Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Veteran Criminal Defense Attorney / Former Prosecutor
Call 801-449-1409. We'll fight to protect your rights.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Contact Us

Shoplifting Attorney Utah - Retail Theft - Criminal Defense

A Utah criminal conviction for shoplifting can range anywhere from a class B misdemeanor (180 days jail) to a second degree felony (1-15 years prison). Like other forms of Utah theft, the level of a retail theft charge is usually determined by the value of the merchandise involved. Stephen Howard is a seasoned Utah criminal defense lawyer who has successfully handled literally thousands of serious felony and misdemeanor charges. If you are facing criminal charges for retail theft or shoplifting, Mr. Howard has the experience to help you get the results you need. Contact us today for an initial consultation.

What constitutes shoplifting or retail theft in Utah?

Utah Criminal Charges Retail TheftSections of the Utah criminal code governing retail theft (shoplifting) provide several alternatives under which a person can be charged criminally with retail theft. The most common forms of retail theft involve allegations that a person took "merchandise displayed, held, stored, or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment" with "the intention of depriving the merchant permanently of the possession, use, or benefit of such merchandise without paying the retail value of" the merchandise taken or possessed.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to leave the store in order to be charged with retail theft or shoplifting. Simply hiding an item in your jacket or bag, removing an item from its packaging, or switching price tags can lead to criminal charges of retail theft, if there is evidence that you had the intent to deprive the merchant of the merchandise without paying for it.  

Removing a shopping cart from the store premises can be charged as retail theft. If you are employed as a clerk and "under-ring" merchandise for someone else, that can be charged as retail theft.

What should I do if I am caught shoplifting in Utah?

The first thing you should NOT do if you are caught shoplifting is to struggle to get away. If a clerk or other store employee approaches you, DO NOT push them out of your way. DO NOT struggle against them if they attempt to detain you.  This can turn a minor misdemeanor retail theft charge into a serious felony robbery case.

Under Utah criminal law, "any merchant who has probable cause to believe that a person has committed retail theft may detain such person, on or off the premises of a retail mercantile establishment, in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable length of time. . . ."

If you use force against a store employee or other person either during the course of committing a retail theft, or while attempting to flee after committing a retail theft, you may be charged with robbery. Robbery begins as a second degree felony punishable by 1-15 years in prison. Under some circumstances, you could be charged with aggravated robbery with the potential for life in prison.

If you are detained on suspicion of shoplifting, while you should not physically resist, you are in no way required to make any statements. You have a Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and a right to remain silent. You are under no legal obligation to make any statement or to offer any explanation for your actions. And your case will generally be better if you exercise your right to remain silent. You will have a chance to tell your side of the story. But you are generally better off if you wait to get advice from a lawyer before you talk.

What are the consequences of being convicted of retail theft?

Retail theft begins as a class B misdemeanor (180 days jail) if the value of the merchandise is less than $500. If the merchandise is worth $500 up to $1,500, the level increases to a class A misdemeanor (365 days jail). Anything $1,500 or over is a third degree felony (0-5 years prison). Over $5,000, and you could be faced with a second degree felony (1-15 years prison).  

Retail theft is also considered an "enhanceable" offense. If you have been previously convicted of two theft or theft-related offenses, then any theft begins at the third degree felony level. Even if the item allegedly taken is worth only pennies, it is still a third degree felony.

Shoplifting also carries the potential for substantial financial penalties. In addition to criminal court fines (which can be in the thousands of dollars), a person who commits retail theft can also be subject to civil penalties, court costs, and attorneys fees.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City

If you are facing criminal charges for retail theft, your case should be taken seriously. Stephen Howard is an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer with a track record that includes dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and appellate reversals in some of the most serious crimes on the books in Utah. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with Salt Lake criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard.

RELATED CRIMINAL DEFENSE TOPICS


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
** All fields are required. **
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
  • Utah 402 Reduction Attorney Felony Reduced - Client with prior felony conviction was granted a 402 reduction to the misdemeanor level over the objection of the prosecutor. Based on information provided to the court in support of the defense motion, the judge ruled in favor of the defense.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahProbation - Client charged with aggravated robbery based on allegations he entered a store with a gun and mask and demanded cash. Client confessed to police before hiring a defense attorney. Defense mitigation efforts resulted in a negotiated resolution that removed life in prison as a possibility, and secured a probation sentence from the court.
  • Recent Posts
  • What Constitutes Drug Parpahernalia in Utah How is drug paraphernalia defined in Utah? - The definition of drug paraphernalia under the Utah criminal code looks at both the nature of the object and also the intended use of the object in question. . . .
  • Utah Misdemeanor Attorney Salt Lake Can I handle a Utah misdemeanor from out-of-state? - Even if you do not intend to take your case to trial, a misdemeanor criminal offense in Utah can require multiple court appearances to reach a resolution. If you have been charged with a crime in Utah, but are not a Utah resident, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you resolve the case without returning to the state. . . .
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

Aggressive is good. Effective is better. The best defense strategy in any given criminal case can require in-depth analysis of the facts and a thorough understanding of applicable statutes, case law, and complex procedural and evidentiary rules. Having an experienced attorney on your side....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Our criminal defense lawyers have represented clients facing some of the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah. Whether you are facing prosecution for felony or misdemeanor charges, you can be assured that our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and determination necessary to help you achieve the results you need. Choosing the best defense attorney for your case will be one of the most important decisions you make....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

Even a "minor" misdemeanor carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. The direct penalties and collateral consequences of a felony conviction are even more severe. Understanding these consequences is critical as you make decisions relating to your case. Even in a misdemeanor case, you should not....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Hope

Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are reasons to remain hopeful, and there are things you can do right now that can help increase the odds of a successful outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the various options you have, and can help you....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.