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.