Des Moines Theft Attorneys
Aggressive Defense Against Theft Charges in Iowa
Theft charges can arise for many reasons, all of which are enunciated in Section 714 of the Iowa criminal code. The reasons can result in anything from a low-level misdemeanor to a felony charge. All these charges have in common that they can put a defendant behind bars and seriously impact their future. It’s essential to bring in our Des Moines theft lawyers who believes in their clients, in their right to due process, and fights for their best interests.
Conviction on theft charges can have serious consequences that may hinder one’s ability to find employment, housing, or education. To say nothing of possible fines and jail time.
Are you facing theft crime charges in Iowa? Call Lombardi & Miler Law Firm today at (515) 206-8366 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our theft lawyers in Des Moines!
Defining Theft in Iowa
The strict legal definition of theft in the state of Iowa is “taking possession or control of the property of another or property in possession of another, with intent to deprive.” Or, in layman’s terms, the defendant took something that didn’t belong to them.
From a legal perspective, it’s important to distinguish theft from two commonly associated crimes: burglary and robbery. A burglary charge focuses on the unlawful entering of property with the intent to commit a crime. Robbery means any theft that occurred with force or the threat of force.
This means that, depending on the circumstances, theft could be just the beginning of the charges the prosecution intends to bring.
Theft Classifications & Penalties
Iowa law classifies theft in five ways, focusing on the value of what’s alleged to have been stolen…
5th Degree Theft: The lowest-level offense involves property worth no more than $300. Possible sentences for conviction could be a fine of as high as $855 (+ $ 128.25 surcharge) and thirty days in jail.
4th Degree Theft: Convictions for taking property valued between $300 and $750 can result in one year of jail time and fines amounting to $2,560 (+$384 surcharge).
3rd Degree Theft: We are now at the level where a person’s previous record can have an impact. Those with two prior theft convictions on their record can be charged with theft in the 3rd degree even if the common value of the property would suggest a 4th or 5th-degree charge. Otherwise, 3rd-degree theft is property worth $750 to $1,000, and conviction means a defendant might need to serve two years in prison, and the fine could reach over $8,540 (+$1,281 surcharge).
2nd Degree Theft: All previous theft degrees have been misdemeanors. At 2nd degree, we are in felony territory. The property must be worth between $1,500 and $10,000, or it can be a car theft of any value. A judge can order five years of prison time in the event of a conviction and levy a fine of $10,245 (+$1,536.75 surcharge).
1st Degree Theft: At the top of the ladder are charges. The alleged property stolen is more valuable than $10,000 or involves stealing from a building destroyed by a natural disaster or a riot. If convicted, the defendant is looking at a possible 10-year prison stretch, a fine of $13,660 (+$2,049 surcharge), and an order to pay restitution to the victim.
Defenses Against Theft Charges
It’s important to know that theft under Iowa law can come about by misunderstandings. It doesn’t have to be a deliberate attempt to take property. The failure to return property one rented or was loaned could result in theft charges. The person who rents a snowblower and doesn’t return it could face theft charges. The person who borrowed their neighbor’s tools and didn’t return them could face theft charges. But perhaps the defendant forgot they had the tools or meant to return the snowblower and never got around to it.
Simply returning the property can go a long way in cases like these. Strictly speaking, the District Attorney is not obligated to drop charges if the property is returned. Still, this act of good will may help move the process in that direction.
In other cases, the basic principle of presumed innocence is at the core of the American criminal justice system. All defendants have the right to be presumed innocent. All prosecutors must not only prove guilt, but they must also do so beyond any reasonable doubt. That’s not an easy standard to meet, and a good Des Moines theft lawyer who believes in their client and is ready to explore alternative scenarios for the missing property can help the jury see that other explanations are possible.
Start your defense with our Des Moines theft crime attorneys today!
Contact Our Des Moines Theft Lawyers Today
At Lombardi & Miler Law Firm, we’re here to fight for defendants, not judge them. Our job is to defend your freedom, record, and reputation vigorously. It’s our responsibility to be there for you or your loved one and be accessible.
Contact Lombardi & Miler Law Firm today to schedule a FREE consultation with our theft attorneys in Des Moines!
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