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.

Deadly Force Justified in Utah- Legally Defending Self and Home

The majority of states have laws in place that protect residents and homeowners if they ever need to use deadly force while defending their self or home. Since the laws differ from state to state, it is important for individuals to understand exactly what their rights are in their state if they feel threatened by another person.

Stand your ground



Many states including Utah have a law in place that allows a person to use deadly force to defend themselves against an attacker as long as they are someplace where they are legally allowed to be and not voluntarily in a relationship with the attacker. This is called a Stand Your Ground law. According to Utah Code 76-2-402, “A person is justified in using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury only if the person reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the person or a third person as a result of another person’s imminent use of unlawful force, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

Duty to Retreat

Photo by: bark

Photo by: bark

Other states that do not have Stand Your Ground laws may have a contrary rule called Duty to Retreat. While Utah doesn’t have Duty to Retreat laws presently, there is discussion about it in the future. Duty to Retreat laws require that individuals make an effort to leave a situation in which they feel in danger or threatened. If a person tries to retreat but is unable to get away successfully, then they are justified in using deadly force to keep themselves from being harmed. If the threatened individual makes it inside their own home, the laws again differ depending on what state they are in. Some states argue that a home is a “safe zone” and therefore once inside, the threatened individual cannot use deadly force to protect themselves. This is not the case in Utah, as they have laws to justify homeowners who use deadly force if they are threatened when at home.

Castle Doctrine

Photo by: Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue

Photo by: Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue

Castle laws, otherwise known as Castle Doctrine are laws that allow homeowners to protect their self and home from threatening individuals who are attempting to break into their residence. Utah has a version of castle doctrine in place called “force in defense of habitation”. There are stipulations about how and when this would apply however. Utah Code 76-2-405 states that a resident is justified in using deadly force when:
“He reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s unlawful entry into or attack upon his habitation; however, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury only if:

(a) the entry is made or attempted in a violent and tumultuous manner, surreptitiously, or by stealth, and he reasonably believes that the entry is attempted or made for the purpose of assaulting or offering personal violence to any person, dwelling, or being in the habitation and he reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the assault or offer of personal violence; or

(b) He reasonably believes that the entry is made or attempted for the purpose of committing a felony in the habitation and that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of the felony.

(2) The person using force or deadly force in defense of habitation is presumed for the purpose of both civil and criminal cases to have acted reasonably and had a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or serious bodily injury if the entry or attempted entry is unlawful and is made or attempted by use of force, or in a violent and tumultuous manner, or surreptitiously or by stealth, or for the purpose of committing a felony.”

Utah’s Castle Doctrine also applies to any building or structure that is attached to the property where someone may be inside such as a garage or a shed. Deadly force is not justified during the theft of personal property unless someone is inside that property and feels threatened such as a carjacking of a vehicle that is occupied.

Be informed about defense rights

Photo by: F Deventhal

Photo by: F Deventhal

It is important to study and be informed about rights regarding defending self or home. Therefore if the time ever came that an individual felt the need to use deadly force, they would feel confident in defending their actions. For those who are up-to-date about laws regarding when it’s acceptable to legally defend self or home, a criminal defense attorney would still be a wise addition to any criminal proceeding regarding justified use of deadly force.

Utah Man to Mental Hospital after Attempted Murder

A Utah man is on his way to the state mental hospital for a spell before serving time in prison for attempted murder of a fellow motorcyclist.

Traffic violation or attempted murder charge?

Photo by: Bill & Vicki T

Photo by: Bill & Vicki T

In August of 2013, 57 year old James Alan Reynolds of Enoch Utah refused to stop for a police officer during a routine traffic stop. The short chase ended with Reynolds crashing his motorcycle into a car, but not before he fired a series of random shots at another motorcyclist. 21 year old Austin Sharp of Santa Clara Utah, who had no known affiliations with Reynolds, was shot twice in the back.

Random and almost deadly

Reynolds was originally facing multiple charges including discharging a firearm from a vehicle and fleeing from police, but it was ultimately decided last week that he will serve time for the more serious of his offenses, attempted murder of the young fellow motorcyclist Austin Sharp.

First stop, mental hospital

Photo by: floodllama

Photo by: floodllama

Since Reynolds was determined not mentally ready to be added to the prison population, he will be spending an indefinite amount of time in the Utah State Mental Hospital. If ever it is decided that he is of sound mind, he will be transferred to the Utah State Prison to serve his time for attempted murder.

1st Degree Felony

Attempted murder by causing serious bodily injury during the felony discharge of a weapon is a 1st degree felony, and punishable by up to life in prison. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Reynolds was clearly not mentally healthy when he made the choice to shoot at a random person, and now two lives are changed forever. For more information on any criminal charges call an experienced defense attorney. For issues pertaining to mental health that could lead to criminal charges, contact the Utah Mental Health Services in your area.