The Breadth of the Utah Retail Theft Statute

Retail theft, or shoplifting as it is commonly referred to, has a separate criminal code section apart from other forms of theft, and it goes way beyond what most people would consider criminal. Theft in general is a very broad area of the law and has a number of statutes that covers theft or stealing in many different settings, such as theft of services, or theft by deception, and so forth. The interesting part about the retail theft statute is that it covers actions that aren’t actually theft in their nature but can result in theft depending on the individuals intentions.

The Problem with Intentions

The real issue with the retail theft statute is that it is based on actions being part of an individual’s intentions to deprive a retail location of value. So for example one way a person can be charged with retail theft is if they change the tag on an item or switch it with another tag and then take it to the register to buy it. Of course if the individual’s plan is to rob the store then that is clearly theft. The issue however arises from the fact that we can’t know what an individual’s intentions are and must simply divine through their actions what their intent was. So an individual may have put a tag on an item because they saw the tag laying on the ground in front of the item and the item didn’t have a tag. In this scenario there was no intent to deprive the business of value but they are still charged and often convicted of retail theft because its impossible to know what their real intention was.

St. George Theft Attorney | Protecting Your Rights

If you have been charged with retail theft and are confused about the charges and what your options are then call St George Criminal Defense Lawyer for help.

Utah Man Sentenced to 151 Months in Federal Prison for Wind Farm Scheme

Robert Arthur Reed was sentenced yesterday in Casper Wyoming, U.S. District Court, for defrauding investors of more than $4.4 million dollars. The man falsely claimed the investment money was for wind farms in South Dakota and Wyoming. At sentencing, the U.S. Attorney’s office asked the judge to depart upward from the typical recommendations and order 15 years for Mr. Reed in prison. In his defense, Mr. Reed argued that while he was guilty of moral failings, the sentence would be premature since the investment called for a 3 year period which had not yet expired. The judge handed down just over 12 years but came down the defendant quite hard. Multiple victims of the scam provided testimony to the court for purposes of sentencing. The federal judge ultimately found the facts to be egregious even noting he had less sympathy for Mr. Reed then serious drug criminals. Apparently Mr. Reed and others promised many investors nationwide big returns for investing in non existent wind farms. The perpetrators of the scam even went as far as to set up fake signs on sites and pay contractors to move dirt just so they could take pictures and provide fake support as investors began asking questions.

Fraud Charges in Utah

Fraud charges in Utah are aggressively pursued by the prosecution in most cases. If you are charged on the federal level, there is a whole other can of worms you may have to deal with. The feds have enormous forfeiture power to be able to seize everything you own up front forcing you to often be left with little or nothing to even hire an attorney. Additionally, federal fraud charges typically carry the potential for greater prison time and harsh restitution awards. As noted in the case above, most federal judges do not go easy on individuals convicted of white collar crime. Therefore, if you have been charged with fraud, money laundering, or any other related crimes, whether federal or state, you should speak with an attorney as quickly as possible.

Why Domestic Violence Charges in Southern Utah Are Unique

What is a Domestic Violence Charge?

Under Utah statutory law, “domestic violence” means any criminal offense involving violence or physical harm or threat of violence or physical harm…when committed by one cohabitant against another.  Thus, violent offenses committed between boyfriends and girlfriends, parents and children, husbands and wives, roommates, grandparents, and anyone else who lives together or has lived together constitutes domestic violence.

How Does a Domestic Violence Charge Work Differently Than Other Charges?

Domestic violence charges are different in many respects from other criminal charges.  One of the first things that makes a DV charge different is the court procedure.  In nearly ever DV case, the court can issue a pretrial protective order which prohibits the defendant from contacting the victim.  Such orders are usually entered upon releasing the defendant from jail.  The defendant is then given a date to make an initial appearance in court.  At the initial appearance the court will determine whether the pretrial protective order should stay in place. In most other criminal misdemeanor cases not involving violence there is no pretrial protective order entered.  Additionally, if the defendant hires a lawyer they can typically waive the initial appearance and schedule the case for a pretrial conference.

Another significant difference with DV cases is that a conviction to a DV charge will result in the defendant losing his privilege to have firearms under federal law.  It also trumps a concealed carry permit.

Domestic violence cases also have a significant impact on family law matter, specifically divorce and child custody matters.  Evidence from the domestic violence case can be admitted into evidence against the perpetrator and can affect whether the defendant will be able to have custody of his or her children.

