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Misdemeanor and Petty Theft

Whether it was intentional or not, stealing or fraudulently taking personal property from another without consent is a crime in Colorado. Property stolen valued at less than $2,000 will result in criminal charges for misdemeanor or petty theft depending on the facts of the case. While it may be true the penalties for these types of theft are significantly lower than a felony, that doesn’t mean you should disregard the charges.

Theft is a crime of dishonesty and moral turpitude, which means employers or licensing agencies may hesitate to accept you. A conviction could even disrupt your ability to obtain housing or to qualify for a loan. With so much at stake, it’s important you begin building your defense as soon as possible if you’re faced with misdemeanor or petty theft charges.

Misdemeanor Larceny Lawyer in Denver, Colorado

There’s a high likelihood you’re viewing this webpage because you or someone you know is facing charges for petty or misdemeanor theft. Why not take the initiative and begin building your defense with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C.? Colorado theft defense attorney Matthew Martin has over two decades of courtroom experience he can draw on for your case.

Get started on developing your defense plan with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C.. You can reach our offices at (303) 725-0017 to set up your first consultation in the Denver metropolitan area. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. also accepts clients throughout nearby counties including Arapahoe County, Douglas County, Broomfield County, Boulder County, Jefferson County, Boulder County, and Adams County.

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What is Considered Petty Theft in Colorado?

Although petty theft carries the lightest penalties, a conviction for it could still make a significant impact on your life. Petty theft is a violation of the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) Section 18-4-401, which states a person is guilty of petty theft if they intentionally and unlawfully take property valued less than $50 without consent from the owner.

The following are some examples of petty theft under Colorado law:

  • Shoplifting from a retail establishment
  • Taking property with the promise to pay for it later and then never paying
  • Failing to return a borrowed item within 72 hours of the time you agreed to give it back
  • Switching out price tags on items so they are cheaper
  • “Dine and dash” where you order a meal and leave before paying the bill
  • Sneaking into a movie theater without paying or staying too long for another movie

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Am I Going to Jail for Petty Theft?

You might be wondering if a petty theft offense is enough to constitute jail time. The answer to that questions is maybe. Depending on how you stole the item or property, you could be arrested by law enforcement. For instance, if you shoplift at a retail establishment and you’re caught by a manager, there’s a very high chance they’ll call law enforcement. You may then be arrested for shoplifting and will have to wait until your first appearance for bail.

If you’re convicted of petty theft, the court will sentence you according to the guidelines of a class 1 petty offense. In addition to possible restitution to the victim, you may face:

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $500

Committing multiple theft offenses within a 6-month period may cause the court to reclassify the charges. All instances of theft will be aggregated into a single count and if it amounts to over $50 you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony.


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How Much Do You Have to Steal for a Misdemeanor in Colorado?

Stealing items valued at more than $50, but less than $2,000 will result in charges for misdemeanor theft. The laws for misdemeanor theft in Colorado can be found under section 18-4-401 of the Revised Statutes. The statute states a person can be guilty of misdemeanor theft in a variety of situations. Some examples of misdemeanor theft in Colorado include:

  • Stealing merchandise from a retail store valued at more than $50, but less than $2,000
  • Taking property from another valued at more than $50, but less than $2,000 with the promise of returning it, but having no intention to do so
  • Stealing property valued at more than $50, but less than $2,000 through deception, such as promising to pay for a service
  • Taking a loan valued at more than $50, but less than $2,000 and knowingly fail to pay it back within 72 hours of the day/time you agreed to

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Can You Go to Jail for Misdemeanor Theft in CO?

Some people make the mistake of not taking their misdemeanor theft charge seriously and ultimately face the harsh penalties at sentencing. A misdemeanor may not be as harsh as a felony, but it’s nothing to take lightly. The sentencing range for misdemeanor larceny in Colorado will depend on the value of the property stolen.

Take note, multiple instances of theft in a 6-month period are sometimes aggregated by the prosecution. This means all the values of the stolen items you’ve acquired in the last 6 months will be added up and you’ll be left to face one theft count at court. In the end, this may cause the court to reclassify your charges and enhance your penalties.

Class 1 Misdemeanor Theft Colorado

The highest type of misdemeanor larceny you can face is a class 1 misdemeanor. You’ll be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor if you stole property valued no less than $750, but no more than $2,000. The maximum sentence you may face for a class 1 misdemeanor upon conviction includes:

  • Up to 18 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • Restitution towards the victim

Class 2 Misdemeanor Theft Colorado

It may have lighter penalties than a class 1 misdemeanor theft offense, but the penalties for a class 2 theft misdemeanor is nothing to scoff at. The court would classify the crime as a class 2 misdemeanor if you stole items valued at least $300, but no more than $750. A class 2 misdemeanor is punishable by:

  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Restitution towards the victim

Class 3 Misdemeanor Theft Colorado

The lightest charge you can receive for misdemeanor theft is a class 3 misdemeanor. The court could classify your crime as a class 3 misdemeanor if you stole items worth at least $50, but no more than $300. The maximum penalty for a class 3 theft misdemeanor in Colorado is:

  • Up to 6 months in prison
  • A fine of up to $750
  • Restitution towards the victim

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Additional Resources

Treatment for Kleptomania | Addiction Hope – Visit the official website for Addiction Hope, an organization dedicated to providing education and resources for those struggling with different types of addiction. Access the site to learn the signs of kleptomania, a potential treatment plan for kleptomania, types of prescriptions that may help, and the different treatment levels.

Colorado Theft Laws | Revised Statutes – Visit the official website for the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) to read up on their laws regarding theft. Access the site to learn the legal definition of theft, the penalties for felony theft, and other offenses against property.


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Petty Theft Defense Attorney in Denver Colorado

If you or someone you love has been arrested or charged with theft, it’s important you tackle your charges immediately and not to leave it on the back-burner. A misdemeanor or petty theft conviction might seem minor in context to a felony theft conviction, but the collateral consequences of the act could disrupt your life. That is why it’s within your best interest to contact Denver larceny attorney Matthew Martin.

Matthew Martin has over 26 years of diverse trial experience and many of those years he was on the district attorney’s side. His practice as both a prosecutor and defense attorney give attorney Martin a unique insight into that may be valuable to you. Call (303) 725-0017 and set up your first consultation with attorney Martin free of charge.