Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Veteran Criminal Defense Lawyers / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409 now to see what the right attorney can do for you.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges

Salt Lake Criminal Defense Lawyer - Utah Motor Vehicle Theft

Criminal charges for theft of a motor vehicle in Utah can result in felony conviction and substantial jail or prison time. As a Utah criminal defense lawyer based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard has extensive experience defending clients against serious felony and misdemeanor charges. If you are facing criminal charges for motor vehicle theft in Utah (referred to as "grand theft auto" in some other states), contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

Theft of a Motor Vehicle in Utah - Elements

Under Utah law, the level of a criminal charge for theft can range from mid-level misdemeanor to serious felony, and in most cases is determined by the value of the item(s) taken. But in the case of a car, truck, van, or other motor vehicle, a theft charge automatically starts at the second degree felony level - regardless of the value of the vehicle involved. Thus, in order to prove a second degree felony motor vehicle theft charge, a prosecutor must prove all of the the elements of a standard theft charge (unauthorized control over the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner thereof), and also prove that the property taken was an operable motor vehicle.

In some cases, police may find a person in possession of a vehicle that is believed to be stolen, but the police may not be able to find evidence to prove that the person possessing the vehicle actually stole the vehicle. In such cases, prosecutors may file a charge of theft by receiving or a more specific charge of receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle. For either charge, the prosecutor must be able to present evidence suggesting that the person knew or at least had reason to believe that the vehicle was stolen. Merely possessing a stolen vehicle, without proof that the person had the required state of mind or intent, does not constitute a criminal offense in Utah.

Related offenses under the Utah criminal code include theft of a rental vehicle, unauthorized control over a motor vehicle (joyriding) 41-1a-1314, false evidence of title and registration 41-1a-1315, altered registration or license plates 41-3-703, and driving without registration. Any of these criminal charges can carry serious consequences. Hiring an experienced criminal lawyer can give you the best chance of success in your case.

Consequences of Conviction for Motor Vehicle Theft in Utah

Motor vehicle theft charges in Utah typically begin at the second degree felony level, punishable by a maximum sentence of 1-15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 plus a 90% surcharge. Utah criminal law also provides an enhancement for group criminal activity (often called a "gang enhancement") which can increase the level of the offense to a first degree felony punishable by up to life in prison if the offense is committed "in concert with two or more persons."

Finding a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah

Stephen Howard is an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer who represents clients charged with motor vehicle theft and other crimes throughout Utah.  From his office in Salt Lake City, he has successfully handled thousands of serious felony charges.  His track record includes not guilty verdicts or outright dismissals on cases including theft, burglary, aggravated robbery, and more.

As a criminal defense attorney based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah.  If you have been charged with vehicle theft or any other crime in Utah, contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client at trial.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
  • Utah 402 Reduction Attorney Felony Reduced - Client with prior felony conviction was granted a 402 reduction to the misdemeanor level over the objection of the prosecutor. Based on information provided to the court in support of the defense motion, the judge ruled in favor of the defense.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahDismissed at Preliminary Hearing - Client charged with aggravated robbery and facing life in prison. Full case analysis and consultation with client allowed the development of a strong defense strategy. Effective cross-examination of the alleged victim at the preliminary hearing resulted in an outright dismissal of all charges by the judge.
  • Recent Posts
  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • Utah Misdemeanor Attorney Salt Lake Can I handle a Utah misdemeanor from out-of-state? - Even if you do not intend to take your case to trial, a misdemeanor criminal offense in Utah can require multiple court appearances to reach a resolution. If you have been charged with a crime in Utah, but are not a Utah resident, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you resolve the case without returning to the state. . . .
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

You want the best defense. Agressive is good. But results ultimately are what really matter. Creating an effective strategy for defending against criminal prosecution requires a thorough understanding of statutes, case law, and evidentiary and procedural rules. A successful outcome is more likely when....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Defending against a criminal prosecution in Utah is a job that has to be done right the first time. Choosing the right attorney to defend you can be the most important decision you make. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling some of the most serious felony and misdemeanor charges on the books in Utah. No matter what charges you are facing, we can help....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

A Utah criminal prosecution can result in a lifetime of consequences. Beyond jail and prison, a conviction can affect many areas of life, including employment, housing, finances, family, and much more. Never plead guilty without first consulting with an experienced criminal attorney. Understanding what is at stake is the first step....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. But just being charged can affect more than you may have imagined - jail, job, family, bills, rent or mortgage. It can feel like everything has gone wrong, and may you wonder if anything can go right. But facing criminal prosecution does not mean giving up hope....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

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

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.