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Arkansas Theft Laws

Arkansas Theft Laws

5-36-116. Shoplifting.

(a)  (1)  A person engaging in conduct giving rise to a presumption under § 5-36-102(c) may be detained in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable length of time by a law enforcement officer, merchant, or merchant's employee in order that recovery of a good may be effected.

(2)  The detention by a law enforcement officer, merchant, or merchant's employee does not render the law enforcement officer, merchant, or merchant's employee criminally or civilly liable for false arrest, false imprisonment, or unlawful detention.

(b)  (1)  If sufficient notice has been posted to advise patrons that an antishoplifting or inventory control device is being utilized, the activation of an antishoplifting or inventory control device as a result of a person's exiting an establishment or a protected area within the establishment constitutes reasonable cause for the detention of the person so exiting by the owner or operator of the establishment or by an agent or employee of the owner or operator.

(2)  Any detention under subdivision (b)(1) of this section shall be made only in a reasonable manner and only for a reasonable period of time sufficient for any inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the activation of the antishoplifting or inventory control device or for the recovery of a good.

(3)  A detention under subdivision (b)(1) of this section by a law enforcement officer, merchant, or merchant's employee does not render the law enforcement officer, merchant, or merchant's employee criminally or civilly liable for false arrest, false imprisonment, or unlawful detention.

(c)  As used in this section, "antishoplifting or inventory control device" means a mechanism or other device designed and operated for the purpose of detecting the removal from a mercantile establishment or similar enclosure or from a protected area within a mercantile establishment or similar enclosure.

(d)  (1)  Upon probable cause for believing a suspect has committed the offense of shoplifting, a law enforcement officer may arrest the person without a warrant.

(2)  The law enforcement officer, merchant, or merchant's employee who has observed the person accused of committing the offense of shoplifting shall provide a written statement that serves as probable cause to justify the arrest.

(3)  The accused person shall be brought immediately before a magistrate and afforded an opportunity to make a bond or recognizance as in other criminal cases.


5-36-101. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1)  "Article" means any object, material, device, or substance or copy of an object, material, device, or substance, including any writing, record, recording, drawing, sample, specimen, prototype, model, photograph, microorganism, blueprint, or map;

(2)  "Copy" means any facsimile, replica, photograph, or other reproduction of an article, and any note, drawing, or sketch made of or from an article;

(3)  (A)  "Deception" means:

(i)  Creating or reinforcing a false impression, including a false impression of fact, law, value, or intention or other state of mind that the actor does not believe to be true;

(ii)  Preventing another person from acquiring information that would affect his or her judgment of a transaction;

(iii)  Failing to correct a false impression that the actor knows to be false and that he or she created or reinforced or that he or she knows to be influencing another person to whom the actor stands in a fiduciary or confidential relationship;

(iv)  Failing to disclose a lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of property that the actor transfers or encumbers in consideration for the property or service obtained, or in order to continue to deprive another person of that other person's property, whether the impediment is or is not valid or is or is not a matter of official record; or

(v)  Employing any other scheme to defraud;

(B)  As to a person's intention to perform a promise, "deception" shall not be inferred solely from the fact that the person did not subsequently perform the promise.

(C)  "Deception" does not include:

(i)  Falsity as to a matter having no pecuniary significance; or

(ii)  Puffing by a statement unlikely to deceive an ordinary person in the group addressed;

(4)  "Deprive" means to:

(A)  Withhold property or to cause it to be withheld either permanently or under circumstances such that a major portion of its economic value, use, or benefit is appropriated to the actor or lost to the owner;

(B)  Withhold property or to cause it to be withheld with the purpose to restore it only upon the payment of a reward or other compensation; or

(C)  Dispose of property or use it or transfer any interest in it under circumstances that make its restoration unlikely;

(5)  "Motor fuel" means:

(A)  Gasoline, diesel fuel, or alcohol;

(B)  Any mixture of gasoline, diesel fuel, or alcohol; or

(C)  Any other fuel sold for use in an automobile or related vehicle;

(6)  "Obtain" means:

(A)  In relation to property, to bring about a transfer or purported transfer of property or of an interest in the property, whether to the actor or another person; or

(B)  In relation to a service, to secure performance of the service;

(7)  "Property" means severed real property or tangible or intangible personal property, including money or any paper or document that represents or embodies anything of value;

(8)  (A)  "Property of another person" means any property in which any person or government other than the actor has a possessory or proprietary interest.

