Iowa Theft Laws
According to Iowa Code Section 714.1, a person commits the offense of theft when they do any of the following:
- Take possession or control of the property of another with intent to deprive the owner thereof
- Misappropriate a property entrusted with him or kept in his control
- Obtain the labor or services of another person through deception
- Exercise control over a stolen property
- Take, destroy, conceal, or dispose of property in which someone else has a security interest, with intent to defraud the secured party
- Give a check or draft that won't be paid when presented
- Obtain gasoline, electricity, or water from public utilities without paying
- Access a computer system or network knowingly and without authorization to obtain information
- Obtain cable or telephone service through an unauthorized connection
Degrees of Theft & Possible Penalties
Under Iowa law (Iowa Code Section 714.2), theft is categorized into various "degrees" depending on the value of the stolen property. These include:
A theft offense is considered first-degree theft if it involves:
- The theft of property exceeding $10,000 in value
- The theft of property from another person or from a building that has been destroyed or left unoccupied due to physical disaster, bombing, riot, or the proximity of battle
Penalties: First-degree theft is a Class C felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000.
A theft offense is considered second-degree theft if it involves:
- The theft of property worth more than $5,000 but less than $10,000
- The theft of a motor vehicle worth less than $10,000
Penalties: Second-degree theft is a Class D felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of between $750 and $7,500.
A theft offense is considered third-degree theft if it involves:
- The theft of property worth more than $750 but less than $5,000
- The theft of any property worth less than $750 by a person with two prior theft convictions
Penalties: Third-degree theft is an aggravated misdemeanor and is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of between $625 and $6,250.
A charge of fourth-degree theft involves the theft of property more than $300 but less than $750 in value.
Penalties: Fourth-degree theft is a serious misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of between $315 and $1,875.
The theft of property less than $300 in value is considered fifth-degree theft.
Penalties: Fifth-degree theft is a simple misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of between $65 and $625.
Common Theft Defenses
When facing theft allegations, your attorney may use defenses including:
- Lack of intent to deprive the rightful owner of the property
- The owner gave consent
- The property was not, in fact, stolen
- Involuntary intoxication
- The defendant planned to search for the legal owner and return the property back to them
- The legal owner may have lost the property
Work With a Knowledgeable Attorney
Trying to defend yourself against theft allegations without proper guidance or legal representation could easily expose you to the possibility of suffering the maximum punishment. If convicted, you could be facing severe consequences, including substantial fines, a lengthy prison sentence, and other social consequences. When facing theft charges, you need to hire a knowledgeable Iowa criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and craft your defense strategy.
At Olberding Law Office, I have devoted my career to handling criminal cases, including theft-related matters, and defending clients wrongfully accused of theft. As your legal counsel, I will review the facts of your case, conduct a detailed, private investigation, and strategize an effective defense in pursuit of the best possible outcome for your unique situation. I will fight aggressively to help protect your rights and ensure that you are given fair treatment.