Utah Metal Scrap Statute

The State Metals Theft Laws summaries are not intended to provide or be relied as a legal advice. This material is provided to serve as a reasonable compilation of the most current state scrap laws and is intended to be a resource or supplement to, and provide ideas for, compliance with all applicable laws. The ISRI State Scrap Laws are subject to change and readers should visit http://www.isri.org/metalstheftdb to make certain they are reading the most recent version of ISRI's summaries of the State Metals Theft Laws
Overview of Provisions (use the section titles to travel directly to that section)

Please Note: Amendments by 2016 Utah HB 269 to the Penalties provision, effective May 10, 2016, are included and noted in this summary.

Materials Covered and Other Definitions

"Regulated Metal" includes any item composed primarily of nonferrous metal as well as following, but excludes ferrous metals not listed, household-generated recyclables, items composed wholly of light iron or sheet steel, aluminum beverage containers, or containers used solely for containing food:

  • Aluminum, brass, copper, lead, chromium, tin, nickel, or alloys, and lead that is a part of an automotive or industrial lead battery;
  • Property that is a Regulated Metal and that is owned by, and also identified by marking or other means as the property of a utility or a railroad company;
  • Unused and undamaged building construction materials made of metal or alloy (specifically lists copper pipe, tubing, or wiring, and aluminum wire, siding, downspouts, or gutters as examples of included property);
  • Oil well rigs, including any part of the rig;
  • Nonferrous materials, stainless steel, and nickel; and
  • Irrigation pipe.

"Ferrous Metal" means a metal that contains significant quantities of iron or steel.

"Nonferrous Metal" means a metal that does not contain significant quantities of iron or steel, including copper, brass, aluminum, bronze, lead, zinc, nickel, and their alloys.

"Suspect Metal Items" are the following items made of regulated metal:

  • Manhole covers and sewer grates;
  • Gas meters and water meters;
  • Traffic signs, street signs, aluminum street light poles, communications transmission towers, and guard rails;
  • Grave site monument vases and monument plaques;
  • Any monument plaque;
  • Brass or bronze bar stock and bar ends;
  • Ingots;
  • Nickel and nickel alloys containing greater than 50% nickel;
  • #1 and #2 copper as defined by the most recent ISRI Scrap Specifications Circular;
  • Unused and undamaged building materials, including: greenline copper; copper pipe, tubing, or wiring; and aluminum wire, siding, downspouts, or gutters;
  • Catalytic converters;
  • Automotive and industrial lead batteries; and
  • Wire that has been burned or that has the appearance of having been burned.

"Catalytic Converter" means a motor vehicle exhaust system component that reduces vehicle emissions by breaking down harmful exhaust emissions.

A Manhole cover or sewer grate, an electric light pole, or a guard rail is subject to special recordkeeping requirements and payment restrictions.

"Dealer" means any scrap metal processor, secondary metals dealer or recycler, or a metals refiner, but does not include:

  • Junk dealers;
  • Solid waste management facilities as defined in Section 19-6-502; or
  • The following businesses that are authorized to accept delivery of used lead batteries for recycling under Section 19-6-603, Section 19-6-604, and Section 19-6-605: Retailers, wholesalers, battery manufacturers, and secondary lead smelters.

"Scrap Metal Processor" means any person who, from a fixed location, utilizes machinery and equipment for processing and manufacturing iron, steel, or nonferrous scrap into prepared grades; and whose principal product is scrap iron, scrap steel, or nonferrous metallic scrap, not including precious metals, for sale for remelting purposes.

"Secondary Metals Dealer or Recycler" means any person who is engaged in the business of purchasing, collecting, or soliciting regulated metal; or operates or maintains a facility where regulated metal is purchased or kept for shipment, sale, transfer, or salvage.

"Metals Refiner" means an individual or business that refines or melts any Regulated Metal, but does not include an individual or business that primarily uses ore, concentrate, or other primary materials in refining, melting, or producing any Regulated Metal.

"Junk Dealer" means all persons, firms, or corporations engaged in the business of purchasing or selling secondhand or castoff material, including ropes, cordage, bottles, bagging, rags, rubber, paper, and other like materials, but not including Regulated Metal.

"Identification" means a United States' state or federal government issued form of ID with a numerical identifier, photograph, and date of birth of the person identified.


From the Recordkeeping provision and the Special Recordkeeping and Payment Requirements provision (covering certain government property or "Suspect Metal"), the law exempts a business with an established account if the business has a valid business license and one of the following apply:

  • The Dealer has a statement on file identifying employees authorized to sell metals, conducts regulated metal transactions only with identified employees; and records the name of the employee when recording the transaction;
  • The Dealer has on file reasonable documentation from the business that any person verified as representing the business as an employee, and whom the dealer has verified is an employee, may sell regulated metal; or
  • The dealer pays by issuing a check to the business employing the Seller.

