Shoplifting and Theft

Theft is a very serious crime in Utah that carries stiff penalties. A theft conviction is one where charges can be added onto each other, which means that multiple convictions of even minor offenses can become very serious, as multiple charges means multiple sentences (see also “burglary and robbery”).

76-6-404. Theft — Elements.

A person commits theft if he obtains or exercises unauthorized control over the property of another with a purpose to deprive him thereof.

There must be evidence to support the accusation made by the police.  This evidence often does not meet the standard laid out in the law.

76-6-403. Theft — Evidence to support accusation.

Conduct denominated theft in this part constitutes a single offense embracing the separate offenses such as those heretofore known as larceny, larceny by trick, larceny by bailees, embezzlement, false pretense, extortion, blackmail, receiving stolen property. An accusation of theft may be supported by evidence that it was committed in any manner specified in Sections 76-6-404 through 76-6-410, subject to the power of the court to ensure a fair trial by granting a continuance or other appropriate relief where the conduct of the defense would be prejudiced by lack of fair notice or by surprise.

Utah law has many types of crimes that are considered theft.

76-6-404.5 Wrongful appropriation — Penalties.
76-6-404.7 Theft of motor vehicle fuel.
76-6-405 Theft by deception.
76-6-406 Theft by extortion.
76-6-407 Theft of lost, mislaid, or mistakenly delivered property.
76-6-408 Receiving stolen property — Duties of pawnbrokers, secondhand businesses, and coin dealers.
76-6-409 Theft of services.
76-6-409.3 Theft of utility or cable television services — Restitution — Civil action for damages.
76-6-409.6 Use of telecommunication device to avoid lawful charge for service — Penalty.
76-6-409.8 Sale of an unlawful telecommunication device — Penalty.
76-6-409.9 Manufacture of an unlawful telecommunication device — Penalty.
76-6-409.10 Payment of restitution — Civil action — Other remedies retained.
76-6-410 Theft by person having custody of property pursuant to repair or rental agreement.
76-6-410.5 Theft of a rental vehicle.

A theft charge in Utah can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, and can have very serious fines.

76-6-412. Theft — Classification of offenses — Action for treble damages.

(1) Theft of property and services as provided in this chapter is punishable:
(a) as a second degree felony if the:
(i) value of the property or services is or exceeds $5,000;
(ii) property stolen is a firearm or an operable motor vehicle;
(iii) actor is armed with a dangerous weapon, as defined in Section 76-1-601, at the time of the theft; or
(iv) property is stolen from the person of another;
(b) as a third degree felony if:
(i) the value of the property or services is or exceeds $1,500 but is less than $5,000;
(ii) the actor has been twice before convicted of any of the offenses listed in this Subsection (1)(b)(ii), if each prior offense was committed within 10 years of the date of the current conviction or the date of the offense upon which the current conviction is based:
(A) theft, any robbery, or any burglary with intent to commit theft;
(B) any offense under Title 76, Chapter 6, Part 5, Fraud; or
(C) any attempt to commit any offense under Subsection (1)(b)(ii)(A) or (B).
(iii) in a case not amounting to a second-degree felony, the property taken is a stallion, mare, colt, gelding, cow, heifer, steer, ox, bull, calf, sheep, goat, mule, jack, jenny, swine, poultry, or a fur-bearing animal raised for commercial purposes;
(c) as a class A misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is or exceeds $500 but is less than $1,500; or
(d) as a class B misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is less than $500.
(2) Any person who violates Subsection 76-6-408(1) or Section 76-6-413, or commits theft of property described in Subsection 76-6-412(1)(b)(iii), is civilly liable for three times the amount of actual damages, if any sustained by the plaintiff, and for costs of suit and reasonable attorney fees.

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