Theft is a crime taken very seriously in Colorado, but how it is penalized can vary depending on the value of what was taken. That’s why theft isn’t simply a serious issue in Colorado – it’s also one that many people don’t fully understand when their freedom is on the line.
The circumstances surrounding a theft case will directly inform the penalties if the perpetrator is found guilty. These penalties may be misdemeanors or felonies, but no matter what, there are collateral consequences for those convicted that make theft no laughing matter.
Here is what you need to know about theft in Colorado and the penalties for being found guilty of it.
What Is Theft in Colorado?
The state of Colorado defines theft as taking something of value from someone else with the intent to deprive them of that property permanently. For you to be convicted of theft, the prosecution must show that you intended to take items forever – or never give money back to the rightful owner. If you borrowed money or items from another person, that’s not theft in Colorado, even if the person who owned what you borrowed was unaware of it.
In Colorado, theft can be a misdemeanor or felony crime. How it is charged depends on the value of the items taken or the stolen money.
Misdemeanor Theft in Colorado
Colorado regards the theft of goods or cash worth more than $50 but less than $2,000 as a misdemeanor crime. However, the value of the property or cash will inform the sentence:
Items Valued Between $50 and $300
This is a Class 3 misdemeanor. A conviction can put you in jail for up to six months and make you responsible for fines of as much as $750.
Items Valued Between $300 and $750
This is a Class 2 misdemeanor and is penalized by up to one year behind bars and fines of as much as $1,000.
Items Valued Between $750 and $2,000
This is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, you can face up to 18 months of incarceration and fines of as much as $5,000.
In some situations, you may also be ordered to pay restitution for the court to see that the victim was made whole after the theft. Restitution is money that compensates the victims for their losses due to the theft. How much restitution must be paid is up to the judge, but it is money that must be paid on top of any criminal fines.
Felony Theft Penalties
In Colorado, felony theft is charged in cases where the value of the goods or cash is over $2,000. However, felony charges get more serious as the value increases.
Value Between $2,000 and $5,000
This is considered a Class 6 felony in Colorado. It is penalized by up to 18 months in prison and fines of as much as $100,000.
Value Between $5,000 and $20,000
This is a Class 5 felony. It is punishable by as many as three years in prison and fines of $100,000.
Value Between $20,000 and $100,000
A prison sentence of six years can be handed down for this Class 4 felony. You can also be made to pay up to $500,000 in fines.
Value Between $100,000 and $1 Million
A Class 3 felony, a conviction can lead to incarceration for up to 12 years and make you accountable for fines of as much as $750,000.
Value Over $1 Million
A Class 2 felony can lead to incarceration for up to 24 years and require you to pay fines of up to $1 million.
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 & 2019-2022” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2022 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020-2022. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.