Having a theft offense on your criminal record is a serious matter. Even if you avoid jail or prison time for a theft conviction, it will still show up on background checks for years to come, which could make it difficult for you to find employment or secure a loan, among other things.
If you’ve been charged with a theft crime, your best bet is to retain the services of a criminal defense attorney in Denver. The Weber Law criminal defense team can review your case and develop an iron-clad defense for you. Call today for compassionate and effective representation.
Theft Crimes in Colorado
Theft in Colorado means obtaining, retaining, or exercising control over something of value belonging to another without permission. Whether theft is charged as a misdemeanor or felony depends on the value of the property and the circumstances of the alleged crime.
In some instances, the nature of the stolen goods can affect the penalty. For example, stealing a gun is more serious than stealing other types of goods, even if they’re of the same monetary value.
Another thing to note is that keeping a borrowed item after an agreed-upon time can also be considered theft.
A misdemeanor commonly comes with jail time and fines. The following are the classifications and penalty levels for misdemeanor theft charges in Colorado:
- $50 or Less – Class 1 Petty Offense punishable by up to 10 days in jail and a $300 fine
- $50 to $300 – Class 3 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $750 fine
- $300 to $750 – Class 2 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine
- $750 to $2,000 – Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine
Felony theft is also referred to as grand theft and also carries harsh penalties. These are the classifications and punishments for felony theft charges in Colorado:
- $2,000 to $5,000 – Class 6 Felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison, $100,000 in fines, and a mandatory one-year parole period.
- $5,000 to $20,000 – Class 5 Felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison, $100,000 in fines, and a mandatory two-year parole period.
- $20,000 to $100,000 – Class 4 Felony punishable by up to 6 years in prison, $500,000 in fines, and a mandatory three-year parole period.
- $100,000 to $1 million – Class 3 Felony punishable by up to 12 years in prison, $750,000 in fines, and a mandatory five-year parole period.
- Over $1,000,000 – Up to a 24-year prison sentence, $1 million in fines, and a mandatory five-year parole.
As you can see, the penalties increase as the value of the theft climbs. Our criminal defense team can help you avoid the maximum sentence or even get your criminal charges dropped. If it’s your first offense and the property is valued at less than $2,000, we can possibly get your record expunged.
Common Defenses for Theft in Colorado
In the United States, the accused is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A defense attorney works on this principle to raise doubt. Here are some of the most effective defense strategies our attorneys use when dealing with the Colorado criminal justice system.
In most cases, if you don’t give the police permission to search, they must obtain a search warrant or use one of the warrant exceptions. If they search you or your property illegally, it’s inadmissible in court — even if they recover the stolen items.
Police require a lawful reason to stop and detain you. They are allowed to initiate a consensual encounter, but law enforcement officers often exceed their authority and stop individuals who they believe are involved in theft cases against their will.
If the police stopped you illegally, your attorney could use this fact to help you beat a theft conviction.
The police cannot entice or trick you into committing a crime. For instance, a law enforcement officer working in an undercover capacity can’t encourage you to break Colorado theft laws, like shoplifting or trafficking stolen property.
If your attorney can show that they did this, it could be grounds for dropping your charges.
When it comes to the ownership of personal property, there’s often a gray area as to when ownership was transferred. For instance, you make a purchase in installments and believe you can take possession of the property, but the seller claims that you were supposed to complete payment first.
What to Do if You Are Being Charged For Theft in Denver
Even if you know you’ve been wrongfully accused of a crime, it’s important to think defensively. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, and they have to demonstrate guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Many individuals who have been charged under a Colorado theft statute make the mistake of trying to talk their way out of their charges, hoping for a speedy resolution. This is particularly common with petty theft where the crime seems less consequential. However, this will not get you out of trouble and could strengthen the case against you.
Whether you know you committed the crime of theft or you’ve been charged with theft under false pretenses, it’s to your benefit to remain silent until you can discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney in Denver or Adams County.
Frequently Asked Questions About Theft Charges
These are some of the most common questions our attorneys hear from clients who come to our law offices seeking legal advice. For answers to your questions and to discuss your case, contact Weber Law today.
What Is the Difference Between Theft and Robbery Under Colorado Law?
Because robberies almost always involve the theft of property, the two terms are commonly confused. A person who knowingly retains anything of value by the use of force, threats, or intimidation has committed a robbery.
Robbery is charged as a felony, even if the subject is accused of stealing property valued at less than $2,000, which would otherwise be a misdemeanor theft in the absence of the other elements of the crime.
What’s the Difference Between Burglary and Robbery?
Another charge that is commonly confused with theft is burglary. Burglary involves a subject knowingly entering the property of another with the intent to commit a crime. The crime is often theft, which is why many people are confused about these charges.
You can be charged with burglary and theft, even if they were part of the same crime. Like robbery, burglary can be charged as a felony, even if the money value of the goods in question was less than $2,000.
What Determines Whether Theft Is Charged as a Felony or a Misdemeanor?
In general, misdemeanor theft applies to property stolen with an aggregate value of under $2,000. Felony charges are reserved for thefts of items valued over $2,000. It’s important to understand that the prosecutor will go after you for the total value of the goods.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?
If you’re facing Colorado theft charges, a criminal defense lawyer can review the evidence against you, subpoena and depose the officers involved, and build a solid defense. If the case against you is strong, your attorney can try to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution to get your charges reduced.
Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers
Whether you’re facing felony or misdemeanor charges for theft, you need to take the matter seriously. Even a single entry on your criminal record can have life-changing consequences. A Denver criminal defense lawyer can help.
If you’ve been charged with theft, contact Weber Law in Denver to discuss your case. Our law offices stand ready to fight for your rights. Call today!