"I understand that good people sometimes find themselves in bad situations."

Arizona’s Receiving Stolen Property Law

by Aaron M. Black • October 24, 2021

With all the online sellers using social media to find buyers in greater Phoenix it is not unheard of that some buyers do not know they are getting property that has been stolen. Legal trouble later is a big, bad surprise.

Buying a flat screen TV from the back of a pickup truck in a shopping center parking lot is problematic, and a person looking for an electric guitar online from a private party is still risky.

Stolen Property

Unknowingly buying stolen property is not an excuse. You can still be prosecuted. That is because the law wants to discourage anyone to benefit from a crime. A person who knowingly buys something that was stolen is colluding with the criminal and is equally guilty.

The seriousness of the charge, misdemeanor or felony, depends upon how much the allegedly stolen property was worth under Arizona Revised Statute §13-1802. Stolen items valued at or less than $1,000 is a misdemeanor, more than $1,000 is charged as a felony.

Both misdemeanors and felonies have levels of seriousness with a Class 1 the most serious and a Class 6 the least serious.

Value levels for felonies

If the value of the stolen property is $25,000 or more, the offense is a Class 2 felony.

Values less than $25,000 but more than $4,000 is a Class 3 felony.

Values of $3,000 but less than $4,000 is a Class 4 felony.

Values of $2,000 but less than $3,000 is a Class 5 felony.

Values of $2,000 but less than $3,000 is a Class 6 felony.

Felony punishments for receiving stolen property

Arizona’s complex sentencing guidelines range in mitigated, minimum, presumptive, maximum and aggravated. Judges have the discretion of determining the length of prison sentences.

A Class 2 felony is three years with mitigating factors, or the minimum of four years and a maximum of 10 years. An aggregated factor raises the prison sentence to 12.5 years.

A Class 3 felony carries a mitigated term of two years, or a minimum of four years, a maximum of 10 years and the aggravated range is 8.75 years.

A Class 4 felony punishment is one year for mitigated factors, or a minimum of 1.5 years and a maximum of 3.75 years. Aggravated boosts the sentence to 3.75 years.

A Class 5 felony is a mitigated term of six months, or a minimum of .75 years and a maximum of two years. An aggravated charge increases the sentence to 2.5 years.

The Class 6 felony is .33 years for mitigated, or a minimum of six months and a maximum of 1.5 years in prison.

After serving a prison sentence, the felon will be ordered by the court to a term of probation. For a Class 2 felony, the probation is for seven years; a Class 3 probation is five years. For Classes 4 and 5, the term is four years and a Class 6 probation is three years.

Life altering ramifications for felons

Beyond the incarceration, fines and probation, a convicted felon will lose the civil right to buy, own or possess a firearm; and if that is violated, it paves the path back to prison. A convicted felon also cannot vote in elections, hold public office, serve on jury duty, or enlist in the military.

Licensed professionals will have their license to practice revoked or suspended.

The felony conviction remains on the public record for 99 years. Anyone can see it, so landlords can refuse to rent a felon a place to live and employers can refuse to offer a job. In addition, a convicted felon who is on probation cannot get social security benefits or food stamps.

Punishments in a misdemeanor receiving stolen property conviction

A Class 1 misdemeanor is punished by a maximum of six months in county jail and fines and surcharges that can total $2,500.

The judge may order that the convicted misdemeanor defendant be held in custody until the sentence has been served under Arizona Revised Statute §13-707.

Do this when confronted by police

Begin your defense by refusing to convict yourself when confronted by the authorities who launch into a barrage of questions. The answers become state evidence to be used against you.

It may be uncomfortable to decline to talk to police, but you have the constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment that protects you from self-incrimination. You also have the right to a defense attorney.

At the instant of an arrest, the officer must recite to you these civil rights, called Miranda rights from an Arizona case, so it is best to politely invoke them from the beginning.

Defenses for receiving stolen property in Arizona

The defense will conduct an independent probe of the evidence, both gathered by police and the procedures used during their investigation, for errors or omissions in the police report. Police can gloss over mitigating factors that could help your defense.

Taking some precautionary measures such as asking for the seller’s purchase receipt can show personal honesty and that you had no intent to commit a crime. A person who does not have any previous arrests will bolster your defense and help in negotiating a plea agreement.

The defense can dispute the monetary value of the allegedly stole property to reduce the seriousness of the offense, and if the defense finds holes in the state’s case, a dismissal of the charge is possible.

Every case has its particular set of facts and other defenses may be available.

Get legal representation immediately

The passing of time is important, so it is crucial to start your defense quickly while memory is still fresh.

I have a history of working aggressively to achieve a dismissal of the charge by finding holes in the state’s case or by negotiating a plea agreement to a lesser charge.

For defendants who had no idea that the property was stolen, I can present mitigating evidence to support that you had no intention of committing a crime.

In using Aaron M. Black Law for your defense, you will have personalized service throughout the process. A common complaint people have about their attorney is that they did not have personal contact with the lawyer. That does not happen at Aaron M. Black Law. You will always be talking to me.

Start your defense by calling 480-729-1683 at any time on any day, even holidays and weekends, or use my online contact form and I will promptly respond unless I am in court or at trial.

I defend receiving stolen property cases in federal, state, municipal and justice courts in and adjacent to Maricopa County.


About the Author

Aaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes and white-collar crime.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.

Available by phone, text and/or email

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.

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