In the Colorado criminal justice system, theft and stealing are umbrella terms that encompass a variety of criminal behaviors. Our courts consider theft to be any act that takes something of value from someone else without authorization or through lies or aggression.
This broad definition means you can be charged with theft or stealing in Colorado for actions like shoplifting, embezzlement, false pretense, or even the unauthorized sale or resale of ski resort passes.
As Colorado courts consider theft to be a serious crime, you may be punished by up to $1 million in fines and up to 24 years in prison for stealing — depending on the value of the possession you allegedly stole.
Perhaps the worst punishment of all is the lifelong impact a theft conviction can have on your both your personal and professional life.
Colorado Theft Cases That Resulted in Job Loss
On top of typical punishments like incarceration and fines, you may face other penalties in Colorado if you are convicted for theft. Below, we have explored two instances when stealing has cost defendants their job in Colorado.
Denver Police Officer Filmed Stealing Cash from Suspect by Own Bodycam
In an infamous incident in 2016, a Denver police officer was accused of stealing $1,200 from a suspect’s vehicle based on footage from his own body-camera. The officer pleaded guilty to first-degree official misconduct and second-degree theft and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation.
His actions broke the law and violated the Denver Police Department policy on handling evidence and personal property. He was suspended without pay following his arrest before officially resigning from the department after being on the force for more than 10 years.
Home Healthcare Aide Loses License After Theft Charges
In another recent theft case, a caregiver was accused of stealing from her clients. The healthcare aide had been fired from Maxim Healthcare, a home healthcare agency, after being accused of stealing from three different patients.
However, the caregiver continued working and stealing from additional clients with a valid Certified Nursing Aide (CNA) license from the Colorado Board of Nursing.
After additional alleged victims came forward, she was charged with theft of $500 or more from an at-risk elder, providing false information to a pawnbroker, and additional theft and drug charges.
Following the charges, the state board suspended her CNA license to prevent her from practicing completely.
Defenses to Theft Charges in Colorado
These are only two examples of instances when theft charges cost someone their job in Colorado. To avoid life-altering consequences to your freedom, finances, and personal and professional future, a solid defense is critical if you have been accused of or charged with a theft crime.
Possible legal defenses to theft charges in Colorado include:
- Establishing that you took property because you had a good faith belief that it was your property or you had a valid claim to it.
- Proving you were intoxicated while committing the alleged theft.
- Establishing that you had an intent to and were able to return the property at the time you took it.
- You were induced to commit theft by a law officer or government agent.
Being found guilty of stealing in Colorado can have a grave, long lasting effect on your life. However, building a strong legal defense can protect your freedom, finances, reputation, and job.
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.