theft of property with a value of one thousand five hundred dollars or more if committed during at least three separate incidences within a period of ninety consecutive days.

I. 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.

First time offenders are usually offered a diversion program. This means the court will put your family member on probation which may include community service, counseling, payment of fines, etc. If your family member successfully completes the program, the case could be dismissed. I do have a concern if this is charged as a felony. They may or may not offer diversion. You would have to consult with an attorney. I recommend that this person not take any plea without the counsel of an attorney in court.

Please let me know if I help you more. I will be happy to answer more questions. If you are satisfied with my help please rate me.