Automobile Theft

Theft of a motor vehicle is prohibited by Utah’s general theft laws. A person commits a theft offense by taking someone else's property without permission, with the intent to keep the property, or at least not return it to the owner. Utah’s law classifies and punishes theft based on the nature and value of the property stolen.

Certain enhancements increase the penalties for the theft charges when the use of force or the threat to use force occurred in an incident.

Theft offenses can damage your reputation, credibility, and ruin your relationships with others. Having a theft conviction on your criminal record can also affect your ability to find employment, become approved for housing, and other things. Common penalties for theft crimes include restitution, probation, incarceration, and costly fines.


Automobile Theft Attorneys in Salt Lake City, Utah

If you or a loved one has been arrested in Salt Lake City, Utah or surrounding areas contact the lawyers of Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP as soon as possible. Our lawyers have represented clients charged with theft crimes, domestic violence crimes, traffic crimes, property crimes, juvenile crimes, and other crimes in Salt Lake City, Utah, and surrounding areas for almost two decades.

Call Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP at (801) 532-5297 today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.


Utah Automobile Theft Penalties

In Utah, automobile theft is a second-degree felony, regardless of the value of the car. Any theft committed while the offender is armed with a dangerous weapon is also a second-degree felony.A second-degree felony is punishable by incarceration from one to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Carjacking is a first-degree felony, punishable by five years to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

Joyriding is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000; or a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.


Joyriding Charges in Utah

A person commits joyriding by exercising control over someone else’s vehicle without permission, with the intent to temporarily deprive the owner of the vehicle. Joyriding is punished more severely if the defendant does not return the vehicle within 24 hours, if the vehicle is damaged, or if the vehicle is used to commit a crime (Utah Code Ann. § 41-1a-1314.)

Those accused of theft crimes in Utah may be able to claim that they only intended to deprive the owner of the vehicle temporarily, in which case the crime would be considered joyriding, not motor vehicle theft.

In both theft and joyriding cases, defendants may have believed that they had the owner’s permission or consent to use the vehicle. It is a not a valid defense to say that someone occasionally had permission to use a vehicle, the issue is whether the person had permission to use the vehicle at the time of this particular situation.


Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP | Salt Lake City UT

Many people who are arrested on theft charges do have trouble navigating through complicated laws. An experienced criminal defense lawyer is familiar with both federal and state automobile theft laws and can aggressively protect your rights. We pride ourselves on ensuring that we investigate all details of your case and protect your rights from an initial arrest to the resolution of a case.

Our lawyers have defended clients charged with serious felonies in Salt Lake City Utah and surrounding areas for nearly two decades. Contact Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP at (801) 532-5297 for a no obligation consultation today.

This page was last updated on May 24, 2017.