Shoplifting Laws in Arizona
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Shoplifting Laws

13-1801.  Definitions

  1. In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
    1. "Check" means any check, draft or other negotiable or nonnegotiable instrument of any kind.
    2. "Control" or "exercise control" means to act so as to exclude others from using their property except on the defendant's own terms.
    3. "Credit" means an express agreement with the drawee for the payment of a check.
    4. "Deprive" means to withhold the property interest of another either permanently or for so long a time period that a substantial portion of its economic value or usefulness or enjoyment is lost, to withhold with the intent to restore it only upon payment of any reward or other compensation or to transfer or dispose of it so that it is unlikely to be recovered.
    5. "Draw" means making, drawing, uttering, preparing, writing or delivering a check.
    6. "Funds" means money or credit.
    7. "Issue" means to deliver or cause to be delivered a check to a person who thereby acquires a right against the drawer with respect to the check. A person who draws a check with the intent that it be so delivered is deemed to have issued it if the delivery occurs.
    8. "Material misrepresentation" means a pretense, promise, representation or statement of present, past or future fact that is fraudulent and that, when used or communicated, is instrumental in causing the wrongful control or transfer of property or services. The pretense may be verbal or it may be a physical act.
    9. "Means of transportation" means any vehicle.
    10. "Obtain" means to bring about or to receive the transfer of any interest in property, whether to a defendant or to another, or to secure the performance of a service or the possession of a trade secret.
    11. "Pass" means, for a payee, holder or bearer of a check that previously has been or purports to have been drawn and issued by another, to deliver a check, for a purpose other than collection, to a third person who by delivery acquires a right with respect to the check.
    12. "Property" means any thing of value, tangible or intangible, including trade secrets.
    13. "Property of another" means property in which any person other than the defendant has an interest on which the defendant is not privileged to infringe, including property in which the defendant also has an interest, notwithstanding the fact that the other person might be precluded from civil recovery because the property was used in an unlawful transaction or was subject to forfeiture as contraband.  Property in possession of the defendant is not deemed property of another person who has only a security interest in the property, even if legal title is in the creditor pursuant to a security agreement.
    14. "Services" includes labor, professional services, transportation, cable television, computer or communication services, gas or electricity services, accommodation in hotels, restaurants or leased premises or elsewhere, admission to exhibitions and use of vehicles or other movable property.
    15. "Value" means the fair market value of the property or services at the time of the theft. Written instruments that do not have a readily ascertained market value have as their value either the face amount of indebtedness less the portion satisfied or the amount of economic loss involved in deprivation of the instrument, whichever is greater. When property has an undeterminable value the trier of fact shall determine its value and, in reaching its decision, may consider all relevant evidence, including evidence of the property's value to its owner.
  2. In determining the classification of the offense, the state may aggregate in the indictment or information amounts taken in thefts committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether the amounts were taken from one or several persons.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 as prescribed in subsection A of this section for questioning or summoning a law enforcement officer.
  4. Reasonable cause is a defense to a civil or criminal action against a peace officer, a merchant or an agent or employee of the merchant for false arrest, false or unlawful imprisonment or wrongful detention.
  5. If a minor engages in conduct that violates subsection A of this section, notwithstanding the fact that the minor may not be held responsible because of the person's minority, any merchant who is injured by the shoplifting of the minor may bring a civil action against the parent or legal guardian of the minor under either section 12-661 or 12-692.
  6. Any merchant who is injured by the shoplifting of an adult or emancipated minor in violation of subsection A of this section may bring a civil action against the adult or emancipated minor pursuant to section 12-691.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 with the intent to resell the merchandise.
  9. A person 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 or theft is guilty of a class 4 felony.

Disclaimer: These are the statutes as they read on October 30, 2008 on the Arizona State Legislature's website. Each year the Arizona State Legislature changes some of the criminal laws. Generally (but not always), the criminal law (statute) that is in place on the date of offense is the law that applies to the case. To find the most current version of the statute go to the Arizona State Legislature's website (

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Laws in Arizona Shoplifting