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Theft Lawyer in Denver, CO

If you are facing a theft charge, it may be difficult to understand the specifics of the evidence against you, the exact level and nature of the charge(s), and what type of penalty you face if you are convicted. At Castañeda Law, our attorneys know all about theft charges. We can explain the specifics of your case, and answer any questions you may have. We are experienced Denver theft lawyers who will take the action necessary to protect your rights. Even a misdemeanor theft charge can have a major impact on your life, and can affect your job opportunities for years to come. Call Castañeda Law for a free consultation.

What is the Definition of “Theft” in Colorado?

You commit theft when you knowingly obtain, keep, or control anything of value without authorization, or by threat, or by deception. Theft also includes receiving or disposing of anything of value that belongs to another person, which you believe to have been stolen. In each case, a theft charge requires proof that you

  • intended permanently to deprive the other person of the use of the property; or

  • knowingly used, concealed or abandoned the property in a manner that effectively deprived the other person of its use or benefit; or

  • used, concealed or abandoned the property intending to deprive the other person of its use or benefit; or

  • demanded some benefit to which you were not legally entitled in exchange for returning the property; or

  • retained leased property for more than 72 hours after the time agreed for its return.

The variations on theft offenses may sound very much alike. But issues such as a required mental state – knowledge, intent, etc. – and other factors distinguish one from another.

Theft in Colorado includes crimes that may in some other states be known as shoplifting, larceny, theft by deception, embezzlement, and false pretenses. The single label of “theft” is all-inclusive with respect to these crimes.

Penalties in Theft Cases

Penalties in most theft cases are determined by the amount of money, or the value of the property or benefit, allegedly stolen. Here are the basic rules:

  • Class 1 petty offense. Value equal to less than $50.

  • Class 3 misdemeanor. Value of at least $50, but less than $300.

  • Class 2 misdemeanor. Value of at least $300, but less than $750.

  • Class 1 misdemeanor. Value of at least $750, but less than $2,000.

  • Class 6 felony. Value of at least $2,000, but less than $5,000.

  • Class 5 felony. Value of at least $5,000, but less than $20,000.

  • Class 4 felony. Value of at least $20,000, but less than $100,000.

  • Class 3 felony. Value of at least $100,000, but less than $1,000,000.

  • Class 2 felony. Value of $1,000,000 or more.

Although this covers the penalties in the majority of theft cases, some are treated differently. Theft of rental property, theft of trade secrets, aggravated motor vehicle theft, ownership of a chop shop, and theft of cable services, for example, contain penalty provisions that are not identical to those listed above.


Burglary is considered a property crime. There are different degrees of burglary, and the offense is classified, and penalties are imposed, based the specifics of the conduct alleged.

  • Third degree burglary. If you break into (or enter) a vault, coin vending machine, cash register, safety deposit box, or similar equipment or apparatus, with intent to commit a crime, you can be charged with burglary. The intended crime is often theft. It is a class 5 felony, unless the intent was the theft of drugs (any controlled substance) lawfully kept on the property, in which case it is a class 4 felony.

  • Second degree burglary. Knowingly breaking into or unlawfully entering or remaining in a building with intent to commit a crime is a class 4 felony. If the building or structure is a dwelling, or if the object is to steal drugs, it is a class 3 felony.

  • First degree burglary. Unlawful entry with intent to commit a crime other than trespassing, where an assault on or menacing of another person is committed, or where the defendant is armed with explosives, or uses or threatens the use of a deadly weapon, is a class 3 felony.

Burglary is a serious matter. All burglary charges are felonies, and therefore carry harsh penalties. But burglary charges can be confusing, and they often overlap with shoplifting (theft) and criminal trespass. An experienced Denver theft attorney can explain the difference.

Defending Theft Charges in Denver

The theft laws in Colorado are confusing. Penalties can be harsh. A theft conviction can seriously damage your employment opportunities. Don’t leave your future to chance. Contact Castañeda Law to speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Call (303) 386-7135 for a free consultation

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