Guide to the Many Different Classifications of Theft in Colorado

Shoplifting. Fuel piracy. Theft by resale of a lift ticket.

These are all activities that may constitute theft crimes under Colorado law. But while theft crimes may take many different forms in Colorado, all theft crimes typically involve knowingly taking or exercising control over someone else’s assets, property, or something else of value without their permission.

Recently, Colorado law enforcement officials have had to deal with an increase in car thefts, worries over water theft by marijuana growers, and even someone who stole an urn.

In order to commit theft, you generally have to intend to deprive the owner of the thing of value permanently, or knowingly conceal, use, or abandon the thing of value. You could also be charged with theft for demanding payment for an item or property you took unlawfully as a condition of returning it to the owner.

In Colorado, shoplifting offenses and theft crimes are penalized as petty, misdemeanor, or felony offenses according to the value of the property or services. The circumstances surrounding the incident may also affect how theft crimes are punished—for instance, whether a weapon was involved, or whether the stolen property was taken directly from a person.

Below, we’ve listed a guide to the many different classifications of theft crimes in Colorado.

Petty theft. If your theft crime involves property or services valued at less than $50, you may be charged with petty theft. The penalties for petty theft may include up to six months of incarceration and up to $500 in fines.

Class 2 misdemeanor theft. A theft crime may be classified as a class 2 misdemeanor if the value of the property or services is less than $500. The punishment for class 2 misdemeanor theft may involve up to 12 months of incarceration and up to a $1,000 fine.

Class 1 misdemeanor theft. This type of theft involves the theft of property that is over $500 in value, but less than $1,000 in value. Class 1 misdemeanor theft is punishable by up to 18 months of incarceration and up to $5,000 in fines.

Class 5 felony theft. You can be charged with class 5 felony theft if you take property directly from someone else’s person without force or intimidation. This type of theft is punishable by one to three years in prison and a minimum of two years of parole.

Class 4 felony theft. This type of theft involves the theft of property stolen that is over $1,000 in value, but less than $200,000 in value. Class 4 felony theft is punishable by up to six years in prison, up to $500,000 in fines, and a minimum of three years of parole.

In addition to criminal penalties, you may also be required to pay restitution to the victim of your theft crime. If you were involved in a shoplifting case, the allegedly victimized merchant may also be able to sue you in civil court for damages.

Talk to a Lawyer If You Are Charged with Theft in Colorado

Denver Theft Lawyer

Regardless of value of the property or services involved, all classifications of theft crimes are considered to be serious offenses punishable by tough penalties. If you have been charged with theft in Colorado, you are facing incarceration, restitution, fines, and a lifelong criminal record.

That’s why it’s critical to contact a Denver theft crimes attorney as soon as possible if you’ve been charged with shoplifting or theft in Colorado. Your attorney can help you understand the charges facing you, and work with you to develop a powerful case for your defense. With an aggressive theft lawyer in your corner, you may be able to have your theft charges reduced or dropped entirely.

About the Author:

Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.