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Thefts, Break-ins on the Rise in Colorado Amid COVID-19

Thefts and burglary-related crimes are on the rise in the greater Denver area at a time when the coronavirus continues to hit Coloradans hard financially.

News station CBS4 in Denver collected data from local police stations and found burglary reports are increasing when compared to last year. Boulder police say there were 134 reports of burglaries from January to March 2020, up from 87 burglaries during that same time period last year. Lakewood police say burglaries have increased 21 percent from this time last year, while Littleton police say burglaries are up 47 percent.

The Weld County Sheriff’s Office has received so many reports of stolen vehicles that the department is asking the public to report suspicious activity, noting descriptions of the person and the vehicle he or she is interacting with.

Depending on the value of what was stolen, someone accused of theft under Colorado law could face harsh penalties. For stealing something $50 or less in value, the offender could pay up a fine up to $500 and be imprisoned for up to 6 months’ time – and that is just for a Class 1 Petty Offense. If the alleged stolen items are valued at $2,000 to $5,000, the charge becomes a Class 6 Felony. A conviction could result in up to $100,000 in fines and a maximum of 18 months in prison.  There are several other classes of charges including misdemeanors and other felonies.

Victims of burglaries absolutely have a right to seek compensation from convicted defendants, and those convicted have a potential of being imprisoned. But like the alleged victim, the party accused also has a right to defended on his or her case. Without a competent, veteran attorney, you could end up being convicted of a crime you didn’t commit or face far harsher penalties than you should have.

Theft and burglary are often used interchangeably, but under Colorado law, the terms mean entirely different things. Burglary involves unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit a crime such as assault, theft, murder, or vandalism. Theft solely involves taking something that doesn’t belong to you without the consent of the owner.

Being convicted of a burglary can have devastating consequences. All burglaries are treated as a felony in Colorado, no matter what degree. A third-degree burglary, the lowest level, is punishable by up to three years in prison, a fine up to $100,000, along with three years of mandatory parole. If a deadly weapon, like a gun, was used or a threat was made with one, the charge becomes a first-degree felony, which has a maximum penalty of 24 years in prison, up to $1 million in fines, and a five years of mandatory parole.

Since so many people are on alert for potentially burglaries, it is possible that your innocent actions are interpreted as stealing. If you’re in an unfamiliar area and have to go to retrieve something from a friend’s car, for example, a stranger looking out for thieves could report you to the police out of caution.

Facing a charge based on the value of the property that was stolen is another reason to retain an attorney if you are charged with a theft crime. Anyone who works with commodities or valuable items knows that prices for goods fluctuate depending on circumstances. It is possible prosecutors overvalue the stolen items, thus possibly increasing the maximum charge, the fine amount, and the prison time for a charge. The attorneys at the Law Offices Clifton Black will fight to ensure the persons charged with crimes correct monetary values are used in court and that any possible penalties are within reason.

Having representation that does not have a sold understanding of the criminal statutes in Colorado is a sure-fire way to receive harsher penalties than warranted. Contact the Law Offices of Clifton Black at (719)328-1616 to have an expert criminal defense attorney review your case today.


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