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Theft by Receiving Stolen Property - Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer

Under the Utah criminal code, a person can be convicted of theft for simply possessing or receiving stolen property - even when the evidence is clear that another person stole the property. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights and help you achieve the best outcome for your case. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard represents clients throughout Utah. He has achieved success in defending clients against theft, burglary, robbery, and other related criminal charges. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

Elements of a Utah Criminal Charge for Theft by Receiving Stolen Property

Theft by receiving stolen property is defined broadly under Utah's criminal law, to include any person who "receives, retains, or disposes of the property of another knowing that it has been stolen, or believing that it probably has been stolen, or who conceals, sells, withholds or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding the property from the owner, knowing the property to be stolen, intending to deprive the owner of it." In many Utah criminal cases, the two key elements of this statute are the person's knowledge or belief that the property was stolen and also their intent to deprive the owner of that property.

Interestingly, this criminal charge does not require any proof that the property actually was stolen. The statute also allows for charges even if the defendant mistakenly believed that the property was stolen. This could become a key issue in a case where, for example, police conducted an undercover sting operation. In such a situation, if a person takes possession of property from an undercover officer under circumstances that would lead an ordinary person to believe the property was stolen, then that person could face criminal charges of theft by receiving stolen property.

In order to obtain a conviction for this charge, a prosecutor must also prove the "intent to deprive the owner" of the property. A person who finds stolen property and takes possession of it with the purpose of returning that property to its rightful owner is not guilty of this crime.

Penalties for Theft by Receiving in Utah

The consequences of a criminal conviction in Utah can be severe. Under Utah criminal law, the level of a theft by receiving stolen property charge is usually based on the value of the property involved. Property valued at less than $500 typically results in a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail. But as the value increases, so does the level of the offense, up to the second degree felony level punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Certain theft charges in Utah do not depend on the value of the item. For example, a theft by receiving charge involving a motor vehicle or a firearm become automatic second degree felony charges, regardless of the value of the car or gun.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake

Stephen Howard is a Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer representing clients charged with theft by receiving and other criminal charges throughout Utah. He has a track record of achieving real results for his clients. He has achieved not guilty verdicts and dismissals in Utah criminal cases of theft, robbery, burglary, and more.

If you are charged with theft by receiving or other crimes in Utah, you need an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer on your side.  Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation.


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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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