Domestic violence charges present a rocky road and you should not try to go down it alone. Our Southern Utah Domestic Violence Lawyer can help.  Call us at (435) 215-1101 for a free consultation

Federal Controlled Substance List and Spice

The Federal Controlled Substance list, 21 U.S.C 812, includes a number of spice and bath salt related substances. Over the past couple years, the feds have really tried to clamp down and synthetic marijuana and other substances produced and sold typically at smoke shops. As the feds have and certain states have expanded their laws to criminalize many of these substances, chemists have been altering the drugs or creating entirely new ones trying to stay one step ahead of the law. This has created many problems for individuals engaged in the spice industry who have failed to stay compliant with the law. Currently, here is what the Federal Controlled Substance List, 21 USC 812, states:

  • 5-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (CP–47,497);
  • 5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (cannabicyclohexanol or CP–47,497 C8-homolog);
  • 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH–018 and AM678);
  • 1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH–073);
  • 1-hexyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH–019);
  • 1-[2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH–200);
  • 1-pentyl-3-(2-methoxyphenylacetyl)indole (JWH–250);
  • 1-pentyl-3-[1-(4-methoxynaphthoyl)]indole (JWH–081);
  • 1-pentyl-3-(4-methyl-1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH–122);
  • 1-pentyl-3-(4-chloro-1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH–398);
  • 1-(5-fluoropentyl)-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (AM2201);
  • 1-(5-fluoropentyl)-3-(2-iodobenzoyl)indole (AM694);
  • 1-pentyl-3-[(4-methoxy)-benzoyl]indole (SR–19 and RCS–4);
  • 1-cyclohexylethyl-3-(2-methoxyphenylacetyl)indole (SR–18 and RCS–8); and
  • 1-pentyl-3-(2-chlorophenylacetyl)indole (JWH–203). Schedule II

Additionally, the following other substances were just recently added under the temporary emergency scheduling:

  • 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylcathinone (Other names: methylone)—7540;
  • 5-(1,1-Dimethyloctyl)-2-[(1 R, 3 S )-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol, its optical, positional, and geometric isomers, salts and salts of isomers—7298 (Other names: cannabicyclohexanol and CP-47,497 C8 homologue);
  • 1-Butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole, its optical, positional, and geometric isomers, salts and salts of isomers—7173 (Other names: JWH-073);
  • 1-[2-(4-Morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole, its optical, positional, and geometric isomers, salts and salts of isomers—7200 (Other names: JWH-200);
  • 1-Pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole, its optical, positional, and geometric isomers, salts and salts of isomers—7118 (Other names: JWH-018 and AM678);
  • 4-methyl-N-methylcathinone—1248 (Other names: mephedrone);
  • 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylcathinone—7540 (Other names: methylone);
  • 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone—7535 (Other names: MDPV);
  • (1-pentyl-1H-indol-3-yl)(2,2,3,3-tetramethylcyclopropyl)methanone, its optical, positional, and geometric isomers, salts and salts of isomers—7144 (Other names: UR-144, 1-pentyl-3-(2,2,3,3-tetramethylcyclopropoyl)indole);
  • [1-(5-fluoro-pentyl)-1H-indol-3-yl](2,2,3,3-tetramethylcyclopropyl)methanone, its optical, positional, and geometric isomers, salts and salts of isomers—7011 (Other names: 5- fluoro-UR-144, 5-F-UR-144, XLR11, 1-(5-fluoro-pentyl)-3-(2,2,3,3-tetramethylcyclopropoyl)indole);
  • N-(1-adamantyl)-1-pentyl-1H-indazole-3-carboxamide, its optical, positional, and geometric isomers, salts and salts of isomers—7048 (Other names: APINACA, AKB48)

It gets even trickier when you consider the fact that the statute includes generalized language meant to include any other substance that is analogous or homologous to those listed above. You might be selling or buying spice thinking its not illegal because its not listed on the schedule, however, if it is determined to be “similar” to anything listed, you could be facing federal charges.

Carrying a Dangerous Weapon While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

In Utah, it is unlawful for a person to be Carrying a Dangerous Weapon While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. Many people are not aware of this law and these charges can be more common that perhaps most people realize. Here, the question often becomes what is considered a dangerous weapon. All firearms are clearly within this definition. With that being said, what if you are carrying a gun which is not loaded; is it a dangerous weapon for purposes under the law? This is a grey area of the law and you should consult directly with a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney if you are facing such a situation. Another question which may arise is whether a knife or other object can be considered a dangerous weapon. The statute defines dangerous weapon as, “an item that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.” As you can imagine, this phrase might be interpreted in many different ways. Many objects may or may not apply under this definition. Is a small pocket knife capable of causing death or serious injury? A prosecutor might want to argue so. For purposes of this section of the law, “under the influence” has the same meaning as it does under the DUI Statutes in Utah. Therefore, if you are given a breathalyzer and your BAC level is greater than .08, you would likely be considered under the influence for purposes of this weapon charge.

