Theft Charges in Colorado
If you are charged with a theft related crime, you need a Colorado Criminal lawyer to protect your rights and aggressively fight for you. In Colorado, theft charges and any resulting conviction, even as a misdemeanor, could have far reaching consequences.
A conviction for a theft related crime could have grave legal and personal consequences, regardless if you face a misdemeanor or felony theft charge. You could face fines, probation, restricted access to places or location, restricted fourth amendment rights, and have a possible priorable offense. Theft crimes are considered crimes of moral turpitude and could impact your ability to gain or maintain employment, impact your ability to gain admission or continue in school and/or receive financial aid.
Colorado Theft Crimes
Traditionally, we think of “theft” as taking someone’s property without the owner’s consent and/or knowledge. For example, stealing another person’s wallet. The reality is that theft charges, found in Colorado Revised Statute CRS 18-4-401 in Colorado are much broader and can encompass a broad range of conduct and be joined with other crimes, such as fraud, forgery, and burglary.
Theft crimes occurs when a person obtains (either actually taking, taking by threat, or taking by deception) anything of value without the consent of the true owner. Theft charges can result from fraudulent returns to a store such as Target, i.e.; returning property that was not properly paid for or that was not legally obtained. Theft can also be charged if a person is accused of deceiving someone into giving property or money under false pretenses.
In Colorado theft can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. Typically, the amount involved determines the level of charges:
Felony Theft Charges
Class 2 Felony – amount involved has a value over $1 Million. For a Class 2 felony, the presumptive range for punishment is eight to 24 years imprisonment and/or up to a million dollar fine.
Class 3 Felony – amount involved has a value over $100,000.00 but less than $1 Million. For a Class 3 felony, the presumptive range for punishment is four to twelve years imprisonment and/or a fine.
Class 4 Felony – amount involved has a value over $20,000.00 but less than $100,000 The presumptive range for a Class 4 felony is two to six years imprisonment and/or a fine.
Class 5 Felony – amount involved has a value of over $5,000.00 but less than $20,000.00. The presumptive range for a Class 5 Felony is one year to three years in imprisonment and/or a fine.
Class 6 Felony – amount involved has a value of over $2,000.00 but less than $5,000.00. The presumptive range for a Class 6 Felony is one year to 18 months in imprisonment and/or a fine.
*** NOTE: The presumptive range is for generic allegation of the class of crime, there are exceptional circumstances and factors that could increase the potential punishment. In order to determine potential maximum and minimum penalty ranges for a particular crime, contact us or your local criminal defense attorney.
Aggravating theft charges
The government could also use multiple thefts in a short amount of time (within 6 months) or multiple thefts from one victim as a single theft to alleged the highest degree of felony theft charges.
Regardless of the value of the thing taken, theft from the person of another by means other than the use of force, threat, or intimidation is a class 5 felony. T
Misdemeanor Theft Convictions – 18-4-401
Class 1 Misdemeanor – amount involved has a value over $750.00 but under $2,000.00; this is punishable with up to 18 months in jail and/or a $5,000.00 fine.
Class 2 Misdemeanor – amount involved has a value of $300.00 but under $750.00; this is punishable with up to 12 months in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine.
Class 3 Misdemeanor – amount involved has a value of $50.00 but under $300.00; this is punishable with up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine.
Class 1 Petty Offense- amount involved has a value under $50.00; this is punishable with up to 6 months in jail and/or fine.
Many shoplifting charges in Colorado will result in a violation of a municipal code, which could be charges as a misdemeanor, even if the amount involved is under $50.00.
Proving Theft without a “taking”
The government may try to prove a theft crime, by showing that the property was taken with the consent of the owner, but was still taken illegally. Below are some common examples:
Embezzlement – act of dishonestly withholding property by a person to whom it had been entrusted. A classic example is an employee who keeps money from the sale of a transaction.
False Pretenses– a person knowingly and intentionally deceived the property owner by a false statement, representation, or pretense and the property owner gave over the property. Property can mean money, labor, or real or personal property. A false pretense is any act, word, symbol, or token used to deceive, it could be making false statement or not give information. For this, a person must acquire possession and title to the property.
By Trick: For this theory, a person must acquire property by fraud or deceit, but not legal title. At the time the property is acquired, the person must intend to permanently deprive or keep the property from the owner, aka) intend to not give something back.