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What is Theft?

Theft is a broad term encompassing various crimes that involve intentionally or fraudulently taking personal property from another person without their consent and with the intention of keeping the property.  Common theft crimes can range from identity theft and embezzlement to grand theft auto and possession of stolen property.

Many people commonly put robbery, burglary and theft in the same category. While burglary and robbery can involve elements of theft, both crimes also involve other criminal acts setting them apart from theft. Theft has the potential to be charged as a felony, so it’s advised you contact legal representation as soon as possible.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Colorado Springs

By viewing this page, you are already considering hiring an attorney to fight your theft charges. Why not take the next step and contact Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC. Our consultations are free, so you have nothing to lose. Getting started is easy. All you need to do is call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a case evaluation.

Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC is well respected in the legal community. We will gather the facts of your case and ensure the court hears your side of the story. We are based in Colorado Springs but regularly help clients in areas such as Denver and Littleton.

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Elements of Theft in Colorado

Theft is a property crime that involves taking something that’s not yours. According to Colorado law, you commit theft by doing any of the following:

  • Obtaining or having control over anything of value that doesn’t belong to you
  • By threat or deception, intending to deprive the owner of something of value
  • Using, concealing or abandoning the property to permanently deprive the owner of its benefit
  • Demanding ransom in exchange for returning the property

There are various theft offenses in the Colorado Revised Statutes. Some of these offenses include:

  • Identity theft
  • Theft by trade secrets
  • Theft of rental property
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Theft by fraud and deceit
  • Theft of medical records
  • Theft by writing bad checks

If you were arrested for theft more than once within six months, prosecutors will combine the total value of stolen goods. This is known as aggregated value, and it will result in elevated penalties. Assume you stole $200 worth of property in March and then $200 again in May. Instead of being charged with a class 3 misdemeanor, you will be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor since the combined total is $400.

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Misdemeanor Theft vs. Felony Theft

Theft can either be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the value of stolen property. Many people assume the allegations against them are not serious when the charge is only a misdemeanor. But theft is a crime of dishonesty, also known as moral turpitude. Employers and banks will see the conviction or charge during a background check and may choose not to hire you or approve your loan.

Stealing goods valued at less than $2,000 is a misdemeanor in Colorado. Listed below are the penalties for misdemeanor theft based on the value of goods stolen:

  • $50 or more but less than $300: Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail or a fine between $50 and $750
  • $300 or more but less than $750: Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by three to 12 months in jail or a fine between $250 and $1,000
  • $750 or more but less than $2,000: Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by six to 18 months in jail or a fine between $500 and $5,000

Stealing property worth $2,000 or more will result in felony charges. A felony conviction will have a massive impact on your everyday life. You could be fired from your job, be kicked out of your rental home or apartment and lose your professional license.

Listed below are the penalties for felony theft in Colorado:

  • $2,000 or more but less than $5,000: Class 6 penalty punishable by one year to 18 months behind bars and a fine between $1,000 and $100,000
  • $5,000 or more but less than $20,000: Class 5 felony punishable by one to three years behind bars and a fine between $1,000 and $100,000
  • $20,000 or more but less than $100,000: Class 4 felony punishable by two to six years behind bars and a fine between $2,000 and $500,000
  • $100,000 or more but less than $1 million: Class 3 felony punishable by four to 12 years behind bars and a fine between $3,000 and $750,000
  • More than $1 million: Class 2 felony punishable by eight to 24 years behind bars and a fine between $5,000 and $ 1million

There is a look back period for felony theft. Under Colorado law, if you are convicted of felony theft of a store twice within five years, you will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum jail term. You will also be ineligible for probation and a suspended sentence.

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What is the Difference Between Burglary, Robbery and Theft?

Confusing burglary, robbery and theft with each other is easy. All three crimes can involve elements of theft, but a few key differences set them apart. For starters, burglary involves the unlawful entry into a building or remaining unlawfully after a lawful entry to commit a crime inside.

It’s a common misconception that burglary involves theft, but that isn’t necessarily the case. The intent to commit another crime could be intent to commit offenses such as assault, vandalism, harassment, criminal mischief and even theft. Robbery, on the other hand, can involve theft but elements of the theft are the primary difference between the two offenses.

Although every crime has a victim, the key difference between theft and robbery is that a person isn’t immediately present or threatened when the charge is just theft. A robbery, on the other hand, always involves taking something from another individual by force.

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Additional Resources

Theft | Colorado Revised Statutes – It’s advised you read the state laws governing the crime you have been charged with. By following the link, you can read the precise legal definition of theft, find out how it’s charged and see what the court will do if you commit the crime twice within six months.

Property Crimes | Colorado Crime Stats – Visit the Colorado Department of Public Safety to view statistics on crimes like robbery, theft and burglary. You can view the data by year and county. You can also find out where property crimes happen the most, types of weapons used and days of the week the crime commonly occurs.

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Theft Lawyer in Colorado Springs

Contacting legal counsel is the best defense you can take to theft charges. Attorneys with Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC will help you understand what you may be up against and aggressively advocate on your behalf.  We know this is a stressful time. Ease your worries and contact Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC.

You can call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a time to meet with us. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC assist clients in areas such as Colorado Springs, Denver County and Arapahoe County.

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