Defenses to Carrying a Dangerous Weapon

Perhaps it is most useful to explain first what are not considered defenses under the law. First, just because you may be a licensed concealed weapon carrier does not mean you can carry your gun while you are intoxicated. Second, just because you may be lawfully hunting, doesn’t mean you can be drunk and carrying a rifle or shotgun. These are two common scenarios in which someone may be charged with this crime but think they have a valid defense when they do not. Proper defenses would be anything that demonstrates the elements of the crime are not met including if your BAC level is lower than .08 or you pass field sobriety tests.

Call a St. George Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are charged with the crime described above, call and speak with a St. George Criminal Defense Lawyer at our office right away. Our phone consultations are free and we answer at all hours of the day and night. More often than not, we speak to people charged with carrying a dangerous weapon while drunk who have not hurt anyone and do not deserve to have the book thrown at them. Whatever your situation may be, you would be well served to hire an attorney in your defense. Call us today at 435-215-1101.

Felony DUI Defense Attorney in Southern Utah

If you have been charged with a felony DUI in Southern Utah, you most likely have prior DUIs or were involved in a serious car accident. These types of charges are not to be taken lightly. The penalties for felony DUI are greatly increased and can mean long periods of jail time or in some cases even prison. Speaking with a Felony DUI Attorney in Southern Utah is absolutely key to getting started on the right foot in your defense. At our law firm, we have a team of highly experienced attorneys ready to take on the most challenging case.

Third Degree Felony DUI

In most cases, felony DUIs are charged at the Third Degree level. While this is the lowest level of felony, the consequences can still be severe. A felony of this type may be on your record permanently or for a very long time. Anyone who runs a background check on you would likely see this felony and its disposition which often keeps people from gaining meaningful employment or other opportunities later down the road. With so much on the line, there can be no excuse not to at least consult with a private DUI Defense Lawyer prior to going the public defender route or even worse, representing yourself.

DUI Charges in Washington County

If you have been charged with a DUI in Washington County, you are facing a tough system. The prosecutors in the southern half of the state do things their own way. Cedar City and St. George prosecute felony DUIs with vigor. Having a defense lawyer who can ensure your rights are protected through this difficult process is essential. Whether you have been charged in Hurricane, Kanab, Panguitch, Beaver, St. George, or Cedar City, we can help. The attorneys in our Southern Utah office are experienced in the local courts and understand what it takes to get you the most reasonable result. Call us now for more information at 435.215.1101.

Charges Over Spring Break in Southern Utah

The weather in St. George this time of year is typically perfect; this year so far March has been no exception. It is no wonder St. George is a hot spot for Spring Breakers who head south to soak up the sun and get away from the snow and inversion up north. Many college and high school students will be in St. George over the next few days on spring break and unfortunately, some of those students may head back to school with more than just memories of a fun spring break. Every spring break some individuals are charged with various types of crimes from more serious offenses such as assault and violent crimes, to more common charges as marijuana possession, minor consumption, and DUI. If you have been charged in Southern Utah with any of these types of crimes while on Spring Break, contact a St. George Criminal Defense Attorney at our office as soon as possible.

Non Residents and Southern Utah Charges

If you are from out of town, in some cases we can have your appearance waived so you do not have to travel to be back to Cedar City or St. George for court. Our law firm is familiar with the local court rules and practices and can help you through a difficult process. We understand that you may be young and worried about how this may affect your future goals such as a professional career or perhaps even being eligible for things such as student aid. We can answer your questions and help ensure you get through the process in reasonable manner.

How to Get Started

To get us started on your defense, simply call or contact us and a Southern Utah Defense Lawyer will get you started. We can usually get started right over the phone and work through email so that you don’t even have to step foot in our office if it is not convenient for you.

Obstruction of Justice in Utah | St. George Attorney

A person may be guilty of Obstruction of Justice in Utah if they are found to basically have interfered with a police investigation or the apprehension of a suspect. However, the level of conduct by a person to fall under this statute is more than what a simple interference charge would suggest.  At the same time it is easier than some people may think to be found guilty of this crime because under the statute, there may be several instances in which a person’s conduct might be considered obstructing a police investigation or arrest. For instance, if you destroy or otherwise dispose of property or evidence that may have been used in a crime, you may be guilty of obstruction of justice. Additionally, if you warn someone of an impending discovery or apprehension, you may be guilty of this crime in Utah. Also, if you prevent a witness from giving information to the police or prevent them from aiding a police investigation, you might find yourself facing an obstruction charge. There are other circumstances which may also lead to an obstruction charge and more information can provided by any of our attorneys on this subject. Therefore, anyone involved in any type of police activity as third parties should be careful and even consult an attorney before taking any steps they may feel have an effect on a police investigation or arrest. Speak with a Southern Utah Criminal Defense Attorney at our office before getting yourself into trouble.

