Aggravated Theft Lawyer in Iowa

If you've been accused of assaulting someone while shoplifting, you need an Iowa Aggravated Theft lawyer.

Your Des Moines attorney can help you understand the violent crime / property crime the government accused you of.

Iowa Aggravated Theft Lawyer

At Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, we defend the rights and liberties of good people who are accused of bad things.

An Iowa lawyer for Aggravated Theft might be able to help you avoid conviction. If a judge or jury acquits you, then you could save thousands of dollars in fines and surcharges. Similarly, if a judge or prosecutor dismisses the charges, you could go home to your family. Going home is better than going to jail.

Get out of trouble and get back to life. Call Katherine Sears at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC. You can set up a free consultation now at (515) 491 6128. A receptionist is available 24/7 to take your call.

The criminal defense lawyers at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, are based in Des Moines and Ankeny. They represent defendants throughout Polk County and the rest of Iowa.

Aggravated Theft in Iowa

Iowa Code Section 711.3B explains aggravated theft.  Aggravated theft is usually an aggravated misdemeanor but can sometimes be a felony.

In order to prove that you committed aggravated theft, the government must show that you:

  • Committed an assault
  • The assault was a simple misdemeanor punishable under Iowa Code Section 708.2(6)
  • You took (or tried to take) property
  • That property did not exceed $300 in value
  • You took (or tried to take) the property from a store or mercantile establishment
    • (OR you concealed the store's property)
  • You committed the assault AFTER you committed or attempted the theft 

Aggravated Misdemeanor Aggravated Theft  

If the government can prove the elements of aggravated theft but CANNOT prove that you have previously been previously convicted of another aggravated theft, robbery, or extortion offense, you will be convicted of an aggravated misdemeanor.

Class D Felony Aggravated Theft  

If the government can prove the elements of aggravated theft and can ALSOT prove that you have previously been previously convicted of another aggravated theft, robbery, or extortion offense, you will be convicted of a Class D felony.

Penalties for Iowa Aggravated Theft

Robbery is a felony offense.

  • Aggravated Misdemeanor Aggravated Theft 
    • Up to two years in prison
    • $855 minimum to $8,540 maximum fine
  • Class D Felony Aggravated Theft
    • Up to five years in prison 
    • $1,025 minimum to $10,245 maximum

You will have to pay an additional 15% crime services surcharge on any fine

Class D Felony Aggravated Theft is a Forcible Felony

"A “forcible felony” is any felonious child endangerment, assault, murder, sexual abuse, kidnapping, robbery, human trafficking, arson in the first degree, or burglary in the first degree. " - Iowa Code 702.11

No deferred or suspended judgments or sentences

Iowa Code 907.3 won't permit the judge to grant you a deferred judgment, deferred sentence, or suspended sentence following a forcible felony conviction.    If you're convicted, a prison sentence will be imposed.

Loss of Gun Rights

Felons don't get guns in Iowa.

Aggravated Theft Enhancements

Habitual Offender

If you are convicted of Class "D" felony Aggravated Theft and you have two or more previous felony convictions from any jurisdiction, you may be charged as a "habitual offender."

The penalty for a habitual offender is a prison sentence of up to 15 years, rather than a prison sentence of up to 5 years.

If you're sentenced to prison as a habitual offender, you won't be eligible for work release or for parole for at least 3 years.

Aggravated Theft Defenses 

Mistaken Identity

If it's reasonable to think that someone else was the person committing the offense, then you shouldn't be held responsible.


Were you somewhere else? If you were testifying in front of Congress at the time of the alleged offense, the jury should hear about your alibi.

Fourth Amendment Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment, with some specific and well-delineated exceptions, guards you from warrantless searches and seizures.

Iowa charges related to Aggravated Theft

There are related offenses the government might also charge you with. Your Iowa aggravated theft lawyer can explain these.


Stealing things is illegal.  Read more about theft.


Discharging dangerous weapons into occupied places (or threatening to do that) is a felony.  

Read more about Intimidation.


There are a range of assault charges. Depending on your situation, you could be charged with a simple assault under Iowa Code 708.2, facing up to 30 days in jail and fines of $105-$855 (plus surcharges.) Alternatively, you might face something worse. When you're convicted of a forcible felony while displaying a dangerous weapon, you will face at least five years in jail without the possibility of parole.  Iowa Code 902.7.

Disorderly conduct

Disorderly conduct is a simple misdemeanor.


Harassment is a misdemeanor offense. Depending on the details and severity, harassment can be a simple, serious, or aggravated misdemeanor.

Des Moines Lawyer

Call an Iowa aggravated theft lawyer when you’re facing charges in the city of Des Moines Iowa or near Iowa State University.

A Des Moines lawyer can help ensure that your rights are protected when you’re accused of an offense in the greater Des Moines area.

polk county iowa criminal defense lawyers katie sears john sears defense attorneys

This blog post is for informational purposes only. Don’t rely on it as legal advice. It may be out of date. It may not apply to your situation. Reading this site doesn’t make me your lawyer.

