Theft by Receiving Stolen Property
(Colorado 18-4-404 C.R.S.)

Receiving stolen property in Colorado

In Colorado, knowingly receiving or obtaining control over stolen property is punished as if you had stolen the property yourself. It is considered a form of theft and governed by section 18-4-404 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.

Under 18-4-404 C.R.S., you can be punished for the receipt of stolen property even if the person who stole the goods is not caught or punished.

Colorado theft by receiving penalties

Punishment for theft by receiving depends on the value of the stolen property.

Receiving a stolen item worth less than $50 is a Colorado petty offense (petty theft). It can be punished by:

  • A fine of up to $500, and/or 
  • Up to 6 months in jail.

If the item is worth over $50, but less than $2,000, theft by receiving is a Colorado misdemeanor. Consequences of misdemeanor theft by receiving can include:

  • Probation (with no jail time) to as much as 18 months in jail, and/or 
  • A fine of up to $5,000.

If the value of the property you receive is more than $5,000, however, theft by receiving is a Colorado felony. Depending on the value of the item(s), Colorado felony theft by receiving can be punished by:

  • 1-24 years in prison, and/or
  • A fine of $1,000-$1,000,000.

In addition, the property will be restored to the rightful owner, and the owner can bring a civil suit against you to recover damages in an amount equal to the greater of:

  • $200, or
  • Three times the owner's actual damages;


  • The costs of the lawsuit and reasonable attorney fees.1

Defenses to receiving stolen property

The best defense to a Colorado theft by receiving charge will depend on the specific facts of your case. Defenses we commonly see, however, include (but are not limited to):

  • You are the rightful owner of the property;
  • You intended to give the property back to the rightful owner;
  • The property was lost or abandoned by the original owner -- not stolen;
  • You had no control over the stolen property;
  • You didn't know the property you received was stolen; 
  • The property was worth less than what the prosecutor says; or
  • The property was found as the result of an illegal search or other police misconduct.

Our Colorado criminal defense lawyers can help you determine which defense is likely to be the most successful in your case.

Call us for help…

Theft by receiving can be a serious Colorado criminal charge. Consequences of receiving stolen property can include not only jail or prison time, but collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, such as difficulty in getting a job.

Yet receipt of stolen property is a charge often leveled against innocent people. It can be hard to know when property is stolen. A mere suspicion is not enough – the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew the property was stolen and that you intended to deprive the rightful owner of it permanently. This can be hard to do.

An experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney can help you challenge the prosecutor's assertions and keep you out of jail. And the lawyers at the Colorado Legal Defense Group are considered some of the best theft defense attorneys in Colorado.

If you or someone you know has been charged with Colorado theft or theft by receiving, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

Simply fill out the confidential form on this page and one of our caring Colorado defense lawyers will get back to you promptly to discuss your case and start planning the best defense strategies to your Colorado theft by receiving charges.

We represent clients accused of crimes throughout the state of Colorado. In Denver, our home office is located at:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 222-0330

Legal references:

  1. 18-4-405 C.R.S.

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