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Theft

What’s On Laurie’s Mind: Answering ‘How Do You Defend Someone You Know is Guilty?’

Aug. 31st 2016
Criminal Defense Is about What Can be Proven, Explains Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Laurie Schmidt

Criminal Defense Is about What Can be Proven, Explains Denver Attorney Laurie Schmidt

One question I get asked a lot is: How do you defend a person if you know that he/she is guilty?

It’s my humble opinion that this is asking the wrong question. Criminal law is different than any other area of the law because it has the focus always on the prosecutor or government. This dates back to the formation of our country. Back in the time of the tea party days, the British Government would accuse a person of a crime, right or wrong, this person then had the enormous task of proving himself/herself innocent. This led to abuse in prosecuting people to serve the crown and/or political interests. To avoid this, our founding fathers set our criminal law system up to require the government to prove a person’s guilt.

A criminal defense attorney’s job is to ensure that this standard is protected and that the government is not allowed to prosecute without checks and balances. A criminal defense attorney is the check on the government, to make sure the evidence is sufficient for a conviction, to ensure fairness in our system, and to ensure our rights are respected. So, to me, the question is not did he/she do it, but can it be proven.

If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, let’s talk about your defense options. Call me at (303) 747-4686 or email me – Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Laurie Schmidt – for effective, aggressive defense representation.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in arrest, DUI Post, Felony, Theft, traffic ticket; | Comments Off on What’s On Laurie’s Mind: Answering ‘How Do You Defend Someone You Know is Guilty?’

Changes to Felony Theft Laws In Colorado

Jul. 17th 2013

What is considered felony theft charges in Colorado?

Felony Theft, sometimes called felony grand theft in Colorado is typically defined by the amount of the property or money involved and is found in C.R.S. 18-4-401.  If the amount allegedly to have been taken is over $2,000, than you may be charged with felony theft or felony grand theft in Colorado.  Here are a listing of the potential felony theft charges in Colorado:

Class 6 felony – amount is over $2,000 but less than $5,000

Class 5 felony ­- amount involved is $5,000 but less than $20,000.00

Class 4 felony – amount involved is $20,000 but less than $100,000

Class 3 felony – amount involved is $100,000 but less than $1 million

Class 2 felony – amount involved is over $1 million dollars

The difference between the Classes of felony is the severity of the punishment.  Please see our post, felony punishment for more information.

Other charges with felony theft charges in Colorado

It is common for the DA to charge other felonies and/or misdemeanors in connection with the felony theft charge.  Some of the most common are breaking and entering, assault, fraud, and/or forgery.

In addition, felony grand theft can be charged even if the person did not physically take the property or money.  This is most common cases are fraud cases, in which the DA alleged that a person stole by defrauding or coning a person out of the money.

Ways DA increases severity of felony grand theft in Colorado

If two or more thefts alleged occur within a period of six months, all may be treated as one incident, thus allow for a higher level of charges.  Depending on the amount involved, this could allow a DA to charge felony grand theft instead of several smaller petty and/or misdemeanor thefts.  This “bundling” allows the DA to charge a higher level of crime for several acts.

If a person is accused of committing theft two or more times against the same person pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct – the DA could charge a higher level of felony grand theft or felony theft in Colorado.  All thefts would be bundled together to get the highest felony charge possible.

The consequences of being charged with felony theft or felony grand theft in Colorado are harsh.  If you or a loved one are accused of felony theft in Colorado – don’t wait, contact us today at (303) 747-4686 for a free case evaluation.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in arrest, Theft | Comments Off on Changes to Felony Theft Laws In Colorado

It’s a First Offense Shoplifting- What Happens if I Get Caught Shoplifting in Colorado?

Mar. 5th 2013

I got caught shoplifting, what will happen to me?

Shoplifting, even a first offense, is charged as a theft offense in Colorado, even if you gave the merchandise back.  Giving the items back does not mean that you cannot be charged or even convicted of shoplifting.  It could mean that you would not have to pay restitution for the item a may be a mitigating factor in considering a sentence.

The severity of a first offense shoplifting charge will depend on the amount allegedly taken.  Shoplifting an item or items under $500.00 is a class 2 misdemeanor, if the amount is between $500.00 but below $1,000.00 it would be a class 1 misdemeanor.  If the amount taken is over $1,000.00 you could face felony theft charges for shoplifting.  A conviction for shoplifting is a theft conviction and could have future consequences, such as denial of a job application.  Contact a criminal defense attorney to review your specific situation.

If this is a first offense shoplifting or the amount taken was relatively low, you may not have been arrested and taken to jail on the date you were accused of shoplifting.  It is common for you to receive a citation only for a shoplifting charge with a notice to appear at a specific court on a specific date and time.  Carefully look and remember that date and time.  This is your court date, you must appear, if you do not appear, a judge could order a bench warrant for your arrest.

What can I expect at the first hearing if I’m accused of shoplifting?

if this is a first offense shoplifting- this may be your first experience with courts and the criminal justice process.  At the first hearing you will hear the charges against you and possibility receive a plea offer from the prosecutor.  The plea offer would be a plea of guilty to the shoplifting charge and the punishment that the prosecutor wants you to complete.  You have a right to have an attorney with you during this process, if you cannot afford one, you may qualify for the public defenders services.  If you think that you can explain to the judge or prosecutor any mitigating factors, don’t.  Get an attorney; attorneys are professional negotiators who know how and when to present any mitigating factors in shoplifting cases.

What could my punishment for shoplifting be?

If it is a first offense shoplifting, you may be eligible for a diversion program or a no jail offer.  This would depend on the jurisdiction in which you are being charged and the amount that was allegedly taken.

If you have prior theft or shoplifting charges, the punishments could increase and you risk elevating the offense to a felony.  For example, two or more shoplifting charges within six months, may be charged as a felony if the total amount is over $1,000.00.   See our general page on Colorado theft law for more detailed information.

Thank you for visiting our post on shoplifting.  For more information about the author, Laurie Schmidt, click here or to talk about your specific situation, you can contact us by clicking here or call us at (303) 747-4686.

Posted by Laurie Schmidt | in arrest, Theft | Comments Off on It’s a First Offense Shoplifting- What Happens if I Get Caught Shoplifting in Colorado?