Hundreds of Cases Successfully Handled
Theft is an extremely common crime. It can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the alleged incident and the value of the item that was allegedly stolen.
If you have been accused of or arrested for a theft crime, be sure to retain a capable and reliable criminal defense attorney. At Feld Law Firm, we offer high-quality defense strategies with a focus on achieving favorable results. Our Des Moines theft defense attorney has handled hundreds of criminal cases and is ready to put that experience to work for you.
Degrees of Theft
In Iowa, there are five “levels” or degrees of theft. Each level has a different punishment and fine based on the value of the property that was stolen. Simply stated, theft is taking someone’s property without their consent and without the intent to give that property back to the person. The legal definition of theft is a person taking possession or control of property of another with the specific intent to permanently deprive the person of that property.
The five degrees of theft include:
- Theft in the first degree: The theft of property exceeding $10,000 in value. It is also considered theft in the first degree if you take from a building that has been destroyed due to physical disaster or rioting. This is a class C felony and punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $13,660. There is an extra 15% surcharge and $100 court cost on top of the fine. Additionally, if convicted, you will be required to pay restitution to the victim in the matter.
- Theft in the second degree: The theft of property exceeding $1,500 but not exceeding $10,000 in value or theft of a motor vehicle. This is a class D felony and punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,245. In addition to the fine, there is a 15% surcharge and $100 court costs.
- Theft in the third degree: The theft of property exceeding $750 but not exceeding $1,500 in value. A person can also be convicted of third-degree theft if they have previously been convicted at least two times, even if they did not steal property exceeding $500. This crime is an aggravated misdemeanor and punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine not to exceed $8,540.
- Theft in the fourth degree: The theft of property exceeding $300 but not exceeding $750 in value. This is a serious misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,540. Additionally, there is a 15% surcharge and $100 court costs.
- Theft in the fifth degree: The theft of property not exceeding $300 in value. This is a simple misdemeanor and punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $855. The fine includes a 15% surcharge and $60 court costs. A fifth-degree theft conviction can also include mandatory enrollment in a first-time offender class.
Factors Judges Consider When Sentencing
One of the first questions we tend to get from clients charged with theft is “What is the most likely outcome in my case or will I go to jail?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is "it depends."
To go a little more in detail, it depends on what items were stolen and what they were stolen for in the circumstance. The sentence also depends on whether or not you have previously been convicted of theft or another crime of dishonesty. Further, it depends a little bit on the judge; do we have a strict judge? It may also depend on the county attorney you are working with in the matter. Another big factor is the value of the items that were stolen.
Potential Penalties for a Theft Conviction
In Iowa, being convicted with theft has very serious ramifications for a variety of reasons. First, it will greatly affect your employability, as employers do not tend to hire or retain persons convicted of a crime of dishonesty. As a crime of dishonesty, a conviction for theft will almost always put you toward the bottom on the list of job applicants applying for a position within a company.
Second, if you are enrolled in school, it could affect your ability to obtain your degree. You may be expelled or suspended from your school, and thus lose the money you have already spent at the institution.
Third, friends and family may not look highly upon you for committing a crime of dishonesty and trust may be lost. Finally, if you are convicted of theft, you will have fines to pay off and possible jail time to serve. You might also have to pay restitution.
Retain Legal Representation Early On
At Feld Law Firm, we see too often a person who is charged with a simple misdemeanor theft for the first time where they attend court, plead guilty, pay a fine, and go on their way. Then a few months later, they call us and want the theft off their record because they cannot get the job they wanted due to the theft on their criminal record. At this point, there is not much an attorney can do because it is too late. It is smart to hire an attorney from the beginning and do it right the first time; this cannot be emphasized enough.
Contact Feld Law Firm
If you have been charged with theft, you should seek a Des Moines theft defense attorney to represent your best interests in the matter. Other than a serious crime of violence, this is about one of the worst crimes you can be convicted of in Iowa. By hiring an attorney, you can either mitigate the charge or have the charge outright dismissed.
Our theft defense attorney can also help you prevent the theft charge being on your record for life. Although penalties vary regarding the level of theft charge, they all have a secondary effect with respect to your job, relationships, and financial resources. Do it right the first time.
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Polk County Simple Misdemeanors Starting as low as $1000