(B)  However, "property of another person" does not include property in the possession of the actor in which another person has only a security interest, even though legal title is in the secured party pursuant to a conditional sales contract or other security agreement;

(9)  "Service" includes:

(A)  Labor;

(B)  Professional service;

(C)  Transportation;

(D)  Telephone, mail, or other public service;

(E)  Gas, electricity, or other public utility service;

(F)  Accommodation in a hotel, restaurant, or other public accommodation;

(G)  Admission to an exhibition; and

(H)  Use of a vehicle or other property;

(10)  (A)  "Threat" means a menace, however communicated, to:

(i)  Cause physical injury to any person or to commit any other criminal offense;

(ii)  Cause damage to any property;

(iii)  Accuse any person of a crime;

(iv)  Expose a secret or publish a fact tending to subject any person, living or deceased, to hatred, contempt, shame, or ridicule;

(v)  Impair any person's credit or business repute;

(vi)  Take or withhold action as a public servant or cause a public servant to take or withhold action;

(vii)  Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to a legal claim or defense of another person;

(viii)  Bring about or continue a strike, boycott, or other collective action if a property or service is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act; or

(ix)  Do any other act which would not in itself substantially benefit the actor or a group he or she purports to represent but which is calculated to harm another person in a substantial manner with respect to his or her health, safety, business, employment, calling, career, financial condition, reputation, or a personal relationship.

(B)  "Threat" does not include an expression of intent to accuse, expose, bring suit, or otherwise invoke official action under subdivisions (10)(A)(iii)-(vi) of this section if made to obtain property claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances to which accusation, exposure, lawsuit, or other official action relates or as compensation for property or a lawful service;

(11)  "Trade secret" means the whole or any portion of any valuable scientific or technical information, design, process, procedure, formula, or improvement that is not accessible to a person other than a person selected by the owner to have access for a limited purpose;

(12)  (A)  "Value" means:

(i)  The market value of a property or service at the time and place of the offense, or if the market value of the property cannot be ascertained, the cost of replacing the property within a reasonable time after the offense;

(ii)  In the case of a written instrument, other than a written instrument having a readily ascertainable market value, the amount due and collectible at maturity less any part that has been satisfied if the written instrument constitutes evidence of a debt, or the greatest amount of economic loss that the owner might reasonably suffer by virtue of the loss of the written instrument if the written instrument is other than evidence of a debt; or

(iii)  Any inherent, subjective, or idiosyncratic worth the owner or possessor of property attaches to the property even if the property has no market value or replacement cost.

(B)  (i)  If the actor gave consideration for or had a legal interest in the property or service, the amount of the consideration or the value of the interest shall be deducted from the value of the property or service to determine value.

(ii)  However, in a case of theft by receiving under § 5-36-106, the consideration the actor gave for the property shall not be deducted to determine value; and

(13)  "Vehicle" means any craft or device designed for the transportation of a person or property across land or water or through the air.


5-36-102. Consolidation of offenses - Shoplifting presumption - Amount of theft.

(a)  Conduct denominated theft in this chapter constitutes a single offense embracing the separate offenses known before January 1, 1976, as:

(1)  Larceny;

(2)  Embezzlement;

(3)  False pretense;

(4)  Extortion;

(5)  Blackmail;

(6)  Fraudulent conversion;

(7)  Receiving stolen property; and

(8)  Other similar offenses.

(b)  Notwithstanding the specification of a different manner in the indictment or information, a criminal charge of theft may be supported by evidence that it was committed in any manner that would be theft under this chapter subject only to the power of the court to ensure a fair trial by granting a continuance or other appropriate relief if the conduct of the defense would be prejudiced by lack of fair notice or by surprise.

(c)  The knowing concealment, upon an actor's person or the person of another, of an unpurchased good or merchandise offered for sale by any store or other business establishment, gives rise to a presumption that the actor took the good or merchandise with the purpose of depriving the owner or another person having an interest in the good or merchandise.

(d)  (1)  The amount involved in a theft is deemed to be the highest value, by any reasonable standard, of the property or service that the actor obtained or attempted to obtain.

(2)  An amount involved in a theft committed pursuant to one (1) scheme or course of conduct, whether from one (1) or more persons, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.


5-36-103. Theft of property.

(a)  A person commits theft of property if he or she knowingly:

(1)  Takes or exercises unauthorized control over, or makes an unauthorized transfer of an interest in, the property of another person, with the purpose of depriving the owner of the property; or

(2)  Obtains the property of another person, by deception or by threat, with the purpose of depriving the owner of the property.

(b)  Theft of property is a:

(1)  Class B felony if:

(A)  The value of the property is two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) or more;

(B)  The property is obtained by the threat of serious physical injury to any person or destruction of the occupiable structure of another person;

(C)  The property is obtained by threat, and the actor stands in a confidential or fiduciary relationship to the person threatened;

(D)  The property is:

(i)  Anhydrous ammonia in any form; or

(ii)  A product containing any percentage of anhydrous ammonia in any form; or

(E)  (i)  The property is building material obtained from a permitted construction site and the value of the building material is five hundred dollars ($500) or more.

