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UTAH RETAIL THEFT/SHOPLIFTING ATTORNEY JAKE GUNTER CALL/TXT (801) 373-6345 Utah retail theft attorney Jake Gunter call/txt (801) 373-6345

Top 4 Things To Know About Retail Theft (Shoplifting) Charges In Utah

(1). Unlikely to get Jail Time. On first time misdemeanor or felony retail theft it is unlikely you will get jail time. This can be a huge stress of your back. Yes, shoplifting, Class B Misdemeanors carry up to 6 months in the county jail, but unless there is some serious aggravator, jail time on a first offense retail theft is unlikely. Even for felony retail thefts.

(2). Enhanceable Offense. All retail theft charges are enhanceable offenses, meaning subsequent charges are enhanced one grade up. So a subsequent Misdemeanor B charge will be enhanced and charged a retail theft Misdemeanor A. Prior shoplifting convictions withing the last 5-10 year look back window will affect you in the future.

(3). Expungement Waiting Period. The expungement waiting period for a felony is 7 year. For a Class A retail theft is 5 years. 4 years for a Class B retail theft and 3 years for a attempted Retail theft Class C Misdemeanor. If a plea in abeyance was used, you have to wait 30 days after the case successfully closes to start the expungement.

(4). Criminal Restitution. Restitution is a court order that you pay for the harms you caused in a criminal case. In retail theft, criminal restitution is paying back what you shoplifted. The issue with criminal restitution is if it is too large and you can never repay it, you will never be able to get a 402 sentence reduction or an expungement. You can never get an expungement when you still owe criminal restitution. Restitution is never bankruptable either. It never goes away.

Example: You stole $7,000 in sheet metal, sold it and never returned it. You are offered a plea in abeyance to a felony 2 with promise that you will repay the $7,000 in restitution. If you fail to repay $7,000 in restitution your case will close unsuccessfully, the plea in abeyance will fail, a conviction will enter against you, making you a felon and you can never get an expungement.
Make sure you pick a restitution amount that can be paid back or the plea in abeyance plea bargain will be for nothing.

Can Retail Thefts Charges in Utah be Dropped? Shoplifting attorney Utah. Call/TXT (801) 373-6345
Pleas in Abeyances. “PIAs,” or pleas in abeyance are first time offender programs where Retail theft charges are dropped against you if you successfully complete all terms of probation. You must pay all restitution or you will never get an expungement and never get the case dismissed.
Diversion. (Not Likely). Diversions and pleas in abeyances are like sisters. The little sister is Diversion and the big sister is a Plea in Abeyance. PIAs are used a lot more commonly. Diversions are not used very much. Diversions tend to be used when there is immigration consequences involved. Diversions don’t have an adjudication of guilt, whereas pleas in abeyances do.

Evidentiary Problems. If your case has serious evidentiary problems, sometimes the prosecutor will drop it after the arraignment or pretrial conference. But unlikely.

Where is the Retail theft Statute Found?

Utah Code 76-6-601 outlines Utah’s retail theft criminal code.

What Constitutes Retail Theft in Utah?

You must knowingly, not accidentally, or reckless, do any of the following acts constituting retail theft in Utah.

(a). Takes possession of, conceals, carries away, transfers or causes to be carried away or transferred, any merchandise displayed, held, stored, or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment with the intention of:
(i). Retaining the merchandise; or
(ii). Depriving the merchant permanently of the possession, use or benefit of such merchandise without paying the retail value of the merchandise;

(i). Alters, transfers, or removes any label, price tag, marking, indicia of value, or any other markings which aid in determining value of any merchandise displayed, held, stored, or offered for sale, in a retail mercantile establishment; and
(ii). Attempts to purchase the merchandise described in Subsection (2)(b)(i) personally or in consort with another at less than the retail value with the intention of depriving the merchant of the retail value of the merchandise;

(c). Transfers any merchandise displayed, held, stored, or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment from the container in or on which the merchandise is displayed to any other container with the intention of depriving the merchant of the retail value of the merchandise;

(d). Under-rings with the intention of depriving the merchant of the retail value of the merchandise; or

(e). Removes a shopping cart from the premises of a retail mercantile establishment with the intent of depriving the merchant of the possession, use, or benefit of the shopping cart.

What are the Penalties for Utah’s Retail Theft? Utah retail theft shoplifting charges. Call Jake Gunter

Class B Misdemeanor Retail Theft

If the theft of property or services was valued at less than $500, it is a Class B. This is by far the most common form of retail theft in Utah and is charged in Utah’s Justice Courts.

Class A Misdemeanor Retail Theft
If the theft of property or services was valued between $500 and $1,500 is usually charged as a Class A misdemeanor in Utah. Class A Misdemeanors’ are charged only in Utah’s higher court, the District Court.

Third-Degree Felony Theft‍
Theft of property or services was valued between $1,500 and $5,000 it is usually charged as a third-degree felony in Utah. If the stolen merchandize is a catalytic converter as defined under Section 76-6-1402; or 25 pounds or more of a suspect metal item it is also a felony 3.

