Rise in Property Crimes Since Legalization of Weed
Legal marijuana shops are linked to higher levels of property crime in nearby areas, according to a nearly three-year study in Denver. Researchers from Ohio State University found that while crime isn’t higher in the area immediately surrounding marijuana outlets, adjacent areas saw about 84 more property crimes per year than neighborhoods without a nearby marijuana store. (Science Daily). It’s of note that “no significant increase in violent crime was seen as a result of marijuana sales.”
If you are arrested for a property crime in Colorado Springs, do not wait to defend yourself. Call an experienced criminal defense lawyer at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., today.
What Is Property Crime?
Property crimes include crimes relating to theft or destruction of someone else’s property. Examples include theft, larceny, burglary, robbery, shoplifting, arson, and vandalism. Most of these crimes include a spectrum of degrees, depending on factors including the amount stolen in theft-related cases, and actual or potential bodily injury in property destruction.
- Theft is the act of intentionally depriving someone of his or her property. This is a broad term used to describe a wide number of property crimes.
- Larceny is the act of taking something of value without consent and with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the object.
- Burglary is the unlawful entry into a home or other closed structure, often by force or coercion, with the intent of stealing property or committing some other crime on the premises.
- Robbery occurs when one individual uses force or the threat of force to take money or property from another individual, such as pointing a gun at a bank teller and demanding cash.
- Shoplifting is the theft or concealment of merchandise from a retail establishment without the intent to pay for it, such as placing items in one’s pocket and walking out of a store.
- Arson is the intentional burning of almost any type of structure, building, or forest land, with more severe charges if the fire causes bodily injury, involves an inhabited building, or is intended to defraud insurers.
- Vandalism occurs when an individual destroys, defaces, or otherwise degrades someone else’s property without their permission. Vandalism can also be referred to as criminal damage, malicious trespass, or malicious mischief.
Penalties for Property Crime
Depending on the degree of severity, Colorado property crimes can carry serious penalties. Below are examples of the penalties for some types of property crime.
- Vandalism (Colorado Revised Code, Title 18, Article 4, Part 5): There are eight levels of penalty for a Colorado vandalism charge, depending on the aggregate amount of damage to property. The lowest penalty is for a Class 3 Misdemeanor and is punishable with up to six months imprisonment and/or $50-$75 in fines. The highest penalty is for a Class 2 Felony, and is punishable with 8-24 years imprisonment and/or $5,000-$1 million in fines.
- Theft (Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-4-401): There are nine levels of penalty for a Colorado theft charge, depending on the value of the object(s) involved. The lowest penalty is for a Class 1 Petty Offense and is punishable by up to six months in jail and up to $500 in fines. The highest penalty is a Class 2 Felony punishable by up to 24 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines.
- Criminal Mischief (Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-4-501): There are eight levels of penalty for a Colorado criminal mischief charge, depending on the value of the property involved. The lowest penalty is for a Class 3 Misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in jail and up to $750 in fines. The highest penalty is for a Class 2 Felony and is punishable by up to 24 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines.
What to Do After a Property Crime Charge
With legal marijuana stores increasing in number in Colorado, property crime arrests may also increase. If you have recently been charged with a property crime in Colorado Springs, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.
An attorney will thoroughly review the details of your case and tailor your property crime defense to your specific situation. For example, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the alleged crime was committed, this may affect your case. If you had a reasonable belief that a property owner would have allowed you on the property where you were charged for breaking and entering, your legal team may use this as a defense.
As a former prosecutor, Timothy Bussey of The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., understands the inner workings of the Colorado criminal justice system. Call (719) 475-2555 to discuss your case with an experienced Colorado Springs theft crime attorney.