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Receiving or Transferring a Stolen Motor Vehicle - Utah Criminal Defense Attorney

Charges for receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle carries the same potential penalties as motor vehicle theft under Utah criminal law - including the potential for a felony conviction and up to 15 years in prison. If you are facing criminal charges in Utah, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard has the knowledge and experience necessary to protect your rights and to help ensure the best outcome for your case. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation and case analysis.

Elements of Transferring or Receiving a Stolen Motor Vehicle in Utah

When Utah police recover a vehicle that is believed to be stolen, they may not be able to determine who originally stole the vehicle. Unless police obtain a confession or locate an eyewitness who can identify the person who stole the vehicle, it can be difficult for police and prosecutors to obtain a conviction for an ordinary charge of vehicle theft. To overcome these difficulties, Utah prosecutors will sometimes file a charge referred to under Utah law as "receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer."

This offense only requires proof that the defendant had "in his possession any motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer that he knows or has reason to believe has been stolen or unlawfully taken." Utah police investigating a charge of receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle will often look at the condition of the vehicle for circumstantial evidence in an attempt to prove the required intent. Was the ignition damaged? Had the vehicle been hot wired? Were the keys to the vehicle present? If the vehicle is undamaged and the suspect can offer a plausible explanation for how the vehicle was obtained, the chances of beating the charge are improved.

If you are contacted by police in connection with a vehicle that is suspected to be stolen, you may be better off exercising your fifth amendment right to remain silent, even if you have a good explanation for how you obtained the vehicle. Talking to police in the field does not always help your case. Your wisest course of action may be to consult first with an attorney to determine when, how, and if you should present your side of the story.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City

Receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle in Utah is a felony charge that can result in a prison term of up to 15 years. Defending a Utah criminal case can be complicated, and the stakes are high.  The Utah criminal court system involves a complex set of procedural rules. Understanding how constitutional protections and statutory and procedural rights apply to the specific facts of your case requires an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney. If you are accused of receiving or possessing a stolen vehicle, you need an attorney with a record of real results.

As a criminal defense attorney based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah. If you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, contact us now to schedule an initial consultation.


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  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
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  • 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.
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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

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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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