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Colorado Theft Crimes 18-4-401

Colorado Theft Crimes 18-4-401 present as some of the most complex crimes and laws in the Colorado Criminal Code. To understand theft – a careful analysis of the law – as totally revised in 2013 – is the first stop.

Colorado Theft Crimes 18-4-401

Colorado Theft Crimes 18-4-401

The total revision of the Colorado Theft Statute 18-4-401 was necessary because the jurisdictional threshold amounts – that is – the level of crime that is charged based on the value of the cash or items stolen – had not been changed in some 20 years.

Theft is one of those crimes that has many subparts – each subpart reflects a different manner – a different “theory” that a charge of theft can be based upon and the crime of theft – committed. 

Modern Colorado Theft Crimes Include….

Modern Colorado Theft Crimes Include…something as simple as shoplifting and petty theft, to a charge as complex as bribery, home or business burglary, or aggravated motor vehicle theft.

Colorado theft crimes also include fraud-related crime. These crimes include embezzlement, accounting and bank fraud, securities fraud, investment fraud, credit card fraud, and several types of forgery. Federal cases of fraud include bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, mortgage fraud, and mail fraud. Finally the most complex theft crimes – known as “white collar” theft crimes include counterfeiting, ponzi shcemes, forms of extortion, insider trading, and money laundering.

While the author remembers a time when these “property crimes” took a back seat to the more serious violent crimes in the Colorado criminal code – that is no longer the case. Lengthy jail and prison sentences are now much more common than they were three decades ago.

Understanding The Basic Theft Crimes Statute – Law 18-4-401

The basic crime of theft is defined in the following law: [HMS ..with analysis]

§ 18-4-401. Theft

[HMS ..this first section (1) lays out the foundational requirements of the theft law.]

(1) A person commits theft when he or she knowingly obtains, retains, or exercises control over anything of value of another without authorization or by threat or deception; or receives, loans money by pawn or pledge on, or disposes of anything of value or belonging to another that he or she knows or believes to have been stolen,

and:

[HMS ..after the first elements are established – the law turns to the second requirement of the statute – the following sections establish the many ways that “basic” theft can be committed.]

(a) Intends to deprive the other person permanently of the use or benefit of the thing of value; 

(b) Knowingly uses, conceals, or abandons the thing of value in such manner as to deprive the other person permanently of its use or benefit; 

(c) Uses, conceals, or abandons the thing of value intending that such use, concealment, or abandonment will deprive the other person permanently of its use or benefit; 

(d) Demands any consideration to which he or she is not legally entitled as a condition of restoring the thing of value to the other person; or

(e) Knowingly retains the thing of value more than seventy-two hours after the agreed-upon time of return in any lease or hire agreement.

 (1.5) For the purposes of this section, a thing of value is that of “another” if anyone other than the defendant has a possessory or proprietary interest therein.

[HMS ..before August 2013 – the threshold jurisdictional amounts that established the LEVEL of punishment – felony or misdemeanor – where much lower than after August 2013. The changes – greatly increasing the amount of money or value necessary to make a crime a felony offense and then lowering the level of felony substantially – made it much more difficult for DA’s and other prosecutors to “felonize” the person who has committed a minor theft based crime. See my lbog article on the changes LINK]

18-4-401 – Theft Crime Punishment – Penalties Before August 2013

Theft is a class 2 misdemeanor when the value of the thing involved is less than $500. 18-4-401 (2) (b)     

Theft is a class 1 misdemeanor when the value of the thing involved is $500 or more but less than $1,000. 18-4-401 (2) (b.5)

Theft is a class 5 felony, without regard to the value of the thing taken, if the thing involved was taken from another person by means other than the use of force, threat, or intimidation. 18-4-401 (5)

Theft is a class 4 felony if a person knowingly exercises control over anything which is valued at $1,000 or more, but less than $20,000, without authorization or by threat or deception. 18-4-401 (2) ( c )

Theft is a class 4 felony if it is committed on two or more occasions within six months, the person is not placed in jeopardy for the prior offense, and the aggregate value of the things involved is between $1,000 and $20,000. 18-4-401 (4)

Theft is a class 3 felony if the value of the thing involved is $20,000 or more. 18-4-401 (2) (d)

Theft is a class 3 felony if a person has committed theft more than once within a six-month period without being charged for the earlier offense andthe aggregate value of the things involved is $20,000 or more. 18-4-401 (4)

18-4-401 – Theft Crime Punishment – Penalties After August of 2013

(2) Theft is:

(b) A class 1 petty offense if the value of the thing involved is less than fifty dollars;

(c) A class 3 misdemeanor if the value of the thing involved is fifty dollars or more but less than three hundred dollars;

(d) A class 2 misdemeanor if the value of the thing involved is three hundred dollars or more but less than seven hundred fifty dollars;

