Salt Lake City Wrongful Appropriation Lawyer

Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer

Wrongful appropriation is a little-known but serious crime in Utah. If you temporarily steal another person’s property, you can be charged with misdemeanor or even felony wrongful appropriation. This could lead to an embarrassing and invasive criminal investigation – with potential for jail time and fines to result. If you or a family member was arrested for wrongful appropriation in Utah, you need a competent and aggressive defense attorney with ample experience handling cases like yours.

Darwin Overson, founder of Overson & Bugden, is a Salt Lake City wrongful appropriation attorney with more than 16 years of experience fighting felony and misdemeanor charges. Representing both adults and juveniles throughout the state of Utah, Darwin is a tireless advocate for justice. Get the legal help you need if you were charged with wrongful appropriation. Contact Overson Law online, or call us today at (801) 758-2287 for a free legal consultation. We are available 24/7 to assist with your legal matter.

Wrongful Appropriation Charges in Utah

Wrongful appropriation is defined by state law at Utah Code § 76-6-404.5. The simplest way to define this offense is as temporary theft. As the statute provides under Utah Code § 76-6-404.5(1), someone commits the crime of wrongful appropriation if he or she “obtains or exercises unauthorized control over the property of another, without the consent of the owner… with intent to temporarily… possess, or use the property or to temporarily deprive the owner… of possession of the property.”

In other words, wrongful appropriation involves taking another person’s property without their permission, with the intent to either temporarily use the stolen object, or to temporarily remove it from its rightful owner. The prosecutor must prove that all of these elements were true or present in order for the defendant to be convicted of this offense.

Is Wrongful Appropriation a Misdemeanor or Felony?

Utah has two types of crimes: misdemeanors, which are less serious, and felonies, which are more serious. Each group contains three subcategories: Class A misdemeanors, Class B misdemeanors, and Class C misdemeanors, and first degree felonies, second degree felonies, and third degree felonies. These labels serve to indicate how severe a criminal offense is – and to determine what sorts of penalties may be imposed.

The way wrongful appropriation offenses are classified is unusual. For most crimes, the relevant statute will simply state whether the offense is a Class C misdemeanor, a Class B misdemeanor, and so forth. However, a wrongful appropriation charge will be graded based on what sort of theft violation the offense would have been under Utah Code § 76-6-412, the statute which explains how theft crimes should be graded.

For example, as Utah Code § 76-6-404.5(3)(a) provides, “[A criminal] violation which would have been… a second degree felony… if it had been theft is a third degree felony if it is wrongful appropriation.” The same rules apply as follows:

  • If the crime would have been third degree felony theft, it is Class A misdemeanor wrongful appropriation.
  • If the crime would have been Class A misdemeanor theft, it is Class B misdemeanor wrongful appropriation.
  • If the crime would have been Class B misdemeanor theft, it is Class C misdemeanor wrongful appropriation.

For instance, theft is a second degree felony if the value of the stolen items was above $5,000, or if the item was a functional car or gun, making the wrongful appropriation of such items a third degree felony.

Theft is a third degree felony, making wrongful appropriation a Class A misdemeanor, when the value of the stolen items was above $1,500 but below $5,000, or if the offender had certain prior convictions.

Theft is a Class A misdemeanor, making wrongful appropriation a Class B misdemeanor, if the value of the stolen items was $500 or more, but less than $1,500, or if the offender had certain past convictions.

Finally, theft is a Class B misdemeanor if the value of the stolen items was below $500, making an equivalent wrongful appropriation offense a Class C misdemeanor.

What Are the Penalties for Wrongful Appropriation?

As discussed above, wrongful appropriation may be graded as a third degree felony, Class A misdemeanor, Class B misdemeanor, or Class C misdemeanor. Utah’s criminal penalties for these classes of offenses are as follows:

  • Penalties for Class C Misdemeanors
    • Maximum Sentence – 90 days in jail
    • Maximum Fine – $750
  • Penalties for Class B Misdemeanors
    • Maximum Sentence – Six months in jail
    • Maximum Fine – $1,000
  • Penalties for Class A Misdemeanors
    • Maximum Sentence – Almost one year in jail (364 days)
    • Maximum Fine – $2,500
  • Penalties for Third Degree Felonies
    • Maximum Sentence – Five years in prison
    • Maximum Fine – $5,000

In some instances, it may be possible to perform unpaid work as an alternative to paying criminal fines. This option, which is only available in certain Class C and Class B misdemeanor cases, is known as “compensatory service.”

Salt Lake City Wrongful Appropriation Defense Attorney

Wrongful appropriation is a serious criminal charge that can land you in jail, cost you thousands of dollars, and burden you with a misdemeanor or felony record. Take defensive action to protect your rights and deal with the charges strategically. To set up a free legal consultation with Overson & Bugden, contact our law offices online, or call (801) 758-2287 to speak confidentially with a Salt Lake City lawyer for wrongful appropriation charges.