Bentonville Theft Lawyer
Competitive Trial Representation in Rogers, AR; Fayetteville, AR; Springdale, AR
Bertucci Law Firm has represented clients in Bentonville, Rogers, and the surrounding Arkansas area for years. Attorney Ramon Bertucci has handled thousands of criminal cases throughout his professional career, and he will handle your case from start to finish. Whether you are facing misdemeanor theft accusations or more serious felony theft accusations, Bertucci Law Firm can litigate your case and defend you in court.
What Constitutes Theft of Property in Arkansas?
Under Arkansas law, a person commits theft when they:
- take another person’s property with the intent of depriving the owner of the property;
- exercise unauthorized control over another person’s property;
- obtain or divert another’s services without authorization or payment;
- make an unauthorized transfer of a property interest; or
- take another person’s property or services by deception or threat.
State laws also identify a number of specific types of theft offenses, including theft of lost or mislaid property, trade secrets, motor fuel, and recyclable and scrap materials.
Arkansas classifies theft offenses as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the dollar value of the property or services taken and/or the type of property stolen. Class A misdemeanor theft, the lowest level of theft offense also sometimes referred to as petty theft, occurs if:
- the value of the property or services stolen is $1,000 or less;
- the property has no market or replacement value but has value to the owner; or
- the property is a decorative or memorial item from a cemetery.
Class A misdemeanor theft is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
Felony theft ranges from Class D to Class B and involves a higher monetary value of goods. Stolen property or services worth between $1,000 and $5,000 is classified as a Class D felony, and theft of the following are also Class D felonies:
- a credit or debit card or number;
- a firearm valued at less than $2,500;
- property valued between $100 and $500 and stolen during a state of emergency (see below);
- a decorative or memorial item from a cemetery and a repeat offense;
- livestock worth more than $200;
- a utility line or farm-related utility system; or
- oil or gas equipment valued at less than $1,000 and involving incidental damages or taking across state lines.
Class D felony theft is punishable by up to 6 years’ imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.
The theft of property or services valued between $5,000 and $25,000 is a Class C felony that carries 3-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, theft of the following also constitutes Class C felony theft in Arkansas:
- a firearm valued at $2,500 or more;
- building material valued at $500 or more;
- property worth more than $500 and stolen during a state of emergency;
- property obtained by threat; or
- oil or gas equipment valued between $1,000 and $5,000 and involving incidental damages or taking across state lines.
When a theft involves property or services valued at $25,000 or more, the offense rises to a Class B felony that carries a heavy sentence of 5-20 years of incarceration and up to $15,000 in fines. A theft is also classified as a Class B felony if it involves:
- threat of serious bodily injury or destruction of another’s home;
- threat to a person with whom the offender has a fiduciary or confidential relationship;
- property containing anhydrous ammonia in any form;
- public utility property valued at $500 or more; or
- oil and gas equipment valued at more than $5,000.
In Arkansas, a person who steals merchandise from a store or business establishment faces both criminal and civil penalties, where the criminal penalties will be the sentencing described above for misdemeanor or felony classes of theft, and civil penalties will include requiring the defendant to return the stolen property to the shop owner or its cash equivalent and a $200 penalty. Failure to do so within 30 days can lead to a civil action from the store owner, which can order the alleged shoplifter, or their parents if they are a minor, to pay:
- damages in the amount of the retail value of the merchandise (if not returned) or the loss of retail value for returned items;
- a civil penalty of up to $1,000 (for adult offenders); and
- court costs and attorneys’ fees.
In addition to the penalties discussed above, Arkansas theft law may also order sentencing increases based on the circumstances of the crime and the offender’s criminal history. For instance, a judge may consider a defendant’s prior convictions and impose increased sentencing if appropriate.
Enhanced and mandatory penalties apply for theft that occurs during a state of emergency, more specifically within 30 days of the state of emergency being declared. The theft of any equipment used to transmit electric power or telephone services or the theft of generators intended for use by hospitals, airports, public utilities, public safety agencies, and any other vital facility will warrant enhanced punishment. More specifically, the law will increase the standard Class A misdemeanor to Class D felony and require a defendant to pay $5,000-$50,000 in fines.
Seek an Experienced Theft Attorney Today
If you are facing accusations of theft, contact an attorney immediately for legal counsel. Depending on whether you’ve been charged with misdemeanor level theft or felony level theft, you could face significant jail time and fines, as well as other civil penalties if it was a shoplifting offense. Bertucci Law Firm can take a look at your circumstances and help you plan your litigation strategy to combat a harsh theft charge in Bentonville, AR.
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