In most Davis County theft cases, the level of the offense is usually determined by the value of the property involved. Under Utah Code Ann. 76-6-412, theft of property valued at less than $500 is typically charged as a class B misdemeanor; from $500 up to $1500 is a class A misdemeanor; $1500 up to $5000 is a third degree felony; and $5000 or over is a second degree felony. Theft offenses including theft, theft by deception, theft by receiving, theft by rental agreement, and theft of lost or mislaid property may all be evaluated under this value system.
However, the level of a theft charge can also be affected by other factors. Prior theft convictions may result in felony theft enhancements, even where the value of the property involved is relatively small. A person who commits a theft offense “in concert” with two or more other people can face an enhanced charge under what is sometimes called a “gang” enhancement or “group criminal activity” enhancement. A gang enhancement will increase the level of a theft charge by one degree.
In some Davis County theft cases, the type of property involved can incrfease the level of the theft charge. For example, theft of a vehicle or theft of a firearm can be charged as a second degree felony, regardless of the value of the items. Theft of certain kinds of livestock can also result in a second degree felony, again regardless of the animal’s value.
“Theft from a person” is a charge that is closely related to robbery. While a robbery requires some element of force or threatened force, theft from a person requires only that the prosecutor prove that the property was taken “from the person” (or in other words, taken from a person who is immediately present). Theft from a person is an automatic second degree felony, regardless of the value of the property involved. Although theft from a person does not involve force or the threatened use of force, it carries the same potential penalties as a robbery charge.
Jurisdiction for Theft Cases in Davis County Courts
Criminal theft cases filed as class B misdemeanors or lower can be prosecuted in Davis County in either a justice court or a district court. The decision to file in justice court or district court will largely be determined by the location where the offense occurred. For example, Layton City has no justice court. Therefore, class B misdemeanor theft charges are filed in the Layton Department of the Second District Court for Davis County. Class B misdemeanor cases occurring in Centerville, Clearfield, Clinton, Farmington, North Salt Lake, South Weber, Sunset, Syracuse, or Woods Cross will typically be filed in the justice court for those cities.
Any felony or class A misdemeanor theft case must be filed in the district court. In Davis County, district courts are located in Bountiful, Farmington, and Layton.