Dealers must record the following in English in a written or electronic log for each transaction of regulated metal:

  • A complete description of the regulated metal, including weight and metallic description, in accordance with scrap metal recycling industry standards;
  • The full name and residence of each person selling the regulated metal;
  • The vehicle type and license number of the vehicle transporting the metal;
  • The price per pound and amount paid for each type of regulated metal purchased;
  • Date, Time, and Place of the purchase;
  • The type and identifying number of a form of identification that is a valid United States federal or state-issued photo ID, which includes a drivers license, a U.S. passport card, or a U.S. military identification card;
  • The Seller's signature on a certificate stating the Seller's legal right to sell;

One of the following:

  • A digital photo or still video of the Seller taken at the time of the sale; or
  • A clearly legible copy of the Seller's identification.

For repeat Sellers using the same delivery vehicle, A Dealer may maintain the record information provided above from an initial transaction and relate subsequent transactions to that initial record, except for each transaction the Dealer must also record:

  • A photograph of the Seller; and
  • A signature of the Seller
Suspect Metal Items - Additional Recordkeeping

For purchases of Suspect Metal Items, Dealers must also obtain the following information in writing provided by the owner of the item:

  • The Owner's telephone number;
  • The Owner's business or residential address, which may not be a post box;
  • A copy of the Owner's driver license; and
  • A signed statement that the person is the lawful owner and authorizes the Seller, identified by name, to sell the suspect metal.
Special Recordkeeping/Payment Requirements

For purchases of a manhole cover or sewer grate, an electric light pole, or a guard rail, in addition to the recordkeeping requirements for Regulated Metals, a Dealer must either:

  • Collect and retain reasonable documentation that the Seller is an employee, agent, or contractor of a governmental entity and is authorized to sell on their behalf; or
  • Pay the government entity by check.

Records must be retained for at least 3 years from the date of entry.


Records must be open to inspection during regular business hours by the following officers with jurisdiction over the Dealer's business area: county sheriff or deputies; any law enforcement agency; and any constable or other state, municipal, or county official in the county in which the dealer does business. Upon request, the Dealer shall make records available for inspection by any law enforcement agency during regular business hours.

Notice to Sellers

Dealers must maintain at their place of business the following clearly legible notice in 2 inch high lettering in a prominent place in open view to a Seller of Regulated Metal:


Qualifications to Sell to Dealer

A Dealer may not purchase Regulated Metal from a person who is younger than 18 or who fails to provide the information required under the Recordkeeping provision.

Purchase Hours

A Dealer may only purchase Regulated Metal between 6 AM and 7 PM.


A Dealer must hold Regulated Metal for 60 days after receiving a written hold notice from a law enforcement agency that identifies the items alleged stolen and subject to the hold and informs the dealer of the hold requirements. The hold may be released earlier by the law enforcement agency or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction. On the expiration of the hold notice period the hold is automatically released, and the Dealer may dispose of the Regulated Metal unless otherwise directed by a court of competent jurisdiction.


Penalties (italicized text added by HB 269, effective May 10, 2016)

Any Dealer who violates the law is guilty of a class C misdemeanor and subject to a mandatory fine of no less than $750 if convicted, or a class A misdemeanor for a subsequent violation and a mandatory fine of no less than $2,500 if convicted.

Any Seller who, in providing the information required, willfully makes a false statement or provides untrue information is guilty of a class B misdemeanor and subject to a mandatory fine of no less than $1,000 if convicted, or a class A misdemeanor for a subsequent violation and a mandatory fine of no less than $2,500 if convicted.

A Seller or Dealer may be charged with any other criminal offense related to obtaining, possessing, or selling stolen Regulated Metals.

Under Section 76-6-412.5, a person who commits or attempts a theft of Regulated Metal and causes damage to any person's real or personal property other than the Regulated Metal in the course of the theft is liable for restitution of all costs incurred due to the damage.

Partial Preemption

The law does not impair the authority of a county or municipality:

  • To license, tax, and regulate any junk dealer or metal dealer, except that local regulations may not be any less stringent than the provisions of the state law; or
  • To revoke or deny any business license or permit required by the county or municipality to sell, purchase, or possess metal, including for a violation of state law.

©2016. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

This summary of State Metals Theft Laws is being viewed on this website under license and is owned and copyrighted by Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. ("ISRI"),1615 L Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036.