The most common form of theft charges arise when it is alleged that a person knowingly exercised control over anything of value belonging to another person without authorization and with the intention to permanently deprive the owner of the thing(s) of value. There are other provisions of the law that amount to theft as well, but this is the most common form. The penalties for theft crimes are defined by the value of the property taken.
Defending against theft charges takes a detailed look at the actions of the person charged, the manner in which the “theft” was detected, and the manner in which the value is placed on the stolen item(s).
Burglary is most commonly defined as entering a location with the intent to commit a crime. The seriousness of the offense is determined by the nature of the location involved and what crime was intended to be committed upon entry. There are several levels of burglary charges as well, all of which are considered quite serious. An examination and analysis of the actions of the person accused, the type of structure entered, and all other relevant factors are essential to properly defending against these charges.
Trespassing is most commonly defined as entering or remaining in the dwelling or premises of another or entering a motor vehicle with the intent to commit a crime. Trespass can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the dwelling or premises. Again, the actions of the person charged are important to examine, along with the reasons for those actions.
In Colorado “criminal mischief” is defined as damaging the property of another person – even if it was in a series of events. The value of the property damaged impacts the seriousness of the offense. The higher the value of the damaged property, the more serious the charge.
Often the value of the property damaged can be challenged – as it is not “replacement” cost but the actual value of the property at the time of the damage that is the key factor. What is a six year old coffee mug worth, for example.
A person can be charged with “criminal mischief” even if the damaged property was partially owned by the person who did the damage – like if a husband punches a hole in the wall of a family home that he is part owner of. Because the wife is also an owner, the law says it was her property that was damaged as well, so the husband can be charged with the damage.