Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409. We fight to protect your rights.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges


Shoplifting and Retail Theft - Davis County Defense Lawyer

Retail theft or shoplifting in Utah can be prosecuted at the felony or misdemeanor level, depending on the value of the merchandise involved and the prior criminal record of the defendant. If you are facing prosecution for shoplifting in Davis County, having the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney is vital. Utah criminal lawyer Stephen Howard has successfully defended clients in theft-related charges including aggravated robbery, burglary, theft, and shoplifting. We have helped clients in Davis County and throughout Utah. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Penalties for Shoplifting in Davis County

Criminal prosecution for shoplifting charges in Davis County begins at the class B misdemeanor level, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and nearly $2,000 in fine and surcharge. Enhancements to a retail theft charge based on value or prior theft convictions can increase the severity of the charge to the second degree felony level, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and over $19,000 in fine, surcharge, and fees.

Elements of a Shoplifting Charge in Davis County

The Utah criminal code governing retail theft covers a variety of conduct. The most common shoplifting cases involve allegations that a person exercised control over merchandise displayed for sale in a retail establishment, without paying for the merchandise and with the intent to permanently deprive the store of the merchandise. Utah’s criminal code also supports retail theft charges for changing price tags, removing merchandise from its packaging, removing a shopping cart from store premises, and for “under-ringing” merchandise by a cashier.

There is a common misconception that a defendant must actually leave the store in order to be charged with shoplifting. But Utah’s retail theft statute focuses on the intent of the alleged shoplifter.

In theory, a person who simply picks up merchandise, looks at the merchandise, and forms the intent to steal it has committed the offense of retail theft - regardless of whether the person tries to leave the store. The statute does not require proof that the defendant removed the merchandise from the store - only that the defendant intended to deprive the merchant of the merchandise.

A person charged with shoplifting is presumed to be innocent. The prosecutor bears the burden of proving each element beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defendant has not actually removed the merchandise from the store, it can be more difficult for the prosecutor to convince a jury that the defendant had the intent commit a theft. But other evidence, such as concealing the merchandise in a pocket or bag, passing by all cashiers without attempting to pay, or running toward the store exit, may be persuasive to a jury.

What NOT to Do if Caught Shoplifting in Davis County

Consultation with an experienced criminal attorney can be vital to ensuring that your rights are protected and understanding the best options for defending your case. But even before you contact an attorney, there are certain things that are important to understand about a retail theft case, and things that you should NOT do.

First, if you are confronted by store security personnel, police, or anyone else who believes you are committing a retail theft, you should NOT struggle to get away or push someone out of the way. Using force, even minimal force, in the process of committing a theft or in fleeing or attempting to flee following the commission of a theft can turn what would otherwise be a misdemeanor shoplifting charge into a felony robbery case. If a weapon (even just a pocket knife) is used or threatened, or if someone is seriously injured in the process, the case may be filed as a first degree felony aggravated robbery punishable by up to life in prison.

Second, if you are stopped or detained on suspicion of committing a retail theft, you should NOT make any statements about your conduct. While Utah law requires you to give your true name to a police officer when asked under certain circumstances, the Fifth Amendment guarantees the privilege against self-incrimination. You are presumed innocent, and the burden of proving otherwise rests with the prosecutor. Any statements you make to the police, to store employees, or to anyone else can be used against you at trial. Even if you are trying to provide an innocent explanation for your actions, your statements could still be used to try to convict you.

Third, you should NOT enter a guilty plea at the arraignment hearing without first speaking with a criminal defense attorney. In a misdemeanor case, the first hearing you attend will usually be an arraignment hearing. At the arraignment, the court will give you formal notice of the charges filed against you, and will ask you to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty. Entering a not guilty plea preserves a number of important constitutional rights, including your right to a trial, your right to have an attorney, your right to receive discovery, and more. If you enter a guilty plea at arraignment, you give up these rights and the only real question left for the court is what punishment to impose.

Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Davis County

Davis County Criminal DefenseIf you are facing prosecution for shoplifting, retail theft, or other serious criminal charges, you should have an experienced criminal attorney on your side who will take your case seriously. Utah criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard has successfully defended clients facing theft-related charges including aggravated robbery, burglary, theft, and more.

We serve clients facing criminal prosecution in Davis County and throughout all of Utah. Contact us today to see how we can help you.


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client was facing multiple cases involving first-degree felony drug distribution charges for allegedly selling to a confidential informant. Defense analysis of the case revealed fatal flaws in the prosecution case that ultimately resulted in a complete dismissal of all cases and charges.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake Davis Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahDismissed at Preliminary Hearing - Client charged with aggravated robbery and facing life in prison. Full case analysis and consultation with client allowed the development of a strong defense strategy. Effective cross-examination of the alleged victim at the preliminary hearing resulted in an outright dismissal of all charges by the judge.
  • Recent Posts
  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • Utah Misdemeanor Attorney Salt Lake Can I handle a Utah misdemeanor from out-of-state? - Even if you do not intend to take your case to trial, a misdemeanor criminal offense in Utah can require multiple court appearances to reach a resolution. If you have been charged with a crime in Utah, but are not a Utah resident, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you resolve the case without returning to the state. . . .
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

You want the best defense. Agressive is good. But results ultimately are what really matter. Creating an effective strategy for defending against criminal prosecution requires a thorough understanding of statutes, case law, and evidentiary and procedural rules. A successful outcome is more likely when....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

With decades of combined experience, our criminal defense team attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and determination to help you achieve the results you need. Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can have serious consequences. Choosing the best attorney to defend your case may be one of the most important decisions you will ever make....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

Even a "minor" misdemeanor carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. The direct penalties and collateral consequences of a felony conviction are even more severe. Understanding these consequences is critical as you make decisions relating to your case. Even in a misdemeanor case, you should not....

Consequences »
Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah - Reasons to Hope

Clients sometimes ask what the "worst case scenario" is for their charges. We prefer to take a more positive approach. Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can have serious consequences. But you can take steps and make choices right now that will improve your chances of a positive outcome. Let us help you....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.