Experienced theft, robbery and burglary defense in Denver
Theft, robbery and burglary are some of the most commonly charged crimes in Colorado. 2016 Denver crime statistics show that almost 23,000 incidents of theft were reported in the city and county of Denver (including auto theft and theft from a motor vehicle), as well as over 1,000 robberies.
Our experienced Denver theft defense lawyers know the ins and outs of Colorado’s theft, robbery and burglary laws. We understand how the police and prosecutors put together their cases. We know the best defense to Colorado burglary, robbery and theft charges and how to find the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
No matter how serious the charges, Colorado theft cases are seldom unwinnable. Our caring Denver burglary defense lawyers will work to uncover the evidence that presents your side of the story in the best light. We will fight proactively and aggressively to exclude or explain the evidence against you.
The difference between Colorado theft, robbery and burglary
In Colorado, you commit theft when you take anything of value belonging to another person without that person’s consent. Depending on the value of the property stolen, theft can be a petty offense, a misdemeanor or a felony.
If, however, you knowingly take property from someone by the use of force, threats, or intimidation, it becomes robbery, which is always a felony.
And if you wrongfully enter a property in order to commit theft or any other crime (not just theft) it is burglary. Burglary is always a felony (as is the unlawful possession of burglary tools, such as crowbars, lock picks, and blowtorches).
Penalties for theft, robbery and burglary are harsher than you might expect. They can include many years in a Colorado prison, especially if someone was harmed or the goal was to obtain a controlled substance.
Defending Colorado theft, robbery and burglary charges
It can often seem that charges of theft, robbery or burglary are a slam dunk because you were caught with stolen goods.
However, our compassionate Colorado theft attorneys understand that there are many reasons why you may have been accused, including mistaken witness identification or unknowing receipt of stolen goods. We also know that the cops frequently make mistakes. Whether you were the victim of an illegal search and seizure or someone holding a grudge, our meticulous research of your case will turn up all the problems with the prosecutor’s case.
To help you better understand the consequences of theft, robbery and burglary, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:
- Colorado petty theft laws — 18-4-401, C.R.S.
- Colorado misdemeanor theft laws — 18-4-401, C.R.S.
- Colorado felony theft laws — 18-4-401, C.R.S.
- Colorado robbery laws — 18-4-301, C.R.S.
- Colorado burglary laws — 8-4-201, C.R.S.
- Defenses to Colorado theft, robbery and burglary charges
- Call us for help…
You commit theft under when you knowingly obtain anything of value from another person with the intent to deprive that person permanently of the property. This includes theft by threat, deception, fraud or simply refusing to return it.
Penalties for theft in Colorado are set forth in Title 18, Article 4 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.). Theft can be a petty offense, a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the item stolen.
- If the total value of the item(s) stolen is less than $300, theft is a Colorado petty offense. Learn more about Colorado petty theft laws.
- Anything worth $300 or more, but less than $2,000, is a Colorado misdemeanor. Learn more about Colorado misdemeanor theft laws.
- And if the value of the property is $2,000 or more, theft is a Colorado felony. Learn more about Colorado felony theft laws.
Colorado theft penalties start low but increase rapidly as the value of the property goes up. When the property is worth $1,000,000 or more, consequences can include as much as 24 years in prison.1
Colorado theft laws also cover, among other crimes:
- 18-4-404, C.R.S. — obtaining control over any stolen thing of value (receiving stolen property)
- 18-4-408, C.R.S. — theft of trade secrets
- 18-4-401, C.R.S. — deceptive sales and business practices
- 18–4–409, C.R.S. — motor vehicle theft (also known as “grand theft auto”), and
- 18-4-420, C.R.S. — chop shop activity.
See our related article, When is theft charged as a felony in Colorado?
In essence, robbery is theft accomplished by the use of force, threats, or intimidation.2
Simple robbery is a Colorado class 4 felony. Consequences can include 2-6 years in prison, but can be as much as 16 years for aggravated robbery3 or 28 years for aggravated robbery of a controlled substance.4
Colorado aggravated robbery occurs when:
You or a confederate is armed with a deadly weapon (or any article that appears to be a deadly weapon) and either of you:
- Intends, if resisted, to kill, maim, or wound the person you are robbing or any other person;
- Knowingly wounds or strikes the person robbed or any other person with a deadly weapon;
- By carrying a deadly weapon and using force, threats, or intimidation knowingly puts the person robbed or any other person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury.
It is a common misconception that burglary is simply theft via breaking and entering.
In actuality, you commit burglary when you wrongfully enter or stay on someone else’s property with the intent of committing any crime (other than trespass). It is not burglary however, if you enter the premises legally and only decide to commit a crime once you are there.
You also commit burglary when you break into a locked container, such as a safe or a vault.
Colorado burglary falls into four basic categories:
- Third-degree burglary, 18-4-204, C.R.S., involves breaking into a vault, safe, or other locked container with the intent to commit a crime (usually theft);
- Second-degree burglary, 18-4-203, C.R.S., consists of knowingly breaking into or remaining unlawfully in a building or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime;
- First-degree burglary, 18-4-202, C.R.S., is the same as 2nd-degree burglary, except that someone inside the structure is assaulted or menaced; and
- Possession of burglary tools, 18-4-205, C.R.S., which punished possession of any explosive, tool, instrument, or other article intended to help gain forcible entry or physically steal an object).
Consequences of second-degree burglary are typically 2-6 years in prison when the structure is a business. Penalties increase significantly, however, when:
- The building is a dwelling,
- You intend to steal a controlled substance, or
- You use a deadly weapon.5
The best defense in a Colorado theft, robbery or burglary case depends on the precise charges and circumstances. However, defenses we often present include (but are not limited to):
- The property was yours,
- The other person gave you the property,
- You were just borrowing the property,
- The property was worth less than the prosecution claims,
- You weren’t armed,
- You didn’t threaten anyone,
- You were lawfully on the property,
- You didn’t enter the building intending to commit a crime,
- You weren’t there to steal drugs.
Colorado theft, robbery and burglary charges can carry serious potential consequences, not the least of which is many years in a Colorado prison (not jail).
Our caring and experienced Colorado and Denver theft crimes lawyers understand how the police and prosecutors build their cases. We know how to defend them, which we do with every tool at our disposal.
Intent can be hard to prove — which is why you want us in your corner. We will present a vigorous defense and do whatever we legally can to keep you out of prison and preserve your freedom.
If you or someone you know has been charged with theft, robbery or burglary in Colorado, we invite you to call us for a free consultation. For the quickest response, just fill out the form on this page. Or call us at our Denver home office, conveniently located near both Interstate 25 and the I-70 corridor:
Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver, CO 80211
- 18-4-401, C.R.S.
- 18-4-301, C.R.S.
- 18-4-302, C.R.S.
- 18-4-303, C.R.S.
- Note that as of March 1, 2022, burglary is a class 2 misdemeanor if the person knowingly violated a written notice by a retailer – or a court order – specifically restraining a person from entering a particular retail location during hours which the retail store is open to the public. Penalties are up to 120 days in jail and/or up to $750 in fines. SB21-271.