Utah Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws

Definining Theft Under Utah Law

Under Utah law, “a person commits theft if he obtains or exercises unauthorized control over the property of another with a purpose to deprive him thereof.” (Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-404.) Basically, you commit theft in Utah by unlawfully taking someone else's property with the intent to keep it, or at least not return it to its owner.

Utah criminal statutes also identify a number of other specific theft offenses, including:

  • theft of motor vehicle fuel ( § 404.7.)
  • theft by deception ( § 405.)
  • theft by extortion ( § 406.)
  • theft of lost, mislaid, or mistakenly delivered property ( § 407.)
  • receiving stolen property ( § 408.)
  • theft of services ( § 409.)
  • theft of utility or cable television services ( § 409.3.)
  • theft by person having custody of property pursuant to repair or rental agreement ( § 410.)
  • theft of a rental vehicle ( § 410.5.)

Classification and Penalties for Theft in Utah

Utah, like many other states, classifies its theft offenses primarily according to the value of the property or services involved in the offense. Utah also classifies a few theft offenses according to the type of property taken, regardless of value. Let’s take a closer look at each Utah theft offense in detail.

Class B Misdemeanor Theft

Theft of property or services valued at less than $500 is a class B misdemeanor in the state of Utah. (Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-412(d). The punishment for a class B misdemeanor in Utah includes imprisonment for a term of no more than six months and a fine of no more than $1,000. ( § 76-3-204(2), § 76-3-301(1)(d).)

Class A Misdemeanor Theft

Theft of property or services valued at more than $500 but less than $1,500 is a class A misdemeanor in Utah. ( § 76-6-412(c).) The punishment for a class A misdemeanor in Utah includes imprisonment for no more than one year and a fine of no more than $2,500. ( § 76-3-204(1), § 76-3-301(1)(c).)

Third-Degree Felony Theft

Theft of property or services valued at more than $1,500 but less than $5,000 is a third degree felony in Utah. ( § 76-6-412(b).) Additionally, theft is a third degree felony in Utah if, within the past 10 years, the offender has twice been convicted of any kind of actual or attempted theft, robbery, fraud, or burglary with intent to commit theft. ( § 76-6-412(b)(ii).) The punishment for a third degree felony in Utah includes imprisonment for a term of no more than five years and a fine not to exceed $5,000. ( § 76-3-203(3), § 76-3-301(1)(b).)

Second-Degree Felony Theft

Theft of property or services valued at more than $5,000 is a second degree felony in Utah. Other theft offenses classified as a second degree felony in Utah -- regardless of the value of the property stolen -- include theft of a firearm or operable motor vehicle, and any theft committed while the offender is armed with a dangerous weapon. ( § 76-6-412(a).) The punishment for a second degree felony in Utah includes imprisonment for a term of no more than 15 years and a fine of no more than $10,000. ( § 76-3-203(2), § 76-3-301(1)(a).)

Civil Penalties for Theft in Utah

In addition to criminal penalties, a person who commits shoplifting in Utah can be civilly liable to the store owner for:

  • actual monetary damages, such as reimbursement of the full retail value of the merchandise if not returned in sellable condition
  • a penalty in the amount of the retail price of the merchandise (this penalty can't exceed $1,000)
  • an additional penalty to be set by the court, between $100 and $500, and
  • the storeowner's court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees in bringing the action.

The parent or legal guardian of a minor who commits shoplifting also may be civilly liable in some cases, although the penalties are not as great. More specifically, the penalty for the retail price of the merchandise is capped at $500 and the court-determined penalty ranges from $50 to $500. (Utah Code Ann. § 78B-3-108.)

Furthermore, Utah law provides for certain civil damages in specific types of theft offenses. A victim of theft is entitled to reimbursement for three times the actual damages sustained in the theft, as well as reasonable costs and attorney’s fees, in the following situations:

  • theft of livestock or animals raised for commercial purposes, when the offense does not amount to a second-degree felony ( §76-6-412(1)(b)(iii)).)
  • receiving stolen property, ( § 76-6-408(1).) and
  • release of fur-bearing animals raised for commercial purposes, when the offense that does not amount to a second-degree felony. ( § 76-6-413.)

Effect of Prior Convictions on Current Theft Charge in Utah

As noted above, theft is a third degree felony in Utah if, within the past 10 years, the offender has twice been convicted of any kind of actual or attempted theft, robbery, fraud, or burglary with intent to commit theft. ( § 76-6-412(b)(ii).)

If you've been arrested for or charge with a theft crime, keep in mind that this information is based on your states statutory law. The way the charge is prosecuted and the penalties applied can vary greatly between counties and even courts and judges. Always seek legal counsel from an attorney that practices criminal law in your area.

Talk to a Lawyer

Start here to find criminal defense lawyers near you.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS

Talk to a Defense attorney

We've helped 95 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you