Theft charges are serious. While any criminal conviction on your record can have long-term repercussions far beyond the actual case itself, many employers particularly frown on crimes of dishonesty. As theft involves an allegation that you took something that doesn’t belong to you, employers can be understandably wary of hiring anyone with a theft conviction on their record. Whether you are accused of larceny, fraud, identity theft, be it a misdemeanor or felony, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.
Patterson Weaver Law, LLC strives to provide clients in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Teller County, Park County, Fremont County, and the surrounding areas with the most knowledgeable, responsive, and effective representation available. The attorneys at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC are trial attorneys that are here to help you work toward a favorable outcome on your theft charge.
Contact our Colorado Springs theft lawyer today to begin with a free initial consultation.
What Is Theft?
Colorado’s theft statute is quite extensive, and there is more than one way one can be found guilty of committing theft. In general definition of theft is when a person “knowingly obtains, retains, or exercises control over anything of value of another without authorization or by threat or deception….” C.R.S. 18-4-401 (2021). However, there are various subsections under theft that must be combined with that sentence above. One of the most commonly charged subsections of the theft statute requires that the person intend “to deprive the other person permanently of the use or benefit of the thing of value.” Abandoning or concealing an item to deprive another of the use of the thing in question can be theft even if you have no intention of using it yourself. Additionally, the theft statute was recently broadened to include what used to be separate offenses, including theft by receiving stolen property. Knowingly keeping something more than 72 hours after you are supposed to return it under any lease or hire agreement is also included under the modern Colorado theft statute.
Credit card fraud, computer crime, embezzlement, and various types of other economic crimes can fall under the theft statute as well as a number of other statutes specific to the actual act conducted.
Theft cases can range from the incredibly simple, such as shoplifting candy from a grocery store, to the incredibly complex, such as stealing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars from an employer or business venture. No matter how simple or complex your theft case, the attorneys at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC have the experience and know-how to help you get the best outcome possible on your particular case.
What Are the Penalties for Theft?
Depending on the circumstances, theft charges can range in severity from a a petty offense all the way up to a high-level felony, depending on the value of the item or money claimed to be taken. More minor theft cases (especially shoplifting) are often charged in municipal court.
Because of this broad range of possible levels of charges, the penalties can range from a small fine and 10 days in jail (for a petty offense) up to decades in prison. A range of this magnitude makes it clear that you need to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
It should be noted that the theft statute has a number of aggravators that can apply to certain circumstances, and thereby can make the charge and potential penalties more serious. For example, multiple instances of theft against the same person can be combined into a single charge in which the value of the stolen items of the various individual offenses are added together potentially making for a much more severe charge. Also, stealing anything from the person of another, without physical force, is automatically a class 5 felony. An example of this would be pick-pocketing. Even though the wallet pick-pocketed might only have five dollars in it and only sleight of hand, not force, was used–the fact that it was taken from someone’s person makes it an automatic felony offense.
In most theft cases, defendants should remember that they will have to pay restitution for any financial losses a victim has suffered. This means that you may have to pay the person back the value of whatever you took as a condition of your sentence. As restitution has statutory interest attached, this can end up being much more expensive than the value of whatever was originally taken.
How Does a Theft Conviction Affect My Everyday Life?
No matter the level of the theft offense that you are facing, few charges can lead to more unexpected repercussions than a theft charge. Most jobs require trustworthy employees that employers can trust are not going to steal from them. However, if you have a theft charge of any level on your record, current and potential future employers will always wonder if they can trust you. In fact, there are several industries, including banking and financial services, in which any level of a theft conviction, even something as simple as shoplifting, will likely forever keep you from working in that industry. Additionally, if you are facing a felony charge, such as burglary or robbery, a felony conviction can have life-long consequences, affecting everything from your ability to vote in many states to your ability to possess a firearm.
What Can I Do?
Whether you are facing municipal , petty theft, misdemeanor or felony theft charges, you need to take the charge seriously and talk to an experienced Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If convicted of these charges, you can face serious penalties and life consequences. A knowledgeable and experienced criminal attorney can analyze the facts of your particular case for law enforcement mistakes, potential motions issues, factual strengths and weaknesses, and mitigating factors to use during negotiations with the prosecution, and if needed at trial.
The team at Patterson Weaver Law, LLC is ready to help you get the best outcome possible on your case. We have the experience and knowledge to help. Call (719) 264-9858 set up a free consultation to begin building your defense.