Based in Salt Lake City, Intermountain Legal provides exceptional criminal defense counsel to clients throughout Utah. Our extensive experience includes representing individuals accused of retail theft or shoplifting. Contact an experienced attorney today for a free consultation. Call 801-990-4200 or email us.
Shoplifting Charges in Utah
Shoplifting is generally defined as taking an item without paying for it or intentionally paying less than retail price. In other words, carrying, concealing, or otherwise modifying any merchandise out of a store with the intent to steal it qualifies as shoplifting, for example:
- Modifying or switching price tags
- Putting a higher priced item in the box of a lower priced item
- Eating food in a store and not paying for it at checkout
- Committing refund fraud
- Intentionally using an illegal form of payment
You can be prosecuted for acting with intent to shoplift even if the act was not fully carried out, which means charges may be filed if a business suspects you intended to steal an item, but you never actually removed the item from the premises.
Penalties for Shoplifting & Retail Theft
In Utah, shoplifting under $300 worth of merchandise is classified as a class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a possible fine of up to $1,000. If the value of the property taken is more than $300, the offense may be charged as a class A misdemeanor or even a felony if the property is valued at more than $1000. Along with the value of the goods stolen, potential penalties also depend on the defendant’s background and criminal history and the place in which the crime occurred.
Fighting Shoplifting Charges is Worth the Time & Effort
Too often, people charged with retail theft or shoplifting plead no contest and accept probation in order to avoid legal fees and put an embarrassing situation behind them as quickly as possible. However, this decision may actually cause them to revisit the incident for years to come. More than ever, employers conduct exhaustive background checks, and a retail theft or shoplifting conviction is reason enough to not hire someone.
Our Salt Lake City lawyers know how to mitigate the consequences of an arrest, and help clients seek alternatives to a conviction, such as civil compromise with the store, informal diversion, and conditional dismissal. Especially for first offenders, the charge may be reduced to an infraction, which means no criminal record.
Seek Experienced, Strong Defense Representation
If you have been charged with shoplifting, contact Intermountain Legal to talk to an experienced defense attorney. During your free initial consultation, we will discuss your options and provide valuable insight into your situation and best course of action.