Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney Blog

Copper Theft Laws: Arizona harsher sentencing and penalties for convictions; strict reporting guidelines for scrap metal transactions by businesses.

Copper Theft Arrests Phoenix, AZ

Copper is considered a high demand Non-Ferrous metal, with comprehensive uses, and is more resistant to rust and corrosion, than many other types of metals. As a result, thefts of copper and copper cable have become such a widespread problem in Arizona that many law enforcement agencies are offering rewards for information leading to arrests. In additional Arizona has passed legislation in an attempt to combat the crimes which place more restrictions on the businesses purchasing the copper, and more harsh sentencing and penalties for copper theft convictions.
New Arizona Copper Theft Laws: HB 2396, A.R.S. §44-1642, A.R.S. §44-1644
Arizona Law HB 2396 was passed March 21, 2012. This Law intended to increase copper theft penalties by amending ARS § 13 – 1801, and ARS § 13 – 1802 to delete term “scrap metal” from the definition of value. This change redefines the average Fair Market Value of copper in the local area; together with the repair or replacement value of any property from which the metal was removed during the theft. For sentencing purposes, this serves to increase the penalties for a copper theft conviction, since the value of stolen property is a major factor considered in Sentencing Guidelines and penalties. For example, If a person were convicted of stealing copper in the amount of $3,000 or more may be charged with a Class 4 felony, exposing a person to prison terms of 18 months to 3 years, which is more severe than if it were “scrap metal” stolen.

A.R.S. § 44-1642: Effective January 1, 2012, requires that all scrap metal businesses register to report their purchases by reporting them to a Scrap Metal Theft Data Base that indexes purchase records; transaction limits; age of seller; and exceptions’.

A.R.S. § 44-16442: Effective January 1, 2012, requires that all scrap metal businesses register to report their purchases to the department of public safety; exemption; violation; classification.

Criminal Defense for Copper Theft or other Theft Crimes

If you have been arrested or charged with theft of copper metal, copper cord, or any other theft crime, you may be exposed to felony charges and prison sentencing. The prosecution will egregiously pursue convictions. Laws have been enacted to increase sentencing and penalties for those offenses. You should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your matter and options for defense. With proper legal representation, and you will increase your chances of avoiding prison terms, and harsh penalties of a conviction. An experienced criminal attorney will protect your rights, defend your charges, and make every effort to get a favorable resolution in your case.

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