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When most people think of theft, they envision a masked individual robbing a bank or jewels from a museum. While these are certainly types of theft, they are not the only ones.

Any time you take something without someone else’s permission – to deprive them of it – you are committing theft. This includes shoplifting, pickpocketing, and even some types of fraud.

Of course, not all acts of theft are equal. Some are much more serious than others and can result in felony charges. This is usually the case when violence is involved or when large sums of money or valuable property are taken.

Whatever the circumstances, if you are caught stealing in Denver, you can expect serious penalties. These may include jail time, probation, and restitution to the victim.

Read on for everything you need to know about theft penalties in Denver, Colorado, and how our team at The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, can help you avoid them.

How is Theft Defined in Denver?

In Denver, Colorado, theft occurs when a person knowingly and unlawfully takes or exercises control over another person’s property with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive them of its use.

Colorado law recognizes several types of theft, including shoplifting, burglary, identity theft, and auto theft. The penalties for theft can vary depending on the value of the property stolen, the type of property stolen, and how it was taken. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, have experience handling all types of theft cases in Denver and can help you understand the charges against you.

What is the Difference Between Theft and Burglary?

Often, people use the terms “theft” and “burglary” interchangeably. However, there is a key distinction between the two crimes.

Generally speaking, burglary requires unlawful entry into a building with the intent to commit another crime. This could mean breaking into a home to steal valuables, or it could simply involve trespassing with the intent to commit an act of vandalism.

On the other hand, theft is taking something of value without the owner’s consent. This could involve shoplifting, pickpocketing, or even identity theft.

Misdemeanor Theft in Colorado

If caught stealing in Denver, your penalties will depend on the property value or cash you took. If the value is more than $50 but less than $2,000, it’s considered a misdemeanor crime. The sentence you receive will be based on the value of the item taken and your criminal history.

The penalties for misdemeanor theft offenses are as follows:

  • If the value of the goods stolen falls between $50 and $300, it is considered a Class 3 misdemeanor. This can result in up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $750.
  • If the value of the goods stolen is between $300 and $750, it is classified as a Class 2 misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
  • Finally, if the value of the goods stolen is between $750 and $2,000, it is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. This can lead to up to 18 months in jail and fines of up to $5,000.

If you’re stuck, a Denver theft lawyer can help you understand the charges against you and the penalties you may face. Talk to our attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, to learn more about your options.

Felony Theft in Colorado

Felony theft charges in Colorado are serious business, and the penalties increase dramatically as the value of the goods or stolen cash increases.

  • If you’re convicted of stealing something worth between $2,000 and $5,000, you’re looking at a Class 6 felony, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and $100,000 in fines.
  • If the value of what you stole falls between $5,000 and $20,000, you face a Class 5 felony, with a possible prison sentence of three years and $100,000 in fines.
  • If the value stolen is between $20,000 and $100,000, you’re looking at a Class 4 felony and a potential prison sentence of six years.
  • If the value stolen tops out at more than $100,000 but is less than $1 million, you’re facing a Class 3 felony with a possible prison sentence of 12 years and fines of up to $750,000.
  • Finally, if the value stolen is more than $1 million, you’re looking at a Class 2 felony and a possible prison sentence of 24 years which may require fines of up to $1 million.

If you commit a felony theft offense, contact a Denver criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you navigate the criminal justice system and fight for a favorable outcome in your case.

Theft of a Firearm in Colorado

Colorado’s new firearm theft law is designed to help keep guns out of the hands of criminals. The law, which took effect in July 2020, reclassifies firearms theft committed during a second-degree burglary as a Class 3 felony.

As a Class 3 felony, judges can sentence convicted offenders to a fine of up to $750,000 and a prison sentence of four to 12 years. The bill was sponsored by Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly, although it did not quite gain unanimous support.

Before this law took effect, firearms theft was classified as a Class 4 felony punishable by a prison sentence of two to six years.

In other words, the new law doubles the time offenders could spend behind bars. The hope is that by increasing the penalties for gun theft, criminals will think twice before breaking into homes and businesses to steal firearms.

Only time will tell if the new law effectively deters crime, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

Auto Theft in Colorado

Auto theft is a big problem in Colorado. In fact, the state has ranked number one in the nation for auto theft rates. And in the first six months of 2022, the trend has continued, with a 17.2% increase in motor vehicle theft. That means that criminals have stolen 24,044 vehicles so far this year – 3,463 more than the same period last year.

As you can imagine, the penalties for auto theft are quite severe. Colorado takes auto theft seriously – first-degree aggravated automobile theft is always a felony.

Depending on the vehicle’s value and the defendant’s criminal history, penalties include 1-12 years in Colorado State Prison and $1,000-$750,000 in fines.

Second-degree aggravated automobile theft is almost always a felony, with 1-3 years in prison and $1,000-$100,000 in fines possible.

The only time it’s a misdemeanor is when the vehicle is worth less than $2,000 and the defendant has no more than one prior auto-theft conviction – in which case the penalties are up to 364 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Steven J. Pisani, LLC  is a Denver, Colorado-based law firm that provides high-quality legal representation to those accused of theft and other crimes. If you or someone you know has been charged with a theft crime, contact us today for a free consultation.

Contact a Denver Theft Lawyer Today!

If you’ve been charged with theft in Denver, you must understand the possible penalties you may face. The severity of the charge will depend on the value of the property stolen and any previous convictions on your record.

A first-time offender can expect to pay a fine and may also have to perform community service. However, more serious charges can result in jail time.

If you’re facing theft charges, speak to our team of Denver criminal defense lawyers. We have extensive experience in this area of the law and can help you get the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today at (303) 529-2825 to schedule a free consultation.


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