Consult with a licensed robbery lawyer in your jurisdiction.  If you want to talk to us about your Iowa case, please contact us at (515) 491 6128. We’ll set up a time to talk.

What will happen if I’m charged?

When someone alleges that you committed aggravated theft, law enforcement will investigate. Then, if a judge finds probable cause, you could go to jail. Once in jail, you might be let out on bond. Pretrial release might let you out. You might not be let out at all.

Instead of sending you to jail, the judge might give you papers. Those papers will tell you when your court date is. After your arrest. police will read you your rights. Then, they will give you time to call an intimidation attorney or a law firm. 

Preliminary Hearing

At an initial appearance, you will see a judge. The judge might schedule a preliminary hearing. At a preliminary hearing, you or your lawyer will ask questions. One or more witnesses will be under oath. After the questions, the judge will decide whether probable cause exists.

Your attorney might suggest waiving the preliminary hearing. Before deciding, consult your lawyer. Alternatively, the prosecutor might file the "trial information" before the preliminary hearing. If so, there won't be a preliminary hearing.


Your attorney tell you about your next court date. After your preliminary hearing happens (or after you receive the trial information,) you will have an  arraignment.


Police will give reports to the county attorney's office. Then, the county attorney's office will review the information. After the prosecutor reads the reports, they will decide what offenses to charge you with. For instance, a prosecutor might charge you with a misdemeanor. Alternatively, they could accuse you of a felony.

Your defense lawyer will tell you what the government accused you of. Moreover, they will explain your rights. You also need to know how this could affect your criminal record. In short, they will tell you about the worst case scenario. A criminal lawyer will tell you more about the fines, terms of incarceration, and collateral consequences that might apply.

Your law firm will give you legal advice. Specifically, they will explain the pros and cons of taking your case to trial. After all, only you can decide whether or not to accept a plea offer. 

Finally, if a jury convicts you, you can probably appeal. The court of appeals hears appellate arguments. So does the Iowa Supreme Court. Because they review legal issues, they might find a constitutional problem. That means that the law can be illegal. Alternatively, the district court might have treated a legal law illegally. However, the right to appeal does not apply to simple misdemeanors. Ask your criminal defense attorney for more information.


What should I know about Iowa aggravated theft lawyers generally?

Attorneys completed their bachelor’s or 4-year degrees. Thereafter, they went to law school. One example is Drake University Law School. That school is in Des Moines.  Afterward, Iowa lawyers take the bar exam. Thereafter, a committee evaluates their character and fitness. The Iowa State Bar admits Iowa lawyers. The Iowa bar association regulates the legal profession.

Some lawyers and law firms do general practice. In light of that, they accept all kind of representation.  In contrast, some lawyers specialize in particular areas of law. For example, a lawyer might do only civil practice. When a lawyer does civil work, they might handle divorces. Additionally, the Iowa lawyer might represent small claims cases. Further, a civil practice lawyer could do personal injury work. In another case, the lawyer might focus on family law or child custody.

Alternatively, some lawyers practice only criminal defense.  Some lawyers get even more particular. For instance, a lawyer might take only domestic violence defense. Another lawyer might focus on sex crime, sexual abuse, operating while intoxicated, child endangerment, child abuse, indecent exposure, theft, possession of controlled substances, sex crimes, marijuana, DUI defense, controlled substance offenses, arson, criminal mischief, vehicular homicide, drug offenses, traffic violations, violent crime or drunk driving. 

Federal courts

Many Iowa lawyers practice only in Iowa courts. The Iowa Code defines all Iowa crimes. The Iowa rules of criminal procedure control what happens in Iowa criminal justice cases.

Federal court is different. If you are facing federal charges for a federal criminal offense, make sure to let your Iowa lawyer know. Because Iowa federal courts are not state law courts in Iowa, your lawyer might refer you elsewhere. Federal prosecutors and federal judges use different procedural rules. Federal crimes are subject to federal sentencing.

What offenses exist in Iowa criminal law?

Criminal law offenses are misdemeanors or felonies. Class A felonies exist, but most people facing felony charges are facing a class B felony, a class C felony, or a class D felony. If you have questions about Iowa intimidation offenses, ask a lawyer.

What can an Iowa lawyer do for me?

When accused, contact an attorney or law firm. Make sure to call one who works with Iowa criminal law.

If there’s a warrant out for your arrest, your Iowa lawyer will help. In that case, you will coordinate with law enforcement. Self-surrender won't be as embarrassing as public arrest would be.

Your Iowa criminal lawyer will stay in touch with the county attorney’s office. That means they will let the prosecutor know whether you choose to exercise or waive your right to speedy trial.  Further, counsel can provide legal guidance. For example, you need to know whether it's a good idea to consider a plea agreement or to go to trial. They will talk to you about whether a judge or jury is likely to find a particular witness credible.

Your criminal lawyer will let you know what sort of jail time you might be facing if convicted. Moreover, they can explain how conviction impacts criminal history. Finally, they can discuss whether or not the prosecutor might dismiss your charges.

Victim Resources

A Victim Services Support Program is available through the Iowa attorney general’s office.