If you or a loved one are facing charges of theft crimes, the Law Offices of Bryce Cook can help. We are here to help you navigate the complicated and often confusing waters of the criminal justice system. The sooner you consult our skilled criminal defense lawyers, the sooner we can start defending your rights and your freedom.
What are theft crimes in Arkansas?
Under Arkansas law, theft occurs when a person knowingly takes another person’s property without permission. In particular, theft crimes include stealing, shoplifting, identity theft, theft of public benefits, forgery, credit card fraud, and other kinds of fraud. The penalties for a conviction of a theft crime in the state include jail time, hefty fines, and a loss of reputation or employment.
Shoplifting Charges in Arkansas
The consequences for a shoplifting conviction in Arkansas include jail time and fines. The victims of shoplifting also have a right to file a lawsuit in civil court against shoplifters for monetary damages and penalties. Stores and merchants have a right to detain customers suspected of shoplifting in a reasonable manner for a reasonable period. The detainment must be to allow the store to wait for law enforcement to arrive. Under Arkansas’s criminal code, shoplifting is considered a theft crime. Arkansas categorizes theft crimes by the amount of property the defendant allegedly stole.
Theft of Property Valued at $1,000 or Less
The least severe theft crime in Arkansas is the theft of property valued at $1,000 or less. There is no minimum property amount a defendant must steal to face charges under this theft crime. For example, a young adult who steals a candy bar and chips can face charges for this particular theft crime. Defendants convicted of theft of property valued at $1,000 or less face up to a year of jail time and/or a $2,500 or less fine.
Class D Felony Theft Crimes in Arkansas
In Arkansas, Class D Felony theft crime includes:
- Theft of property valued between $1,000 and $5,000
- Theft of a firearm that is worth less than $2,500
- Theft of a property valued between $100 and $500 during a state of emergency
- Theft of livestock worth more than $200
- Theft of a farm-related utility system or utility line
A defendant can also face Class D felony charges for stealing property valued at $500 or less when a person steals property as a series of thefts on three or more occasions over three days. Under normal circumstances, stealing property valued at $500 or less would be a misdemeanor. However, when the theft of $500 or less is part of a crime spree, prosecutors will charge the defendant with a Class D felony. Defendants convicted of a Class D felony may face up to six years of jail time and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Class C Felony Theft Crimes in Arkansas
The following Arkansas theft crimes are Class C felonies in Arkansas:
- Theft of property between $5,000 and $25,000
- Theft of a firearm worth more than $5,000
- Theft of building material valued at $500 or more
- Theft of property valued at $500 or more stolen during a state of emergency
- Theft of any amount in which the defendant made threats to secure the property
Defendants convicted of Class C felonies in Arkansas serve between three and ten years of jail time and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Class B Felony Theft Crimes in Arkansas
The most severe theft crimes in Arkansas are considered Class B felonies and include theft of property valued at $25,000 or higher. Prosecutors can charge lower-level theft crimes as a Class B felony when the theft crime involves any of the following circumstances:
- A threat to a person with whom the suspect had a confidential relationship
- A threat of serious bodily injury or destruction of another person’s home
- The theft involved property containing anhydrous ammonia
- The theft involved public utility property valued at $500 or more
Defendants convicted of a Class B felony will serve between 5 and 20 years of jail time and/or pay a fine of up to $15,000.
Penalties for an Arkansas Theft Crime
A conviction for an Arkansas theft crime can have a significantly negative effect on a person’s life. Depending on the specific theft charge, a conviction for theft in Arkansas could result in the following penalties:
- Jail time
- Payment of fines
- Loss of gun rights, if convicted of a felony
- Loss of voting rights, if convicted of a felony
- A permanent criminal record
- Difficulty leasing an apartment or securing financing for a house
- Trouble finding employment in the future
Arkansas Offers Diversion Programs for First-Time Offenders
Those facing theft crimes charges should take the charges seriously. Conviction of a theft crime, even of misdemeanor theft, can result in a lifetime criminal record. Some Arkansas counties offer diversion programs for first-time offenders of low-level theft. When the defendant completes the program requirements, he or she can avoid prosecution for the theft crime. Diversion programs are not right for everyone, as they require defendants to complete community service and pay restitution.
Contact Our Experienced Jonesboro Theft Crimes Attorneys
If you’re facing theft crime charges, hiring an experienced attorney is essential. At the Law Offices of Bryce Cook, our legal team fights hard for each of our clients. When a diversion program is off the table, we attempt to get our clients’ charges dismissed. We also negotiate aggressively with prosecutors to secure plea deals in which the prosecutor lowers the charges in exchange for a defendant pleading guilty. Each case is unique, and we work with our clients to develop effective legal defense strategies. Contact our law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.