Salt Lake City, UT Shoplifting Defense Lawyer
Shoplifting, also known as “retail theft,” is a serious crime in Utah. Adults or teenagers who are caught stealing merchandise can be charged with misdemeanor or even felony shoplifting, depending on the nature and value of the stolen items.
If you or your child was arrested for shoplifting in Utah, you need quality legal representation. Salt Lake City shoplifting lawyer Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of experience fighting felony and misdemeanor retail theft charges, and is ready to put his experience to work on your behalf. It may be possible to reduce the penalties you face, or even to have the charges dropped or dismissed. To speak confidentially about shoplifting charges, contact Darwin for a free legal consultation, or call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287.
What is the Legal Definition of Shoplifting?
Each state has its own shoplifting laws. Utah’s law against shoplifting is located at Section 76-6-602, which states that a person shoplifts when he or she takes or conceals merchandise without paying for it. It is also considered shoplifting, under Section 76-6-602(2), to change or remove an item’s price tag or label, or, under Section 76-6-602(5), to steal a shopping cart from the premises.
Is Shoplifting a Felony or Misdemeanor in Utah?
The answer to this question depends on factors like what type of property was stolen, and how much the property was worth. Based on these variables, a shoplifting offense can be categorized as a:
- Second Degree Felony – Value equal to or exceeding $5,000
- Third Degree Felony – Value above or equal to $1,500, but below $5,000
- Class A Misdemeanor – Value above or equal to $500, but below $1,500
- Class B Misdemeanor – Value below $500
To reiterate, the type of property can also impact how charges are graded. For instance, shoplifting is a second degree felony if the property being stolen is a gun or a functional car. This applies regardless of the item’s actual monetary value.
The way a shoplifting offense is graded is important, because it impacts the criminal penalties that may be imposed if the defendant is convicted – including fines and jail time. Utah criminal penalties for shoplifting are discussed in detail below.
What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting in Utah?
Regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or felony offense, retail theft can lead to fines, restitution, and incarceration. Felony offenders are subject to greater penalties than defendants who committed misdemeanors, while juveniles – whose cases are generally processed through a separate, civil judicial system – face their own set of consequences.
Shoplifting Fines in Utah
There are different maximum fines for each class of felony and misdemeanor in Utah. For example, a defendant charged with a second degree felony faces higher potential fines than a defendant who has been charged with a third degree felony or any type of misdemeanor. Utah criminal fines are as follows:
- Second Degree Felony – Maximum fine of $10,000
- Third Degree Felony – Maximum fine of $5,000
- Class A Misdemeanor – Maximum fine of $2,500
- Class B Misdemeanor – Maximum fine of $1,000
Shoplifting Jail Time in Utah
Utah sentencing ranges for felonies and misdemeanors are as follows:
- Second Degree Felony – Maximum prison sentence of 15 years
- Third Degree Felony – Maximum prison sentence of five years
- Class A Misdemeanor – Maximum jail sentence of one year
- Class B Misdemeanor – Maximum jail sentence of six months
Sentencing decisions can be influenced by various aggravating or mitigating factors, such as committing the crime near a school, having a history of prior offenses, or being assessed as “a good candidate for treatment.”
Shoplifting Penalty for Minors
Shoplifting arrests often involve juveniles, meaning people under the age of 18. The juvenile court system is a civil system, unlike Utah’s adult criminal courts. These civil courts hear most cases involving juvenile offenses, with some exceptions for the most serious and violent felonies.
Though the juvenile courts are civil, there can still be serious consequences for teenagers who commit shoplifting. Some common examples of shoplifting penalties for minors include fines, restitution (victim compensation), juvenile probation, and community service. Moreover, a record of shoplifting can impact a teen’s ability to obtain student loans, participate in work programs, or qualify for internships and other opportunities. If your son or daughter has been arrested for shoplifting, it is vitally important to seek legal help from an experienced attorney immediately.
Salt Lake City Shoplifting Defense Attorney Handling Juvenile Crimes
The consequences of a shoplifting conviction can be costly, embarrassing, and disruptive to every part of your life. If you or one of your family members has been charged with retail theft in Utah, you need to start discussing your options with a tough and tested criminal lawyer. To set up a free legal consultation with Salt Lake City shoplifting attorney Darwin Overson, contact Overson Law online today, or call (801) 758-2287 for 24/7 phone assistance.