Theft is a criminal offense that Colorado state law enforcement officials take very seriously. If you are arrested for theft, you should take steps to protect your rights from the very beginning. One of these steps includes contacting a Mountain Communities theft lawyer for advice as quickly as possible following your arrest.
Instead of trying to explain yourself to the police or handle the situation on your own, allow a criminal defense lawyer to represent your interests. Justie and Jenn at Colorado Lawyer Team have the knowledge, skills, and resources to help your case. Speak to our team about your rights and legal options.
Defining Theft in Mountain Communities
The act of theft is not only unlawfully taking property belonging to others. Obtaining any property, whether goods, services, or money, without the consent of the property owners, constitutes theft under Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-4-401. Theft covers a variety of different actions that might constitute fraud or other criminal offenses in other jurisdictions.
Theft may include everything from shoplifting and individuals who fraudulently return items to a store from which they stole them to an investment advisor embezzling money belonging to their clients for personal gain. Other common types of theft include employee theft, identity theft, and credit card theft. When individuals are facing any theft allegations, they may find it wise to contact a theft lawyer for advice.
Charges for Petty and Misdemeanor Theft
Like many other states, Colorado law bases the penalties for a theft offense on the value of the items, services, or money stolen. Theft is a Class 1 petty offense if the value of the thing stolen is less than $50. However, theft becomes a misdemeanor if the value of the thing stolen is between $50 and $2,000, as follows:
- Class 3 misdemeanor for items worth between $50 and $299
- Class 2 misdemeanor for items worth between $300 and $749
- Class 1 misdemeanor for items worth between $750 and $1,999
How you value the item(s) involved may make the difference between a much more serious offense and a minor offense, however. It is important to have an attorney who understands the difference between a replacement cost with new, replacement cost with like-kind property, or even repair costs to restore returned property to its earlier condition.
A conviction on a Class 1 petty offense can result in a fine of up to $500 and up to six months of incarceration. The potential sentences of imprisonment and fines increase as the misdemeanor charges become more severe, including a maximum of six months in jail and a $750 fine for a Class 3 misdemeanor. Class 2 misdemeanor penalties increase to a maximum 12 months of imprisonment and a $1,000 fine, and Class 1 misdemeanor penalties increase to a maximum 18 months of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.
Felony Theft Charges
If the items stolen are worth more than $2,000, then the theft offense becomes a felony. More specifically, individuals can face varying levels of felony theft charges based on the value of the goods stolen:
- Class 6 felony for goods worth between $2,000 and $4,999
- Class 5 felony for goods worth between $5,000 and $19,999
- Class 4 felony for goods worth between $20,000 and $99,999
- Class 3 felony for goods worth between $100,000 and $999,999
- Class 2 felony for goods worth more than $1,000,000.
Sentences of incarceration for felony theft range from a maximum of 18 months imprisonment and a $100,000 fine for a Class 6 felony conviction, to a maximum of 24 years in prison and a one million dollar fine for a Class 2 felony conviction. By consulting a theft attorney throughout Colorado’s mountains, you may be able to oppose the charges that you are facing more successfully.
Contact a Mountain Communities Theft Attorney for Advice
The only effective way to protect yourself against theft charges is to refrain from making statements to police and contact a theft lawyer right away. From the moment of your arrest, law enforcement already is building a case against you. To avoid a potentially harsh outcome to the charges against you, you are likely to need immediate legal advice.
If you have a strong legal advocate on your side throughout your criminal proceedings, you may be able to reach an agreement for reduced charges or penalties. In appropriate cases, you may be able to overcome the charges against you. A skilled mountain communities theft attorney could help your case. Whatever the situation may be, you deserve to have strong legal representation in your criminal proceedings. Call Colorado Lawyer Team today to discuss your case.