CO Theft From an At-Risk Person: What Is It?

Are you familiar with Colorado’s theft from an at-risk person laws? If not, it’s important to learn about them. This is especially true if you or someone you know has been charged with this type of criminal activity. 

Theft from an at-risk person can have extraordinary consequences in the state of Colorado, and it’s a crime that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Let’s take a closer look at what constitutes theft from an at-risk person and the penalties associated with it. 

What Is Considered Theft from an At-Risk Person?

According to Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-6.5-103, theft from an at-risk person occurs when someone knowingly obtains or exercises control over property or money belonging to or owed to a person aged 70 years or older, someone with a physical disability, or someone with mental illness who cannot manage their own affairs. 

This type of theft does not require taking possession of the property – it can include using someone else’s credit card without permission or writing bad checks on another person’s account. It also includes embezzlement and fraud involving elderly, disabled, or mentally ill individuals. 

In other words, if you steal from someone over 70, or from anyone suffering from a disability or mental illness, you can be charged with theft from an at-risk person. 

Penalties for Theft from an At-Risk Person

The penalties for theft from an at-risk person vary depending on whether it is charged as a felony or misdemeanor in Colorado courts, as well as the value of the item(s) stolen and whether there are any mitigating circumstances involved. 

Theft from an at-risk person is considered a Class 4 felony in Colorado if the value of stolen goods exceeds $500. If the amount is less than $500 but greater than $50, it is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor. And if the amount is less than $50 but more than zero dollars, then it is considered a petty offense – the equivalent of a traffic ticket – and carries no jail time as a penalty.

In addition to fines and court costs, there may be additional restitution if victims have suffered financial losses due to the crime. A conviction could also mean having to serve jail time (up to six years for felonies and up to 18 months for misdemeanors), probation (which may involve community service), mandatory attendance at educational programs related to ethics and financial responsibility, and/or restitution payments made directly to victims of the crime. 

In some cases where the value stolen was relatively small, prosecutors may agree to drop charges if defendants agree to pay restitution directly back to victims prior to any court proceedings taking place. However, only an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you on your individual circumstances and help you reach the best possible outcome in your case. 

What Should Coloradans Do If Charged with This Crime?

Colorado Springs Theft Crimes Lawyer

As you might imagine, there is a greater stigma attached to stealing from an at-risk person than there is with regular theft crimes. Anyone charged is likely to be seen as preying on someone vulnerable, and prosecutors and judges are more likely to treat them harshly.

Because of this, it is even more important than in other types of theft cases to make sure you craft the strongest defense possible. That means working with an experienced Colorado Springs defense attorney with a proven track record in these types of cases.


About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.