Theft/Burglary Attorney in Denver, Colorado
Theft and burglary are two different crimes, though they both involve the taking of something of value from another person or entity. Theft can be a misdemeanor or felony under Colorado law depending on the value of what was acquired illegally. Burglary, on the other hand, requires that you illegally enter someone else’s premises, or remain on the premises after legally entering, with the intent to commit a crime. The crime does not have to be theft, and burglary can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
If you’re facing a theft or burglary charge in or near Denver, Colorado, reach out to our criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell. We will listen to your story, conduct a thorough investigation of your case, and develop a defense strategy that strives for your best possible result.
We have been aggressively defending clients facing criminal charges for more than 20 years, and we stand ready to help you too. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout the Denver metropolitan area, including Aurora, Golden, Lakewood, Arvada, Boulder, Brighton, Englewood, Castle Rock, Littleton, and Highlands Ranch.
Theft Charges in Colorado
Colorado statutes define theft as when an individual knowingly obtains, retains, or exercises control over anything of value of another without their authorization. It can also mean when someone receives, sells, or disposes of something of value that they know or believe to have been stolen.
However, there are further conditions that apply including intent, deprivation, concealment, abandonment, and more. Theft thus can cover these circumstances as well:
Borrowing another’s property under the guise of returning it but with no intention of doing so
Using deception to obtain someone else’s property such as promising to pay for it but never doing so
Taking a loan and purposely not repaying it within 72 hours of the agreed-upon time
Shoplifting can be considered another form of theft, and it involves deliberately depriving a retail establishment of merchandise it has for sale, including:
Just physically taking the item or items from the store without paying
Making a “fraudulent return,” that is, returning an item that you did not buy for a refund
Altering price tags, labels, or packaging to pay less for an item
Burglary Charges in Colorado
Colorado law defines burglary as when a person unlawfully enters a building or any occupied premise with the intent to commit a crime against the property or another person.
The element of intent must also be present either at the time you entered the property or before you entered the property. Burglary also covers breaking into:
Any equipment, money-operated or not
Potential Penalties for Theft & Burglary Convictions
Theft in value from $300 to $1,999 is a misdemeanor. Theft of from $300 up to $999 is a class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 120 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $750, and restitution to the owner.
From $1,000 to $1,999, theft is a class 1 misdemeanor, with potential jail time of 364 days, a fine of up to $1,000, and restitution. The judge can also grant probation in lieu of jail time.
Theft of something of value of $2,000 or more is a felony, and depending on the value of the theft, a prison term of 1 to 24 years can result, and/or a fine between $1,000 and $1,000,000, as well as restitution.
Burglary ranges from third-degree to first-degree, depending on the circumstances and how the crime was committed. Third-degree is a misdemeanor, and second- and first-degree convictions are felonies. The penalties range widely and are increased if the burglary involves the theft of a drug or any controlled substance.
At the low end, a third-degree burglary, considered a class 1 misdemeanor, is punishable by up to 120 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $750. At the high end, a first-degree burglary, a class 3 felony, can result in 4 to 24 years in prison and/or a fine from $3,000 to $1,000,000. Again, burglary involving a controlled substance gets the higher range of prison time and fines.
Depending on whether you’re being charged with theft or burglary, your defense can change. In either case, you can argue that your Constitutional rights were violated.
Perhaps officers had no probable cause to arrest you, or an illegal search or seizure was conducted, or a witness mistakenly identified you, or you were not read your Miranda Rights.
Intent is also something that the prosecution has to prove. In the case of burglary, you can argue that you never had the intent to commit any crime at the time you entered the structure or before you entered. In a theft, you can argue that you did not knowingly take the property or that you already had a right to possess it.
Theft/Burglary Attorney in Denver, Colorado
If you’ve been arrested for theft or burglary, remember that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Cooperate with law enforcement but don’t answer any questions until you have legal counsel on your side. Enlist our defense attorney at the Law Offices of Malcolm B. Seawell if you’re anywhere in the Denver metropolitan area. We care about all our clients and will aggressively defend your rights.