What are Shoplifting Laws in Utah
Several people do not realize the severity of shoplifting as a criminal offense until the manager of a store does not agree to dismiss those charges. Executives in retail establishments are trained for prosecuting persons for shoplifting, as well as, embezzlement, employee pilferage, and other forms of retail robbery to the actual extent of the state's law.
Utah statutory law broadly defines shoplifting and includes concealing or taking goods available for sale and not paying, exchanging or changing price tags, and shifting goods into another container having the intent to deprive the shop owner of its retail value. Also, Utah law considers shoplifting as a severe criminal offense. Criminal punishments for an act of shoplifting include monetary fines and jail time. Also, the store owners who have become victims of shoplifting can prosecute shoplifters for claiming damages.
In case a person has been slapped with charges of retail theft or shoplifting, they should not be under the impression that it is a minor charge and will vanish on its own. When a person is convicted of retail theft or shoplifting, it can follow him/her for several years. The conviction can severely have a negative influence on their chances of searching for a job in the future.
When a person is being charged with theft by deception, credit card fraud, shoplifting, and theft are severe charges although it could be an offense for the first time. Merchants or owners of retail establishments enjoy the right of requesting that customers keep the items in full view, as well as, detain suspicious shoplifters for a certain time period.
- When the value of the property stolen is below 500 USD, the law considers it as a Class B Misdemeanor. If a person is convicted of this offense, he/she may have to pay a maximum fine of 1,000 USD and/or a maximum prison term of 6 months.
- When the value of the stolen property is 500 USD but below 1,500 USD, it is regarded as a Class A Misdemeanor. The guilty are penalized by a maximum fine of 2,500 USD and a maximum prison term of 12 months.
- When the value of the stolen property is at least 1,500 USD and below 5,000 USD, it is regarded as a third-degree felony. The convicted is penalized by a maximum fine of 5,000 USD and/or a maximum prison term of 5 years.
- Retail theft with 2 past related convictions against a person in the last 10 years, it is considered a third-degree felony. If convicted, the person has a maximum fine of 5,000 USD and/or a maximum jail term of 5 years.
Civil liability for shoplifting in Utah
In Utah, an adult shoplifter can be prosecuted by merchants who have become victims for actual damages, a maximum monetary punishment of 1,000 USD, court costs, a punishment between 100 USD and 500 USD, as well as, reasonable attorney fees. Guardians or parents of minor shoplifters are held jointly liable along with the minor for paying actual damages, reasonable attorney expenses, court costs, a punishment between 50 USD and 500 USD, and a penalty in the form of the retail price, which is a maximum of 500 USD.
What are the alternative actions for prosecution?
In Utah, a prosecutor can provide alternatives to prosecution like plea bargains and diversion programs. Such alternatives are frequently provided for low-level or first-time thefts. When a shoplifter is able to complete a diversion program successfully that usually includes counseling and community service, the prosecutors can drop the criminal charges. It is also possible for the accused shoplifter to negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea bargain. In a usual plea bargain, the alleged shoplifter is ready to accept a less severe charge by pleading guilty.
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