Theft in Colorado
Theft is the taking of a thing of value from another person with the “intent to permanently deprive the other person” of the thing of value. The District Attorney must prove that you intended that the owner would never get the items or money back. If you borrowed the items or money, this is not considered to be a criminal act in Colorado – even if the owner was not aware that you borrowed it.
- Under $100 is a Class 3 Misdemeanor (M3)
- $100 to $499.99 is a Class 2 Misdemeanor (M2)
- $500 to $14,999.99 is a Class 4 Felony (F4)
- $15,000 or more is a Class 3 Felony (F3)
If you commit several thefts, and are later caught for the thefts, the total amount of the thefts (added together) may be used to calculate what degree of crime you are charged with. For example, if you stole $300 in November (a misdemeanor), and then $200 in December (a misdemeanor), the District Attorney can combine the totals to make $500, and charge you with a felony.
If you steal something directly from the actual body of a person, for example, pick-pocketing someone, it is a Class 5 Felony, regardless of what is taken – even if it is worth a penny.
The sentence for Theft cases will often depend on the facts surrounding the case. Someone who steals something on a momentary impulse will likely get a lesser sentence than someone who stole methodically and repeatedly over time. A person who stole $16,000 may get probation, while the person who stole $200,000 may go to prison. Theft from at-risk adults or children will be treated more severely. Penalties are usually harsher when you steal from someone who has entrusted you, such as an employer. For more on the possible sentences for each class of criminal offense, please visit our sentencing page.
Theft by Receiving
Theft by receiving, much like it sounds, is accepting something when you know it has been stolen. A defense to your Theft by Receiving case may be that you had no knowledge that the items had been stolen. The possible sentences for Theft by Receiving are also based on dollar value, and are identical to those for Theft (see above).
Theft of Rental Property
Failing to return rental property for 72 hours or more beyond the agreed upon return date is considered theft. The same dollar values apply. In the instance of a rental car, this is likely to be a Class Three Felony. You can also be convicted if you took the item without consent, or by deceiving the owner.
Increase to Felony Theft Definition
Theft is now a felony only if $1,000 or more is stolen. Until recently, it was a felony if the amount in question was $500 or more. If multiple instances of theft can be added together to total $1,000 or more, then you will likely be charged with a felony offense.