Obstruction of Justice and Plea Bargains

Obstruction of Justice can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances so anyone facing this type of charge should be very careful in how they pursue their defense. In many cases, an obstruction of justice charge will be tacked on to a more serious offense. In other cases police charge someone with an obstruction of justice charge when that person is not necessarily the focus of an investigation but want that person’s cooperation against another defendant. Before pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, you should consult with a St. George Criminal Defense Lawyer and learn what all of your potential options may be. Do not let the police intimidate you into taking a deal. Only after careful consideration with an attorney should you get too deep into a potential plea bargain. For more information or to speak with a qualified and experienced Defense Attorney in Cedar City or any other part of the southern half of the state, call us now.

White Collar Crime in Southern Utah | St. George Fraud Defense

If you have been charged with a White Collar Crime in Southern Utah, you are not alone. Many people in St. George, Cedar City, and throughout the entire state are charged with fraud related crimes each year. The most notable recent case in Southern Utah is probably that involving IWorks and Jeremy Johnson. To date, the Johnson case is still pending and we are a firm believer in innocence until proven guilty, we are interested to see how his case plays out and if a jury will end up making the decision or if a settlement will be reached. White collar crime can be business related such as when a business purposefully deceived customers and essentially steals from them. The FTC in the Jeremy Johnson case has essentially alleged Mr. Johnson participated in fraudulent business activates in which customers believed they were purchasing online educational products at no cost or at minimal costs but were actually being billed on a monthly basis. The industry uses the term “negative option billing” to describe this type of transaction. Many companies in the affiliate marketing space were using negative billing as feature for several years, some still are. To our knowledge, IWorks is the most high profile case filed in this industry.

Increasing Regulations

The truth is that all industries in the United States are heavily regulated and the it just keeps getting worse. Many businesses may not even be aware of the many federal and state regulations they may be violating in the way they are selling or marketing their products/services. The FTC and SEC carry a big stick and state agencies like DOPL can not only put you out of business, they can see to it you have charges filed against you in the criminal courts. Recently you may have heard stories of hair braiders being charged for operating without a license or kids being closed down for operating snow cone shack on the corner of their block without the appropriate city licenses. It seems the government is intent on shutting down business and creating a system of fear.

St. George Fraud Defense Attorney

A fraud related charge can carry substantial penalties so anyone finding them self in a position in which white collar crimes or fraud allegations are being made against you, should speak to a St. George Fraud Defense Attorney as soon as possible. At our law firm, we have represented numerous individuals in cases involving fraud and related charges. You do not have to sit idly by and just hope for the best. Take a proactive approach to your defense and speak with a Southern Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer at our office today. We know that good people just trying to make a living sometimes find themselves facing a charge when they had no idea anything they were doing could be interpreted as criminal. We can help, call 435.215.1101.

The Realities of Criminal Defense

One of the most difficult things to deal with for most individuals being charged with a crime is not having their expectations of the criminal defense system met. A lot of people will speak to the prosecutor or a private attorney and try and explain their side of the story, which is full of emotion and irrelevant facts. Now while the facts of the story may be very relevant for you, and may relieve you of feeling like a criminal in your own mind, the law does not work that way. By having the proper expectations at the beginning of the criminal justice process you can better prepare yourself for what is ahead and make it so much easier than otherwise.

The Judicial System: It Is What It Is

The important thing to focus on in your criminal defense is what you can affect. While the court system may be frustrating, slow, unfair, and whatever other names you can call it there is very little you can do to change how it works. The law is the law and it takes more than a complaining defendant to make changes to it. These means that the elements of a crime are very precise and sometimes easily provable. So if you are being charged with a crime where the evidence clearly shows that you committed the essential elements of the crime then there is not a lot you can do to fight it, that doesn’t mean you don’t have any options it just means that you should work towards a deal instead of stubbornly maintain your innocence at the detriment of your future because you believe you were right and the other person wrong or whatever it may be. While this is just a small example of some of the expectations you need to have you can be much better prepared for the court system if you have an attorney representing you.

St. George Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime in St. George or Washington County then call St George Criminal Defense Lawyer today, our attorneys can help you understand the process and educate you as to what to expect. Call or email us today.