Even though you may really want to take your neighbor’s sweepstakes notice out of his mailbox, you should know that mail theft in Utah is illegal—no matter how badly you want to win that prize.
What is Mail Theft?
Mail theft includes
• Hiding or
• Embezzling someone’s mail
It also means that you are not allowed to obtain a person’s mail by fraud or deception. In other words, if you pretend to be your neighbor and get the postman to give you his mail, you may be guilty of mail theft. Additionally, you may be accused of mail theft if you
• Conceal or
a person’s mail when you know or are pretty sure that the mail was stolen or obtained illegally. Taking stolen mail and holding onto it for a friend is illegal. Mail theft in Utah is charged based on the value of the mail stolen.
• Second degree felony—if the mail value is at least $5000
• Third degree felony—if the value is between $1000 and $4999
• Class A misdemeanor—if the value is less than $1000 or unknown
I Didn’t Know It Wasn’t My Mail–Honest!
There are some possible defenses to a charge of mail theft. For example, if you weren’t aware the mail belonged to someone else or you had a reasonable belief that the mail was for you. Also, if you obtain mail that belongs to your spouse who’s living with you, you may be able to use that as a defense.
No criminal charge is too small to ignore. If you’ve been charged with a crime, immediately contact a Utah criminal defense attorney for help. Let an experienced attorney who knows Utah law be your strongest defender.