Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Take the first step in securing a successful defense.
Call 801-449-1409 now to see what our team 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 AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client was facing multiple cases involving first-degree felony drug distribution charges for allegedly selling to a confidential informant. Defense analysis of the case revealed fatal flaws in the prosecution case that ultimately resulted in a complete dismissal of all cases and charges.
  • 402 Reduction Lawyer Utah 2-Step Reduction - Client needed a two-step reduction to bring a prior conviction to the misdemeanor level. Collection of substantial evidence of reform and rehabilitation convinced a normally reluctant prosecutor to stipulate to the defense 402 reduction motion.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahProbation - Client charged with aggravated robbery based on allegations he entered a store with a gun and mask and demanded cash. Client confessed to police before hiring a defense attorney. Defense mitigation efforts resulted in a negotiated resolution that removed life in prison as a possibility, and secured a probation sentence from the court.
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

The right criminal defense lawyer can work with you to develop a defense strategy designed to achieve the best results. Hiring a Utah criminal attorney with real courtroom experience and an in-depth understanding of the legal issues involved in defending against a criminal prosecution can help ensure the best...

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

With decades of combined experience, our criminal defense team attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and determination to help you achieve the results you need. Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can have serious consequences. Choosing the best attorney to defend your case may be one of the most important decisions you will ever make....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

Even a "minor" misdemeanor carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. The direct penalties and collateral consequences of a felony conviction are even more severe. Understanding these consequences is critical as you make decisions relating to your case. Even in a misdemeanor case, you should not....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Never give up hope. Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. And it is usually not the end of the world. While the consequences of a criminal charge can be serious, there are often several options and strategies for handling your case. Understanding your options and how an experienced criminal lawyer can help....

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.