Common Loveland, Berthoud, and Estes Park Theft Crimes
Theft is a general term used to describe offenses that involve the taking of another person’s property without her consent and with the intention to permanently deprive her of it. The primary statute for theft in Colorado is C.R.S. 18-4-401. Loveland, Fort Collins, and Greely police officers can use a variety of factual patterns to pursue theft charges.
Theft offenses are also often referred to as property offenses. In Colorado, under C.R.S. 18-4-403, the following crimes are all included under the general term Theft:
- Shoplifting – taking goods away from a shop without paying
- Larceny – taking someone’s personal property
- False Pretenses
- Confidence Games
On the contrary, Robbery, where the property is taken through the actual or threatened use of physical force, is distinct from Theft and can be found in C.R.S. 18-4-301 to 18-4-305.
Depending on the value of the item or items taken, theft can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Aggravating circumstances include the type of property taken, the value of the property, and the offender’s previous convictions for similar offenses.
If you have been accused of a theft crime, you need solid criminal defense representation. At The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC, we have the experience and tools to defend you. Call 970-236-6576 or fill out an online contact form today to schedule a Free Initial Consultation.
Consequences of a Theft Conviction in Colorado
The sentences for theft convictions vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the seriousness of the offense. Possible penalties include:
- Restitution to the victim to compensate for the loss of property
- County Jail
- Community service
- Community Corrections
- Imprisonment and Parole
A conviction for a theft offense can also have long-lasting impacts on an offender’s life beyond her sentence, especially in terms of finding employment. For example, a potential employer who runs a background check may view someone with a theft conviction as dishonest and be reluctant to hire her.
Common Defenses to Colorado Theft Charges
The potential defenses available to a defendant facing a theft charge depend on the specific circumstances of their case. Some common defenses include the belief in ownership, voluntary and the timely return of property, and possibly entrapment or duress.
Belief in Ownership or Claim of Right
Where one believes in good faith (i.e. honestly) that the property he took was his or that he had a valid claim to it, the defendant may be able to defend a theft charge. A defendant usually needs to provide some evidence to support his claim of belief of ownership.
Return of Property
If a defendant intended to return the property when they initially took it, they may also be able to defend the charge. However, later returning the property to avoid being charged or convicted of a theft offense is not a defense. This may be a factor the court takes into account when sentencing an offender.
Law enforcement authorities can run a sting operation to try and catch suspected criminals. However, they cannot induce a defendant to commit an offense they otherwise would not have committed. If a defendant takes any property as a result of being induced by law enforcement, they may be able to argue the defense of entrapment.
A defendant might be able to challenge a theft charge if they were forced to take the property by another person, for example, because of threats or blackmail. To argue duress, a defendant must show she committed the act because of an immediate and inescapable threat of bodily harm or death.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney in Loveland, Berthoud, and Estes Park
Do not make the mistake of believing a theft allegation is not serious. Has local law enforcement accused you of committing a theft crime? Do not hesitate to contact a defense attorney at The Harrell Law Firm, PLLC immediately.
Sean P. Harrell will review your case and explain your options, including any legal defenses that may be available to you. They can also help you prepare a strong defense and ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. Call 970-791-2006 or submit an online form today, and we will schedule a Free Initial Consultation to discuss your case.