From gift shopping and online ordering to family vacations and road trips, the holidays are a busy and frantic time of year. Since malls and stores are busier than ever and homes are left unattended for long periods of time, theft crimes are more prevalent during this time of year.
Theft is defined as knowingly obtaining or exercising control over another person’s or entity’s property or goods, intending to deprive the rightful owner of their property or goods. The penalties for theft in Colorado depend on the value of the stolen property or goods.
For example, stealing an item worth between $50 and $300 is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum six-month jail sentence and/or a fine of up to $750. Stealing anything worth between $2,000 and $5,000 is a Class 6 felony, punishable by a prison term of up to one and half years and/or a maximum $100,000 fine.
The following are the most common forms of holiday theft:
- Shoplifting – There are many people who want to get involved in the gift-giving spirit by attempting to use a five-finger discount. Since malls and stores are always chaotic during the holidays, shoplifters will try to take advantage of the over-crowdedness and lack of oversight and security. However, shoplifting charges not only involve a jail sentence and fines, but also restitution to compensate shop owners for any damage caused by criminal acts. Since shops have many security cameras, you may end up getting arrested well after the incident has occurred. If you can't afford presents for your loved ones, the most important gift is simply being there.
- Porch pirates – While many Americans buy their holiday gifts at stores, many others order them from online retailers in recent years. However, the increase in online shopping has resulted in a rise in “porch pirates,” which are individuals who steal packages from front doors as soon as they are delivered. That is why many homeowners have installed doorbell cameras to thwart this trend. If you see an unattended package on a porch, be wary that you may be recorded or someone is watching.
- Burglary – Since many Americans travel out of town during the holidays, homes are left unoccupied for long periods of time, which can attract burglars to plan a break-in. Burglary penalties are not the same as theft crimes since merely breaking into a home warrants a burglary charge. Breaking into a home in Colorado is considered second-degree burglary, which is a Class 3 felony that carries a maximum 12-year prison term and/or a fine no more than $750,000. Modern homes are often equipped with security systems that are triggered upon forced entry, so there is a short window to burgle a home until the police arrive.
If you have been accused of a theft crime in Denver, contact Orr Law Firm today at (303) 747-4247 for a free consultation. Get an experienced and award-winning legal team on your side!