(e) A class 1 Misdemeanor If the value of the thing involved is seven hundred fifty dollars or more but less than two thousand dollars;

2013 Colorado State Legislature Rewrites Colorado’s Theft Laws

2013 Colorado State Legislature Rewrites Colorado’s Theft Laws

(f) A class 6 felony if the value of the thing involved is two thousand dollars or more but less than five thousand dollars;

(g) A class 5 felony if the value of the thing involved is five thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars;

(h) A class 4 felony if the value of the thing involved is twenty thousand dollars or more but less than one hundred thousand dollars;

(i) A class 3 felony if the value of the thing involved is one hundred thousand dollars or more but less than one million dollars; and

(j) A class 2 felony if the value of the thing involved is one million dollars or more.

Revisiting The Elements of Theft In Colorado 18-4-4-1

The best way to study and understand the Colorado Crime of Theft – is to (if you remember your elementary school classes) diagram the law into it’s basic elements. Here they are:

The elements of the crime of the Colorado Crime of Theft are:

1. That the defendant,

2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,

3. knowingly

a. obtained or exercised control over

b. anything of value

c. which was the property of another person,

d. [without authorization] [by threat or deception],

and

4. with intent to permanently deprive the other person of the use or benefit of the thing of value,

and

5. [the value of the thing involved is …

-or- [the aggregate value of the things involved is…

a. as a result of the defendant having committed theft two or more times

b. within a period of six months.]

-or-

[the thing of value was taken

a. from the person of another

b. by means other than the use of force, threat, or intimidation.]

6. [without the affirmative defense in instruction number _____ .]

The Enhancement Of A Misdemeanor Theft Charge Into A Felony

Not only can theft “reach” the felony level – depending on the facts or circumstances in the actual performance of the crime can enhance the crime from a petty or misdemeanor crime to a serious felony offense. One way is to “aggregate” multiple thefts into a felony level crime.  But also in the manners outlined below.  In either instance – a felony may end with jail or prison time as well as other penalties and collateral consequences that impact your life at almost every level. A theft crime conviction can result in a lifetime permanent criminal record. For many – it can also mean not obtaining certain positions, or professional licenses or losing currently earned licenses.

Colorado Theft Crimes 18-4-401 – Theft Turning Into Burglary

If a theft occurs in a business that is closed or a garage or a home – the theft – no matter what the value of the items taken – becomes a felony burglary. Second Degree Burglary is a class 3 Felony if the location is a home or garage and a class 4 felony if the location of the theft is a business or other non-residential structure. In either case – the enhancement can have very severe consequences.

Colorado Theft Crimes 18-4-401 – Theft Turning Into Robbery

Theft can also quickly what is termed “strong arm” robbery.” Robbery involves the use of force, violence, or intimidation in order to commit the crime of theft. If – for example – a shoplifting involves the use of force when confronted by a security officer it may possibly be charged as a robbery as the crime is defined. This enhances the crime to a felony level such as the Burglary charge above..

Colorado Theft Crimes 18-4-401 – Colorado Shoplifting or Petty Theft

On the other hand – the lowest kind of theft is petty theft or shoplifting. While ostensibly a minor offense, the consequences of a shoplifting conviction can impact the rest of your life – in every aspect of our life. Shoplifting is intentionally taking merchandise from a store or other commercial location without paying for the item.

As a seasoned and Experienced Colorado Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer of more than 30 years – who has handled hundreds ifnot thousands of defense cases, I can provide the best possible results for your case. Please feel free to call today to speak with me and learn more about my firm and how I can help you.

My approach is to prepare each case as thoroughly as possible to get the jump on the prosecutor. As job I held for over 13 years. The tactic is to stay ahead of the prosecution and achieve either a reduction in the charges or a possible dismissal of your charges through a negotiated agreement or a trial.

As a former Arapahoe – Douglas County State Prosecutor – I have first-hand knowledge of the federal and state criminal process. In the past 16 years as a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – I  have successfully defended clients against a wide variety of theft crime related charges and I am well-versed in the laws and circumstances surrounding the defense of Colorado theft crimes charges.

Colorado Theft Crimes 18-4-401

Colorado Theft Crimes Lawyer – Denver Colorado Theft Crimes Attorney – H. Michal Steinberg

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg

If you are charged with Colorado Theft Crimes 18-4-401, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

H. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience –  specializing only in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range of Colorado . He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options.

Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases. Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg provides solid criminal defenses for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the City and County courts of Adams County, Arapahoe County, City and County of Boulder, City and County of Broomfield, City and County of Denver, Douglas County, El Paso County – Colorado Springs, Gilpin County, Jefferson County, Larimer County, and Weld County,…. and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving …Colorado Theft Crimes 18-4-401.

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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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