Colorado Theft Laws

Under Colorado law, theft is defined broadly as it incorporates other crimes such as larceny, grand larceny, embezzlement, false pretenses, and shoplifting. A person commits theft in Colorado when he or she, intending to permanently deprive anything of value of another person:

  • Knowingly obtains, retains or controls the item; and
  • Does so without authorization or by threat or deception.

However, Colorado theft laws also apply to those who didn't actually do the taking. For example, one can commit theft by knowingly receiving stolen property or by failing to promptly return property they were only allowed to hold for a certain period of time. Also, perhaps because it's home to one of the famous ski resorts at Vail, Colorado also classifies as theft the unauthorized sale or resale of tickets or passes for ski resorts.

Colorado Theft Laws: An Overview

For more information on theft laws in Colorado, consult the chart below.

Statutes
  • Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-4-401 (theft)
  • Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-4-403 (broadly defining theft)
  • Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-4-406 (willfully concealing goods in a store or other business is evidence of intent to commit theft)
  • Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-4-407 (allowing a store owner to reasonably detain and question individuals suspected of theft)
  • Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-4-416 (theft by resale of a lift ticket or coupon)
  • Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-4-417 (prohibiting use or sale of devices to prevent theft detection)
Penalties and Sentences

The penalties and sentences for theft depend on the value of the object involved, as described below:

  • Less than $50: Class 1 Petty Offense punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to $500 in fines
  • Between $50 and $300: Class 3 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to $750 in fines
  • Between $300 and $750: Class 2 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines
  • Between $750 and $2,000: Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 1.5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines
  • Between $2,000 and $5,000: Class 6 Felony punishable by up to 1.5 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines
  • Between $5,000 and $20,000: Class 5 Felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison and up to $100,00 in fines
  • Between $20,000 and $100,000: Class 4 Felony punishable by up to 6 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines
  • Between $100,000 and $1 Million: Class 3 Felony punishable by up to 12 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines
  • Over $1 Million: Class 2 Felony punishable by up to 24 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines
Defenses

Defenses include:

  • Execution of public duty
  • Choice of evils/justification
  • Duress
  • Entrapment
  • Involuntary Intoxication
  • Impaired mental condition
  • Insanity
  • Age (no child under 10 can be guilty of any criminal offense)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Additional Resources For Colorado Theft Laws

Free Initial Evaluation Of Your Colorado Theft Case

If you're facing charges under Colorado theft laws, there's a wide range of possible outcomes, from acquittal to significant prison time and fines. The result will ultimately depend on the evidence in your case and your ability to shape that evidence in your defense. As with any criminal case, it's critical to have a professional on your side to advocate on your behalf. You can get started today by arranging a free initial case evaluation with an experienced criminal defense attorney near you.

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