When it comes to shoplifting in Utah and across the country, there is no typical profile. In a recently reported incident, two parents were accused of devising a scheme in which their 10-year-old son would steal items from a Home Depot store. Police said the boy had been instructed to say his parents intended to pay if he was caught with the stolen items. If the scheme would have worked as planned, the parents would have returned the items to the store for a refund and then used the funds to buy school supplies for their children. The estimated value of the items taken by the boy was less than $100. The police ultimately decided not to arrest the parents, but they did turn the case over to prosecutors.
Overview of shoplifting laws
Shoplifting is defined broadly under Utah statutory law and includes taking or concealing items offered for sale without paying, altering price tags and transferring items into a different container, with the intention of depriving the store owner of the retail value. Shoplifting is a serious offense under Utah law. Criminal penalties for shoplifting include possible jail time and monetary fines. In addition, victimized store owners can sue shoplifters in court for damages.
Alternatives to prosecution
Prosecutors can offer alternatives to prosecution, such as diversion programs and plea bargains. These alternatives are often offered in the case of first-time or low-level thefts. If a shoplifter successfully completes a diversion program, which typically includes community service and counseling, the criminal charges may be dropped by the prosecutors. An accused shoplifter may also be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. In a typical plea bargain, the accused accepts a lesser charge in exchange for an admission of guilt.
If you have been accused of retail theft in the state of Utah, consult a skilled criminal defense attorney to review your case. The attorneys at Larsen, Larsen, Nash & Larsen can inform you of your legal options, so you can move forward with your life in the best manner possible.