(ii)  As used in subdivision (b)(1)(E)(i) of this section:

(a)  "Building material" means lumber, a construction tool, a window, a door, copper tubing or wire, or any other material or good used in the construction or rebuilding of a building or a structure; and

(b)  "Permitted construction site" means the site of construction, alteration, painting, or repair of a building or a structure for which a building permit has been issued by a city of the first class, a city of the second class, an incorporated town, or a county;

(2)  Class C felony if:

(A)  The value of the property is less than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) but more than five hundred dollars ($500);

(B)  The property is obtained by threat;

(C)  The property is a firearm valued at less than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500);

(D)  The property is a:

(i)  Credit card or credit card account number; or

(ii)  Debit card or debit card account number; or

(E)  The property is livestock and the value of the livestock is in excess of two hundred dollars ($200);

(3)  (A)  Class D felony if:

(i)  The value of the property is five hundred dollars ($500) or less; and

(ii)  The property was unlawfully obtained during a criminal episode.

(B)  As used in subdivision (b)(3)(A)(ii) of this section, "criminal episode" means a series of thefts committed by the same person on three (3) or more occasions within three (3) days; or

(4)  Class A misdemeanor if:

(A)  The value of the property is five hundred dollars ($500) or less; or

(B)  The property has inherent, subjective, or idiosyncratic value to its owner or possessor even if the property has no market value or replacement cost.

(c)  (1)  Upon the proclamation of a state of emergency by the President of the United States or the Governor or upon the declaration of a local emergency by the executive officer of any city or county and for a period of thirty (30) days following that declaration, the penalty for theft of property is enhanced if the property is:

(A)  A generator intended for use by:

(i)  A public facility;

(ii)  A nursing home or hospital;

(iii)  An airport;

(iv)  A public safety device;

(v)  A communication tower or facility;

(vi)  A public utility;

(vii)  A water system or sewer system;

(viii)  A public safety agency; or

(ix)  Any other facility or use providing a vital service; or

(B)  Any other equipment used in the transmission of electric power or telephone service.

(2)  As used in this subsection (c):

(A)  "Public safety agency" means an agency of the State of Arkansas or a functional division of a political subdivision that provides:

(i)  Firefighting and rescue;

(ii)  Natural or man-caused disaster or major emergency response;

(iii)  Law enforcement; or

(iv)  Ambulance or emergency medical services; and

(B)  "Public safety device" includes, but is not limited to, a traffic signaling device or a railroad crossing device.

(3)  The penalty is enhanced as follows:

(A)  (i)  The fine for the offense shall be at least five thousand dollars ($5,000) and not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

(ii)  The fine is mandatory; and

(B)  The offense is a Class D felony if it would have been a Class A misdemeanor.


Identity Theft      
State State Code Statute Title Statute, penalties and restitution



Financial identity fraud & non-financial identity fraud


Financial identity fraud is a Class C felony
Financial identify fraud is a Class B felony if the victim is an elder person or a disabled person
Non-financial identity fraud is a Class D felony
Non-financial identity fraud is a Class C felony if the victim is an elder person or a disabled person
In addition to any penalty imposed under this section, upon conviction for financial identity fraud or non-financial identity fraud, a court may order the defendant to make restitution to any victim whose identifying information was appropriated or to the estate of the victim under §5-4-205. In addition to any other authorized restitution, the restitution order may include without limitation restitution for the following financial losses: (i) Any costs incurred by the victim in correcting the credit history or credit rating of the victim; and (ii) Any costs incurred in connection with any civil or administrative proceeding to satisfy any debt, lien, or other obligation resulting from the theft of the victim's identifying information, including lost wages and attorney's fees. The court also may order restitution for financial loss to any other person or entity that suffers a financial loss from a violation of subsection (a) or (b) of this section.
A judgment entered under this section and §5-4-205 does not bar a remedy available in a civil action to recover damages relating to financial identity fraud or non-financial identity fraud.


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Please note, the theft law information on this page is provided as a courtesy to help explain theft, shoplifting and stealing laws. There is no guarantee or assurance of reliability or validity. Laws change over time and this page may or may not be current. The code that is provided on this site is an unofficial posting of the State Codes. The files making up this Internet version of the State Codes do not constitute the official text of the State Codes and are intended for informational purposes only. No representation is made as to the accuracy or completeness of these sections. While every effort was made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the statutes available Offender SolutionsT shall not be liable or held responsible for any errors or omissions which may occur in these files, they are provided on an "As Is" basis. Use of the information and services are at the sole risk of the user. For official versions of any state's current laws, the user is directed to that states Revised Statutes, all amendments and cumulative supplements thereto published by that state. Please notify the Webmaster if you find any irregularities in the statutes on this web site. The Webmaster will relay the information to appropriate staff to investigate the irregularities. The printed version of the State Codes should be consulted for all matters requiring reliance on the statutory text. If you were involved in a theft or shoplifting incident you are encouraged to consider taking a theft cloass, theft course or shoplifting education class such as the one provided by offender solutions. Research shows theft school and/or theft education can be an effective theft prevention. Offender Solutions™ is an online theft education, shoplifting education class about stealing, it can be very effective if you want to stop stealing. Evan it was a small theft, a petty theft class or petty theft school could be right for you!

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