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Utah Theft Crimes

Definition of Theft

A person commits theft if he/she obtains or exercises unauthorized control over the property of another with a purpose to deprive him thereof. "Purpose to deprive" means to have the conscious object to:(a) withhold property permanently or for so extended a period or to use under such circumstances that a substantial portion of its economic value, or of the use and benefit thereof, would be lost; or (b) to restore the property only upon payment of a reward or other compensation; or (c) to dispose of the property under circumstances that make it unlikely that the owner will recover it.

 

Classifications

Theft is a second degree felony if: (1) the value of the property stolen is more than $5,000; (2) the theft was of a firearm or an operable motor vehicle; (3) the actor was armed with a dangerous weapon when the theft occurred; (4) the property is stolen from the person of another.

Theft is a third degree felony if the value of the property stolen is between $1,500 and $5,000. 

Theft is a class A misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is between $500 and $1,500.

Theft is a class B misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is less than $500.

Definition of Intent

In order to convict a person of theft, the prosecution needs to prove that the defendant intended to commit a theft.  A person engages in conduct intentionally, or with intent or willfully with respect to the nature of his conduct or to a result of his conduct, when it is his conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result.

Enhancement

Theft is an enhanceable offense, meaning that as the defendant collects prior convictions, the levels and penalties increase for subsequent convictions.

 

Theft is a third degree felony if a defendant has two prior theft convictions within 10 years and one of the previous convictions is a Class A misdemeanor.

Theft is a class A misdemeanor if a defendant has two prior theft convictions within 10 years.

 

Defenses to Theft Cases

The following are recognized defenses to theft.

 

The defendant:

(a) Acted under an honest claim of right to the property or service involved; or

(b) Acted in the honest belief that he had the right to obtain or exercise control over the property or service as he did; or

(c) Obtained or exercised control over the property or service honestly believing that the owner, if present, would have consented.

(d) Lacked the intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property.