Second-Degree Felony Theft
Theft of property or services valued at more than $5,000 is usually charged as a second-degree felony in Utah. If the stolen item was a gun or motor vehicle, it is always a felony 2, regardless of the value of the gun or car.

Is Retail Theft–Shoplifting Enhanceable Offenses?

Yes. Like DUIs, domestic violence or sex offenses, retail theft are enhanceable offenses. Meaning the charges are increased for second and third offenses.
Example: You are convicted of stealing from Walmart in Orem, Utah in 2020. In 2023 you are arrested for retail theft again in Provo. Instead of being charged with a Class B Misdemeanor, the charge will be upgraded to a Class A Misdemeanor because of your prior conivction.

Should I get an Attorney for my Retail Theft Charges?
Yes. Hiring an attorney will take the stress off. Having an attorney in your corner who has been start to finish on thousands of cases will ensure you are treated right under the circumstances.

Common Retail Theft Misdemeanor Probationary Terms.
Misdemeanor retail theft convictions 99.9 percent of the time will result in you being placed on probation. Every court can be slightly different on how they sentence retail theft, but most will dole out the following tetail theft probationary terms:

(1). 12 months Court Probation. Court probation, otherwise called bench probation or information probation is the lowest level of criminal probation in Utah. Felony retail theft often carries the highest form of probation called Adult Probation and Parole. Not often used is intermediate probation with a private probation provider. Sometimes you can negotiation for a 6 months or 9 month probationary term.
PRO TIP: Often it doesn’t matter if probation is for 12 months or 6 months because you can file a motion to terminate probation early and they are granted 8 out of 10 times. The expungement waiting period starts when your probation closes. Further, being off “paper” or probation is a good thing.

(2). Educational Class. Normally the prosecutor wants some type of educational class completed during your probationary term. Sometimes called a “Thinking Errors Class” or cognitive thinking correction course seems to be a favorite for misdemeanors retail thefts convictions.

(3). Restitution. All criminal sentences require that restitution be assessed and provided for in probation. With retail theft cases if you gave the merchandise back to the store, or where caught with the merchandize, you will not owe much restitution at all.

PRO TIP: Ensure any restitution amount is reasonable. If your plea agreement guarantees a expungement, plea in abeyance or a 402 step reduction if you repay all restitution, this could be a recipe for failure with a high unpayable restitution amount.

Example: You are charged with stealing $45,000 from your employer, a felony 2. A plea in abeyance is offered where no criminal conviction will enter if you successfully pay back the entire $45,000. A plea in abeyance on a felony is an awesome deal. Anytime you walk out of felony court without a conviction, jail or prison is a good day. Pleas in abeyance terms can only be a max 36 months. Repaying $45,000 during the max 36 month probationary period is $1,250 which is not reasonable to most people. See Utah Code 77-2a-2 (3 year max for felony PIAs).

(4). $690 Fine. The bail schedule suggested fine for a Misdemeanor B shoplifting-retail theft is $690. $690 is fairly common for Misdemeanor B convictions. Most justice court judges do not deviate from Utah’s suggested bail schedule for fines. Class A and felony retail theft commonly have fines around $750. Fines are always in addition to restitution.


Will my shoplifting case go on my record?

Yes. All criminal charges, police records and prosecutor files are on your record. All shoplifting charges or convictions ALWAYS stay on your record unless you do something about it. Just because you got the case dismissed or had a plea in abeyance first time offender, the charge still stays on your record.
You should get an expungement of all dismissed cases and conviction records.

How do I Clean My Records of the Shoplifting Charge?

Expungement. The best way to clean your Utah criminal record is to expunge your retail theft charges after the appropriate waiting period. It is a 4 year waiting period for a Class B and 3 years waiting period for a Class C Misdemeanor shoplifting conviction.
402 Reductions. The second best way to clean up your record is to use a sentencing reduction 402 motion to lower the grade of the conviction.

Example: You were convicted in Spanish Fork of a Class B retail theft. Immediately after the case closed successfully (or sometimes unsuccessfully under the new 402 law) you can move to reduce the conviction to a Class C Retail Theft. Class Cs look better than Class Bs, but not by much. It is still an honesty conviction.

How Bad is a Shoplift Charge for My Records?

Shoplifting is an honesty offense and therefore up there when it comes to misdemeanor offenses. Utah’s “Xchange” public court records lookup is very affordable online way for employers and landlords to see your criminal history.

What Should I do About my Retail Theft Charges?

Good resolutions on shoplifting cases for first time offenders is a plea in abeyance or a reducing the charge completely to a non-crime Infraction.

How Much Does it Cost for An Attorney to Represent Me?

Attorney Jake Gunter takes payment plans and having an attorney is really affordable and often on a flat legal fee to get the resolved. It doesn’t’ have to be thousands of dollars, unless you want a jury trial.

Is the lawyer you are about to call have 20 plus jury trials? Experience matters in criminal defense. Contact Jake today!

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