When we think of a theft crime, we think of someone taking something that doesn’t belong to them. This could be shoplifting from a retail store, taking an item or items from someone else’s car, stealing a car, or other similar crimes.
The theft law in Colorado clearly defines theft as:
- Knowingly getting, taking, or exercising control over anything valuable from another person without their permission or by deception or threat
- Receiving, loaning money by pawn or pledge, or disposing of anything valuable that belongs to another person when that person doesn’t know that that the item(s) is stolen
- Intending to deprive the other person of the use or benefit of the valuable item permanently
- Knowingly using, concealing, or abandoning the valuable item in order to deprive the person permanently
- Demanding anything as a condition of restoring the item in question
- Knowingly retaining a valuable item more than 72 hours after establishing a specific, agreed-upon time to return the item
Under that definition, there are numerous crimes that could easily be considered theft. Here are 3 situations you might not think about as theft crimes but can still lead to charges.
- Theft of trade secrets. A trade secret is a formula, process, practice, compilation of information, and so on which is not generally known or reasonably able to be determined by other people. When businesses use trade secrets, they can gain economic benefits and advantages over customers or competitors. When someone commits theft of trade secrets, that person intends to deprive or withhold a trade secret from the owner, use a trade secret for his own benefit or for someone else’s benefit, steals or tells an unauthorized person about a trade secret, or makes a copy of a trade secret.
The theft of a trade secret is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000 and a jail sentence from six to 18 months. A second or subsequent offense within five years is a Class 5 felony punishable by a fine ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 and 1 to 3 years in jail.
- Theft of medical records or medical information. It is illegal to look at anyone else’s medical information or records without their explicit permission. Theft of medical records or medical information includes knowingly obtaining records or information with the intent to exploit the information for your own use or someone else’s use. It also includes stealing or disclosing the records or information to an unauthorized person, or making a copy of medical records or information without permission.
For the sake of this law, medical records can be any computer or written records that deal with medical, mental health, or health care services and that may contain test results or other diagnostic documents. Medical information is any information that is directly contained in the medical record.
Theft of medical records or medical information is a Class 6 felony, which is punishable by a fine ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 and a jail sentence of one year to 18 months.
- Theft by resale of a lift ticket or coupon. Everyone knows that Colorado is a travel destination for skiers all over the world. So it’s important to know that you can’t resell a lift ticket or coupon in our state. This law not only includes lift tickets and coupons but also passes, badges, pins, or other devices that entitle the bearer to use, benefit, or enjoy any skiing service or skiing facility. Just like ticket scalping is illegal for concerts or sporting events, lift ticket scalping is also illegal.
Theft by resale of a lift ticket or coupon is a Class 2 petty offense. If you’re charged with a Class 2 petty offense, you will not be arrested, but you will have to pay a fine up to $300 and be issued a summons to appear in court.
You could also be charged with aggravated motor vehicle theft, making or selling theft detection devices, theft of sound recordings, and theft of cable television services.
For typical theft crimes, you will be charged with a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the item(s) in question. The more valuable the item, the more serious the crime. In addition, you may have to pay restitution to the victim – especially with shoplifting – for actual damages.
If you’ve been accused of a theft crime, it’s important to contact an experienced Colorado theft crimes attorney who will protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.