December 9, 2023
When people think about crimes that involve stealing, some immediate types of thefts tend to come to mind. Grand theft auto, perhaps. Shoplifting. Breaking and entering. Mugging. Maybe identity theft.
All of these are commonly listed kinds of theft crime charges. However, there are lots of different ways that people can commit theft, and Colorado has quite a few crimes on the books that are less well-known… but can still cause problems for you if you end up being charged.
Here are three lesser-known types of theft you may not even have realized were specific crimes in Colorado.
Theft of Trade Secrets
You’ve probably heard of this one before but might not have lumped it in with those other types of theft mentioned above. It is, though – the proof is right there in the name.
Theft of trade secrets, found under statute §18-4-408, is the sharing of or other removal of control of a trade secret. A trade secret is defined as any part of a secret, valuable piece of information related to a business.
What does that mean specifically?
Anything from a list of names and addresses to a recipe to a technical design can be a trade secret, depending on the industry. Famous trade secrets include the recipe for Coca-Cola, the Google search algorithm, and the method for choosing the New York Times Bestseller list.
This crime is a class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense, while a second offense becomes a class 5 felony. Many companies also report people who try to sell them competitors’ trade secrets, as when Pepsi reported Coca-Cola employees to the FBI for trying to do just that. Why take the risk?
Theft of Medical Records or Medical Information
Theft of medical information, as defined under statute §18-4-412, is relatively broad. It includes copying personal medical information of someone without proper authority, sharing the information with an unauthorized person, or otherwise using or sharing someone else’s personal medical information for unauthorized purposes.
You do not need to be in the medical field to run afoul of this charge. Examples of medical information theft include:
- Gossiping about patients’ condition with someone in the medical field
- Negligently losing the medical records of a family member
- Using someone else’s medical information to access prescriptions
Medical information that falls under the umbrella of this charge includes pregnancy test results, genetic testing, drug tests, blood tests, and diagnostic records, among other information. Theft of medical records in Colorado is a class 6 felony, meaning that it is punishable by 12 to 18 months in prison, and up to $100,000 in fines. Even after that, there is a mandatory parole period of a year.
Given that many of the examples above are things that you could do without realizing the consequences – or even intending to, in the case of losing a loved one’s records – it is important to work with a knowledgeable legal professional if you find yourself charged.
Theft By Resale of a Lift Ticket or Coupon
This crime wins the award for the most “Colorado” of all the offenses here. Defined by statute §18-4-416, lift ticket theft or resale is something you likely didn’t know was a crime and may have even run into.
However, people found reselling tickets, passes, coupons, or anything else that lets someone use skiing facilities can be fined up to $300 and summoned to court. This law was put into place specifically because the pass-scalping market was making business untenable for one of Colorado’s biggest industries.
Theft by resale of a lift ticket is considered a class 2 petty offense, so you won’t get arrested. However, you will find yourself in a difficult and embarrassing situation – and if you have prior charges, the consequences can be significantly worse.
These three crimes may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about theft, but they are still serious charges. The best way to avoid committing a theft crime that can get you into hot water is to actually understand what constitutes theft in our state.
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.