If you have been accused of theft, you have the right to fight the charges. An experienced attorney can help. At Pearson & Paris, P.C., we have more than 50 years of combined legal experience that we will use in your defense. Perhaps more importantly, our top criminal defense attorney is a former senior prosecutor who knows how district attorneys handle these cases. That knowledge allows us to create effective strategies ranging from negotiation to courtroom battles.
Whether in the Denver area or anywhere in Colorado, theft occurs when a person knowingly takes the property of another without authorization or by threat or deception and (1) intends to deprive the other person permanently of the use and benefit of the thing of value; (2) knowingly uses, conceals or abandons the thing of value in such manner as to deprive the other person permanently of its use and benefit; (3) uses, conceals or abandons the thing of value intending that such use, concealment or abandonment will deprive the other person permanently of its use and benefit.
Possible Consequences For Theft
Theft is a class 3 felony if the subject of the theft is valued at $20,000 or more. Sentencing for a class 3 felony includes (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to 90 days, or up to a two-year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or (2) a sentence to the Department of Corrections of four to 12 years, but as much as 24 years if the court finds the presence of exceptional circumstances, with a mandatory parole period of five years.
Theft is a class 4 felony if the subject of the theft is valued at $1,000 or more but less than $20,000. Sentencing for a class 4 felony includes (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to 90 days, or up to a two-year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or (2) a sentence to the Department of Corrections of two to six years, but as much as 12 years if the court finds the presence of exceptional circumstances, with a mandatory parole period of three years.
Theft is a misdemeanor where the subject of the theft is valued at less than $1,000. Sentencing may include (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to 60 days, or up to a two-year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or jail sentence of up to 18 months, or only as much as one year where the subject of the theft is valued at less than $500.
Possible Defenses For Theft
One of the most often seen defenses to theft is consent. This will occur when two people have an agreement or an understanding regarding the use of a piece of property, money or a credit card. Then when the relationship goes bad, one person may simply accuse the other of some type of theft. This is often seen in situations involving roommates, boyfriends and girlfriends, spouses and business partners. Other times, consent is seen when one person loans another person money, saying “Pay me back by the 15th, or I will hold onto your motorcycle until you pay me.” The other person then states “no problem,” and when he or she cannot pay the person back, that person is surprised to see that the motorcycle has actually been taken as collateral. It is important to interview all people who may have been witnesses to the consent to demonstrate to the prosecutor that this is not a true theft.
Another common defense for theft is “mistake of fact.” This occurs when one person takes property he or she believes to belong to another person (who has given consent) when in fact, the property belongs to an entirely different person. This can often happen with multiple roommates (such as in a dorm room or fraternity house). Again, it is important to interview all parties involved to discover what actually occurred. Lastly, we have seen situations where a person merely “borrows” an item from a neighbor or acquaintance and this is misconstrued as an attempt to “permanently deprive” the other person of the property. An obvious example is one neighbor borrowing another neighbor’s lawnmower to use for a couple of hours.
The remaining defenses that may be applied in a motor vehicle theft case apply with equal force to those that may apply in any other criminal case. This includes an analysis of any violation of constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, the right to have any searches and seizures based on probable cause, a proper warrant, and the right to due process in the proper preservation of evidence that may be used against you. Many other defenses are available that rely on scrutinizing and exposing weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, such as biased or incompetent witnesses, flawed crime scene investigation, flawed administration and procedures in collecting breath, blood or urine for forensic testing, incompetent computer evidence, flawed photo lineups and inaccurate crime scene/accident reconstructions.
It is important that you hire a skilled and experienced theft lawyer to defend you in a theft case in Littleton or Jefferson County or across Colorado.