Theft and Property Crimes
Colorado Theft Defense Attorneys
A theft charge can dwell on your or your child’s record for years to come. resulting in severe consequences extending even beyond possibly severe legal ramifications.
For example, a student taking pre-requisites for a nursing program suddenly accused of shoplifting, now facing a theft charge, could find themselves (aside from legal troubles) hitting a wall when applying for acceptance to a nursing program because of a stain on a program-mandated criminal background check.
Students looking to start an internship or individuals looking for new employment are often asked to submit to a background check. Finding employment opportunities or internship programs willing to accept an individual with a record tarnished by a theft charge of any level will find their options quite limited. Even trying to rent an apartment or similarly finding a roommate can be difficult due to a tainted and far-reaching criminal record. However, arming yourself with a legal defense specializing in theft defense, you are more likely to have the charges dropped or significantly reduced than moving forward without any legal representation or with an overworked public defender.
Theft Charges in Colorado
Colorado recognizes theft as taking property from an individual and depriving them of the value of that property. A theft charge of any degree is severe enough to impact your life, and depending on the circumstances and value of the item or items allegedly taken, the charge can range from a Class 2 misdemeanor to a Class 3 felony:
Under Colorado law, both types of theft offenses (misdemeanors and felonies) can be categorized and charged at varying levels.
Note: The severity of a theft conviction is based on the value of the stolen property (see bullets below).
- The theft of items valued under $500 is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and fines amounting to $1,000.
- Theft from $500 to $999.99 in value is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 18 months in jail and fines of $5,000.
- A theft of $1,000 to $19,999.99 is a Class 4 felony with up to a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and fines of half a million dollars.
- A theft of $20K or more is a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to 12 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.
- Lastly, a pickpocketing theft (a theft off someone’s person) is a Class 5 felony carrying a maximum of a three-year sentence and a fine of $100,000. If this type of theft involves threats of harm, you may be charged with the crime of burglary.
When Does Theft Graduate From Misdemeanor to Felony?
If the stolen goods are valued at more than $2,000, you would be charged with felony theft. For property stolen over a period of time, the value would be added together. For example, an individual takes $1,600 worth of goods and then $500 10 days later. The court will generally not consider these as two separate misdemeanor charges. Instead, the individual would be charged with felony theft as the total value of goods stolen was more than $2,000.
In addition to the above, a district attorney may consider it part of their duty to “make the victim whole” and pursue restitution from the guilty party. As a result of criminal acts, this money serves as compensation for the victim for any damage rendered. This money is paid in addition to the criminal fines listed above and can vary from case to case.
As you can see, theft charges carry severe and costly repercussions.
If handled without proper legal representation, even the most minor theft charges can manifest into a dark shadow that follows you throughout your life, greatly restricting your future.
Collateral Consequences of a Theft Conviction
As we mentioned earlier, a theft conviction does not only result in criminal penalties. Aside from sentences and fines, you will face additional obstacles and adverse consequences that could last for a lifetime. A conviction will go on your criminal record, which means you may be fired from your job and struggle to find a new one.
Furthermore, you may lose a professional license or be barred from applying for one in the future. You may struggle to pursue certain degrees or many different careers because of a theft conviction. Some loans may be impossible to obtain. Lenders are wary of theft convictions on someone’s background, as they are considered a crime of moral turpitude. In this case, lenders may deem you untrustworthy and deny your loan, making it hard and even inconceivable for you to pay for education expenses, a home, or a vehicle.
Here is another example of obstacles resulting from a theft conviction … Your landlord discovers that you have been convicted and may evict you on those grounds. Applicants may likewise be denied housing because they may be viewed as a potential threat to other tenants, their safety, and welfare. If your theft charges are not successfully defended, the above are just a few examples of consequences that can haunt you and your future. Contacting a criminal defense attorney specializing in resolving theft cases is your best option.
Defense Attorneys and Building Your Case
There are many reasons for retaining a defense attorney, particularly hiring one as close to the start of the incident as possible. Any evidence must be gathered and examined immediately for your case to succeed.
If you wait weeks or months before attaining legal help, any evidence will deteriorate or disappear altogether. It’s vital to have an attorney working on your case as soon as possible following an arrest to establish testimony and speak on your behalf to any law enforcement involved.
Moreover, an experienced Denver theft defense lawyer will remind you of your rights and work fearlessly to protect them.
Law enforcement officers and detectives have specific legal regulations and codes that they must follow. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t try as hard as they can to get you to confess to wrongdoing, get you to write a statement, or otherwise implicate yourself, especially before hiring legal representation. It’s important to say as little as possible and ask to call your defense attorney.
The Moorhead Law Group can represent you in court, guide you, and prevent you from making mistakes that could significantly and negatively impact the outcome of your case. Our dedicated and experienced theft attorneys will do everything in their power and within the law to have the charges reduced or dropped altogether.