Theft by Deception

Numerous individuals are skilled enough with their words to make others believe anything they say; however if they use this skill of trickery and lies to cheat another person, they could face charges of theft by deception.

Theft by deception

Photo by: David Goehring

Photo by: David Goehring

According to Utah Code 76-6-405 : “A person commits theft [by deception] if the person obtains or exercises control over the property of another person: by deception; and with a purpose to deprive the other person of the property.” Theft by deception only applies if the item has “pecuniary [monetary] significance.”

Semi honest ads

From a business’ point of view, theft by deception may appear legal seeing how the victim willingly hands over their money for an item or service. Most sales promotions, ads, and commercials made by businesses have exaggerated deals, which are usually excused as “puffing” or overstatements that wouldn’t fool the common Joe. However going overboard and outright lying about conditions or products may bring charges of theft by deception.

Taking advantage of gullible people

Theft by deception can be as simple as getting someone to believe that they have to give up an item or money. There are many people out there that will take another person on their word. Taking advantage of these overly trusting individuals and tricking them out of a belonging or funds is against the law. Utah Code 76-6-404 states, “A person commits theft if he obtains or exercises unauthorized control over the property of another with a purpose to deprive him thereof.” When someone is tricked out of an item or funds, the party who made a fool of the victim was intentionally trying to “deprive him”, and therefore by law- committed theft.

Resist deceiving others

Theft by deception can carry different fines and penalties. The charges depend on the item involved, the amount (or worth), and whether or not this is a subsequent offense. With all these factors to consider, theft by deception could range from a class B misdemeanor to a 2nd degree felony. Any persons facing charges of theft by deception are encouraged to speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Voyeurism Charges for “Checking Someone Out”

“Checking someone out” discretely and without their consent can result in voyeurism charges.

Common cases of voyeurism

Photo by: Gareth Williams

Photo by: Gareth Williams

When the word voyeurism starts getting thrown around, it is typically due to someone videotaping or snapping a picture of another person when they are indecently exposed. Utah law does consider this voyeurism, however the charges are the same whether the person is dressed or not. Sneaking a picture of ANY part of someone’s body they would consider private can end in a class A misdemeanor or a 3rd degree felony if the person being looked over is under 14 years old. Dissemination of the images is a violation punishable as a 3rd degree felony or 2nd degree if the images are of a younger child.

Careful where you stare

Taking a picture or video isn’t necessary to be guilty of voyeurism. Merely looking (staring, ogling, gawking, rubbernecking) at a person’s private areas with or without clothing covering them is voyeurism. The lack of a picture simply brings it down a notch to a class B misdemeanor or a class A misdemeanor for a child under 14 years.

Ask permission first?

If someone crosses paths with another individual that they deem attractive, it could be incredibly uncomfortable to request their permission to look them over. That plea in itself would be entirely creepy to that other person. The only other option to avoid being guilty of voyeurism is to be a gentlemen (or a lady) and only view appropriate areas on them, such as their eyes, smile…or feet.

Excuse me, my eyes are up here

There are some notable problems with voyeurism laws:

• Who can be exactly sure WHERE another person is looking? This can apply to shorter people whose smile sits in close proximity to their chest area or to someone with an extremely distracting belt buckle.

Photo by: Helga Weber

Photo by: Helga Weber

• What about clothing that begs to be gawked over? Low cut shirts that reveal cleavage, short skirts or shorts, and tight clothing all trap individuals within close proximity to steal a glance, whether they want to or not. Should revealing clothing be considered consent?

For more information on voyeurism charges or laws regarding how to legally look at other people, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Borrowing or using a Fake ID

Using a fake ID or borrowing someone else’s  will probably result in time behind bars, especially if the person’s name being used has warrants out for their arrest.

Wrong name to use

Blank nametagA Florida man who was attempting to avoid jail time gave police officers a wrong name when they approached him about a loud music complaint. 22 year old Darius Devonte McClain thought using his brother’s name instead of his own would be a good idea, since stating his own name would show that he was violating his probation. Unknown to McClain regrettably, his brother had warrants out for his arrest and police proceeded to detain McClain thinking he was his brother. He then fessed up that he had used his brother’s name. Unfortunately for McClain, it didn’t stop his arrest but instead added a charge of providing false information to police along with his probation violation charges.

Pretending to be someone else

Using someone’s name and personal information when approached by police officers is often done by those wanting to avoid charges that may be pending on their own name. If they don’t have their ID in their possession to contradict the name they’ve used verbally, sometimes they can get away with the faulty information. Another reason someone may borrow another’s information is when they are underage and wanting to purchase alcohol or attend a bar. For this reason, actually having the ID stating they are 21 is required. If the underage drinker can find a 21 or older look-alike, such as a sibling, they will often borrow the ID to support their drinking habit. Of course, both giving false information to an officer and using another’s ID are against the law for the accused and their older friend or sibling if they loaned their ID willingly. These charges are minimal compared what will happen if a fake ID is used.

Prison time for making a fake ID

Photo by: Drew Stephens

Photo by: Drew Stephens

A fake ID is one that has been tampered with or made from scratch altogether. Typical forged data found on a fake ID include:

• The person’s actual ID with information such as the birthday changed
• Someone else’s ID with the picture replaced
• A newly produced, yet fake ID card any desired picture and information

Besides an actual state ID card or drivers’ license, other documentation that can be fraudulently altered or produced includes:

• Birth certificates
• Marriage licenses
• Death certificates

Don’t mess with the feds

All of the above documents, like a fake ID, can be used to deceive law enforcement and other government officials and even steal another’s identity. The listed documents are state issued and bring with them charges based on the state of the arrest. According to Utah Code 76-6-501, producing false identification such as a fake ID is a second degree felony and punishable by up to 15 years in prison. For identification items such as a forged passport, social security card, permanent resident card (green card), or tourist visa, these are federal documents and will bring harsher charges from federal prosecutors.

Easy, yet costly

With technology able to print 3D images, printing or altering a flat ID card is a piece of cake. Fake ID’s are also talked about so casually that many individuals don’t understand the legal ramifications that can come from using one. Making a fake ID or altering a government issued ID is not worth whatever privilege it allows temporarily such as driving, buying alcohol, or travel to other countries. For those caught using or making a fake ID or other state or federal document, speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately.