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Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
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Sandy Retail Theft Defense Lawyer

A retail theft conviction in the Sandy City Justice Court adds to your criminal record, and can result in jail time, substantial fines, and a variety of probation conditions. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can give you the best chance of successfully defending your case.

With offices centrally located in Salt Lake City, criminal lawyer Stephen Howard defends clients facing criminal prosecution in the Sandy Justice Court, and in district courts and justice courts throughout Utah. He has successfully defended his clients' rights in thousands of serious felony and misdemeanor cases.

Contact us today for an initial attorney consultation.

Potential Penalties for a Sandy Shoplifting Charge

Utah Criminal Charges Retail TheftThe starting point for a retail theft charge begins at the class B misdemeanor level. As a class B misdemeanor, shoplifting is punishable by up to 180 days jail, and a fine (including surcharge) of $1,900. The judge in the Sandy Justice Court has discretion in imposing a sentence for shoplifting, and is not required to impose jail time or the full fine. If jail time or fines are suspended, the court can place a defendant on probation (either supervised or unsupervised) with conditions that may include community service, counseling or classes, drug testing, payment of a fine, or other appropriate conditions.

The jurisdiction of the Sandy City Justice Court is restricted to class B misdemeanor charges and lower. A retail theft charge can be filed at a higher level, either based on the value of the merchandise involved or on a defendant's prior theft-related convictions. Two or more prior convictions can result in a felony enhancement for a retail theft charge, even if the merchandise value is low. Merchandise values of $500 or more but less than $1,500 can result in class A level charge. Merchandise values of $1,500 or more can result in a felony charge.

If class A misdemeanor or felony shoplifting charges are alleged to have been committed in Sandy, the case must be filed in the district court. Most of these cases will be heard in the West Jordan department of the Third District Court.

Penalties for a class A misdemeanor retail theft conviction can be as high as one year in jail and a fine (including surcharge) of $4,750. A third-degree felony shoplifting charge carries a potential sentence of 0-5 years in prison and a fine (including surcharge) of $9,500. At the second-degree level, retail theft carries a possible sentence of 1-15 years in prison and a fine (including surcharge) of $19,000.

Elements of a Retail Theft Charge

The most frequently charged version of a Utah retail theft charge involves allegations that a person took "merchandise displayed, held, stored, or offered for sale in a retail mercantile establishment." This addresses the physical conduct involved in a shoplifting charge. But a retail theft charge also requires proof of mental intent. To obtain a conviction, the evidence must also prove that the persona acted with "the intention of depriving the merchant permanently of the possession, use, or benefit of such merchandise without paying the retail value of" the merchandise taken or possessed.

The combination of conduct (actus reus) and state of mind (mens rea) can be critical to a retail theft charge. A person who leaves a store with merchandise he honestly forgot to pay for may be not guilty of shoplifting. On the other hand, a person who takes possession of merchandise with the intent to steal it, but never leaves the store, may still be found guilty of retail theft.

Other variations of retail theft can involve switching price tags, removing a shopping cart from store premises, or under-ringing of merchandise by a store clerk. At the class B misdemeanor level, any of these criminal charges can be filed in the Sandy City Justice Court. If the offense level is higher, the prosecution must be pursued in the district court.

Choosing a Utah Criminal Attorney for the Sandy Justice Court

All criminal charges should be taken seriously. Even at the misdemeanor level, a conviction can have lasting consequences. Having an experienced criminal attorney on your side can give you the best chance of successfully protecting your rights. If you are facing criminal charges in the Sandy City Justice Court or elsewhere in Utah, you should consult with a lawyer before making any decisions about how to handle your case.

With offices centrally located in Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients in the Sandy Justice Court and throughout Utah. He has defended thousands of serious felony and misdemeanor cases during his career. He has the experience, knowledge, and determination to help you get the results you need.

Contact us today to schedule an initial attorney consultation.


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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

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