Grand Junction Theft Crime Lawyers
Private property is one of the founding principles of the United States Constitution. As such, every jurisdiction in the country, from the federal government down to the tiniest municipality, treats the theft of someone else’s property as a serious crime.
If you are accused of stealing in or around Grand Junction, you face stiff penalties. Beyond prison time, that can include permanent damage to your professional and personal reputation if you’re convicted. That’s why you need the services of a competent and aggressive Grand Junction defense attorney to protect you against theft charges. Peters & Nolan, LLC, is standing ready to assist you. Call (970) 243-4357 to schedule a free evaluation.
Colorado law divides the crime of theft into subcategories depending on where and how the theft occurred and the value of the item(s) in question. This can make defending against theft charges complicated, especially since the prosecution might stack charges or withhold certain charges for future prosecution.
According to Colorado Revised Statutes Title 18 Criminal Code § 18-4-401, “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 and intends to deprive the other person permanently of the use or benefit of the thing of value.”
There is more to the law than just the above, including the fact you do not have to be the person who stole the property to be charged with a theft crime. If you receive property that you had reason to believe may have been stolen, for instance, making a pledge on it at a pawnshop, you can also be charged with theft.
The State of Colorado has several different charges for theft, including shoplifting, burglary, and robbery, but most are categorized as either petty, misdemeanor, or grand theft. The main difference is the amount of money involved in the crime and any other aggravating factors, such as where the crime occurred and if someone was injured.
Theft is tiered based on the value of the stolen property, with the lightest offense, petty theft, involving less than $50. When the value of the stolen property ranges between $50 and $2,000, it is considered a misdemeanor theft. In turn, grand theft applies when the property exceeds $2,000 in value.
In addition, a defendant can faced charges of:
- Burglary is when a person enters a building to commit a theft (although technically it could be another intended crime such as vandalism, arson, etc.), whether in a private home or a place of business.
- Robbery is defined as taking something of value from the owner directly, such as during a mugging. In certain instances, a person could be committing both robbery and burglary at the same time.
- Larceny is another form of theft, most often associated with stealing a car (though it also can refer to other forms of theft).
- Shoplifting is defined as stealing from a retail store while pretending to be a customer.
- Extortion is when someone threatens and coerces another person into handing over their property. It is still considered theft, as the transfer of property is happening against the victim’s will.
Typically, the value of the stolen property will determine if the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Grand theft is almost always charged as a felony, while petty and misdemeanor theft are misdemeanors. They include:
- Class 1 Petty Offense: If the property is worth less than $50, then you can be sentenced to up to six months in jail, a maximum fine of $500, or both.
- Class 3 Misdemeanor: If the property is worth between $50 and $300, then you can be sentenced to up to six months in jail, a maximum fine of $500, or both.
- Class 2 Misdemeanor: If the property is worth between $300 and $750, then you can be sentenced to up to 364 days in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.
- Class 1 Misdemeanor: If the property is worth between $750 and $2,000, then you can be sentenced to up to 18 months in jail, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both.
For property worth more than $2,000, the charge is elevated to grand theft:
- Class 6 Felony: If the property is worth between $2,000 and $5,000, then you can be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison, a maximum fine of $100,000, or both.
- Class 5 Felony: If the property is worth between $5,000 and $20,000, then you can be sentenced with up to three years in prison, a maximum fine of $100,000, or both.
- Class 4 Felony: If the property is worth between $20,000 and $100,000, then you can be sentenced with up to six years in prison, a maximum fine of $500,000, or both.
- Class 3 Felony: If the property is worth between $100,000 and $1,000,000, then you can be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison, a maximum fine of $750,000, or both.
- Class 2 Felony: If the property is worth more than $1,000,000, then you can be sentenced to up to 24 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, or both.
Theft charges can also be enhanced based on your criminal history. If you have at least two felony convictions on your record, then you can be punished with the minimum prison sentence for the charge and are not eligible for probation.
Despite the complicated laws surrounding theft in Colorado, a skilled lawyer can build a strong defense on your behalf. The Mesa County District Attorney must outline how you violated the law beyond a reasonable doubt by showing that you “knowingly” took another person’s property without their permission and “intended” to deprive the owner of it permanently. Picking up someone else’s bag or wallet at the gym by accident is a simple mistake, not a chargeable offense.
Based on the nature of your arrest, the trial attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC, can defend you by demonstrating that:
- You did not knowingly take someone else’s property.
- You did not intend to keep someone else’s property.
- You believed that it was legally your property.
- The value of the property is in question and you are eligible for a lesser charge.
- The police illegally searched your property and seized evidence against you.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a theft crime on the Western Slope, you need to consult an attorney right away to discuss your options. Peters & Nolan, LLC, has a proven track record of success when it comes to defending individuals against overzealous prosecution. We’ll do our best to mount an aggressive defense and work to get the charges against you reduced or dropped altogether.
The sooner we can get started, the better for you. Call us today at (970) 243-4357 to learn more.
- Charges: Felony theft
∗ Result: Not guilty at trial
- Charges: Felony theft and trespass of an auto
∗ Result: Not guilty at trial
- Charges: Second degree burglary and tampering with evidence
∗ Result: Plea to trespassing, deferred sentence
- Charges: Armed robbery
∗ Result: Charges reduced to simple robbery after substantial evidence was suppressed due to an illegal search.
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∗ Not all criminal cases are the same. These results are from actual cases handled by the attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC. This is not a representation, guarantee or promise as to the results or outcome of your particular matter.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.