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Property Crime Defense Lawyers

The umbrella classification of property crimes includes many different offenses. These charges can range from simple misdemeanors to serious criminal felonies. Examples of property crimes include trespass, burglary, vandalism and arson. Because of the broad range of property crimes, it is important that any individual fully understand the charges they face. A criminal defense attorney experienced in the area of property crimes can help.

The criminal penalties associated with property crimes vary based on the severity of the charge. Such penalties may include incarceration (jail or prison time), monetary fines, or restitution. In addition, a criminal record can impact your ability to gain or maintain employment, hold certain government positions, and utilize certain opportunities in education – in particular, government sponsored student loans. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, any criminal charge is a very serious matter. It is important to consult with a property crime defense lawyer regarding your case.

AttorneyNet can connect you with an attorney for help defending against property crime charges

It is important to remember that not all criminal charges result in a conviction. Many cases brought by the prosecution cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, many strong cases can be negotiated to a lesser charge. For this reason, it is important to consult with a criminal defense attorney to determine any possible defenses or mitigating factors in your case. Contact AttorneyNet today to receive immediate referral to a participating property crime defense lawyer in your area.

Introduction to Arizona Property Crime Law

To learn more about specific property crimes in Arizona, please review the information information provided below. Alternatively, you can browse our collection of property crime blogs and videos below. Be sure to submit a case review form to request that a featured attorney contact you to schedule a free introductory consultation.

Introduction to Property Crimes

Criminal Damage to Property

Under ARS § 13-1602, any individual can be charged with the property crime of criminal damage if that individual commits any of the listed components. The specific charges vary in severity based on the value of the damaged property. The potential charges faced include class 2 misdemeanor, class 1 misdemeanor, class 6 felony, class 5 felony or class 4 felony. An experienced attorney can review specific charges to determine the likely outcome and consequences.

  • Deface or damage another person’s property
  • Tamper the property of another so that the function or value is substantially impaired
  • Tamper with and/or damage the property of any public utility, such as a water line or electricity wire.
  • Draw or write any message, slogan, sign or symbol on any public or private building without the permission of the owner. This is something casually referred to as graffiti. 

Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property

Under ARS § 13-1604, any individual can be charged with aggravated criminal damage of property if they commit any of the listed acts, either intentionally or recklessly, and without the owner’s permission. Like simple criminal damage of property, the specific charges associated with aggravated criminal damage vary based on the value of the damaged property. In additional, charges also vary with the type of facility damaged. Aggravated criminal damage can result in a charge ranging from class 6 to class 3 felony.

  • Deface or damage a building, structure, personal property, or any place used for religious purposes
  • Deface or damage any building or structure used as a school or education facility
  • Deface, damage or tamper with any building or personal property of a cemetery, mortuary, or any other facility used for the purpose of burial or memorializing the dead
  • Deface or damage any public utility, agricultural infrastructure, construction site, or structure used for the purpose of obtaining non-ferrous metals.

Criminal Trespass

Under ARS § 13-1502 – 13-1504, an individual may be charged with criminal trespass if they knowingly enter or remain unlawfully at any location without the permission of the owner. Criminal trespass can result in charges ranging from class 3 misdemeanor to class 6 felony, depending on the specific location the trespass occurred and the degree of the crime.

Burglary

Under ARS § 13-1506 – 13-1508, an individual may be charged with burglary if they enter or remain unlawfully in or on any structure with the intent to commit a theft or any other felony crime while on the premises. There are three degrees of burglary charges which depend on the location of the burglary and whether a dangerous weapon was used during its commission. Burglary is a felony offense, and can result in class 4, class 3, or class 2 felony charges.

Reckless Burning

The crime of reckless burning is defined under § 13-1702. Any individual can be charged with reckless burning if they recklessly cause a fire or explosion that results in damage to an occupied structure, wildland or property. Common causes include improperly extinguished campfires, inappropriate smoking of cigarettes, or even outdoor grills and fryers.  Those accussed of reckless burning will face class 1 misdemeanor charges.

Arson of a Structure

The crime of arson of a structure is defined under ARS § 13-1703 – §13-1705. An individual can be charged with arson of a property or structure if they knowingly and unlawfully damage a structure of property by causing a fire or explosion. This crime is further classified in the statutes by whether the structure was occupied at the time of arson and whether the structure involved served as a jail or correctional facility. Charges range from class 1 misdemeanor to class 2 felony.

Common Defenses Against Property Crimes

Duress

When the offender committed an act that would normally be classified as a crime, but did so as a direct result of the threat or use of physical force by another

Necessity

When the offender committed an act that would normally be a crime, but did so because there was no better alternative to avoid great public or private injury

Renunciation

When the offender withdrew from participation in a criminal act and made substantial efforts to prevent others from committing the crime in question

Duress

When the offender reasonably believed that had the permission of the owner to enter and/or use their property in the manner listed in the criminal charge

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