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When does theft become a felony offense in Colorado?

Posted on October 14, 2021

Theft and other property crimes are usually less serious offenses than violent crimes, meaning theft offenses often result in lower charges and lesser penalties. Someone accused of theft will frequently face misdemeanor charges for the offense. 

However, sometimes, someone accused of stealing will face much more serious felony charges, which come with more penalties. When will a Colorado state prosecutor try to bring felony charges against you related to a theft accusation?

The value of the property involved plays a role

For many people facing theft charges, the deciding factor between a misdemeanor and felony charge will be the total value of the assets involved. Under Colorado law, theft of items worth more than $2,000 will likely result in felony charges. 

If the value is between $2,000 and $5,000, the offense will be a Class 6 felony. Anything worth between $5,000 and $20,000 is a Class 5 felony. Once the value of the property reaches a million dollars or more, the offense will be a Class 2 felony,  which might mean up to 24 years in prison and fines of as much as $1,000,000. 

Aggravating factors can also increase the charges you face

Sometimes, a theft crime becomes a felony offense because of factors that make it particularly dangerous or concerning. For example, a robbery that involved a weapon poses much more threat of harm than a shoplifting incident.

Even a pick-pocket could face felony charges if they target the wrong people. Preying on older adults as a thief could mean felony charges, even if the property is worth less than $2,000. Understanding how Colorado handles theft charges can help you plan to defend against a pending charge.