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Are there different degrees of theft in Colorado?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2021 | Blog, Criminal Defense |

Theft involves taking someone’s property without permission and no intention of ever returning it. A Colorado criminal court doles out strict punishments to people convicted of theft, but a punishment’s severity depends on how serious a crime is. Regarding theft, severity may center on what or how much someone stole.

Two different charges for theft

The law looks at serious and minor property crimes differently. Monetary value serves as the legally defining characteristic.

Grand theft, also known as grand larceny, refers to any theft in Colorado where the property stolen is worth more than $2,000. Whether stealing from a store, an office or a home, stealing anything worth $2,000 or more is a felony.

Petty theft, per Colorado statutes, is the theft of any property worth $50 or less. Stealing a small amount of food from a grocery store and other examples of petty shoplifting could lead to a misdemeanor petty theft charge. A conviction could lead to fines and jail time although not to the same degree as a felony conviction.

Facing a conviction for theft

A criminal conviction may follow someone through the rest of his or her life. The information might turn up on a background check and create problems for people seeking employment. A felony conviction may appear worse than a misdemeanor, but even a lesser theft crime reflects a criminal conviction that could have long-term impact on an individual’s life.

A conviction isn’t guaranteed. If the case is weak or lacks evidence, the judge might dismiss the charges. Even at trial, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, or else the jury may not convict.

Individuals concerned about a conviction at trial may want to explore plea bargain arrangements. Pleading to a lesser charge to avoid the harshest penalties might be advisable depending on the evidence in the case.