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Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
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Joyriding Defense Attorney - Utah Criminal Lawyer

A joyriding charge in Utah (unauthorized control over a motor vehicle) could result in a felony conviction and a prison term of up to five years and thousands of dollars in fines. If you are facing criminal charges for joyriding or exercising unauthorized control over a motor vehicle, it is critical to have an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney on your side. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard has successfully defended some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah. He has a record of achieving real results for his clients. Contact us today to arrange an initial consultation.

Elements of a Joyriding Charge (Unlawful Control Over Motor Vehicle)

Utah technically has no crime of "joyriding." Under Utah's criminal code, the crime commonly referred to as "joyriding" is called "unauthorized control over a motor vehicle." Unlike motor vehicle theft, "unauthorized control" only requires that the person charged have the intent to "temporarily" deprive the owner of the vehicle.

Many joyriding charges in Utah begin as vehicle theft cases.  If the vehicle is not returned before police locate it, a prosecutor or jury may conclude that the person with the car never intended to return it.  If a person has the intent to keep the vehicle, the charge becomes a second degree felony vehicle theft punishable by up to 15 years in prison.  If you are charged with vehicle theft, a good criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a misdemeanor joyriding charge.

Penalties for Joyriding Convictions in Utah

The severity of a joyriding conviction in Utah can depend on the length of time that the vehicle is missing. If the vehicle is gone for more than 24 hours, a third degree felony may be charged with potential punishment of up to five years in prison. If the vehicle is returned within 24 hours, it is typically charged as a class A misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail.

The time periods involved in determining the level of a joyriding charge are premised on the idea that the defendant is the person who returns the vehicle. If police recover the vehicle and return it within the 24 period, the charge can still be filed as a third degree felony.

A third degree felony can also be filed for joyriding if the vehicle is damaged while under the control of the defendant.

Finding a Criminal Attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah

As an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney, Stephen Howard has successfully handled thousands of criminal cases for clients during his career. He has a record of achieving real results for clients. Based in Salt Lake City, he provides legal services to clients throughout Utah.

If you are facing joyriding charges or prosecution for other Utah crimes, you need an experienced criminal attorney on your side. Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation with Utah criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard.


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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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