Property Crimes

Get out of trouble and get back to life. We defend the rights and liberties of good people who are accused of bad things.

Des Moines Iowa Property Crime Lawyer

Accusations of property crime could lead to large fines, jail time, restitution payments, and employment problems. Employers won't trust you around money or things of value. Banks might not trust you with loans. You can't afford to be seen as a thief -- not if there's any way to clear your name. Maybe the property was yours to begin with. Maybe your ex is making up a story to get leverage in a divorce or other civil proceeding. A property crime or theft lawyer can review the charges against you and help you determine what defenses may be available.

Get out of trouble and get back to life. Call Clark & Sears Law, you can set up a free consultation now at (515) 200-2787. A receptionist is available 24/7 to take your call.

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Types of Propety Crimes

Theft

There are a number of different things that could earn you a theft conviction. The first and most obvious is taking somebody's stuff with the intent to deprive them of it. It also includes intentionally keeping stuff that you were only allowed to borrow or rent, embezzlement, "dine and dash," and stealing office supplies.

Receiving Stolen Property

If you have property that you know was stolen or that you have reason to believe was stolen, you could be convicted of "receiving stolen property" under Iowa law. This includes things like buying stolen gods and reselling them on eBay or at a pawn shop, "fencing," etc.

Shoplifting

Walmart, Target, and others are out to stop ongoing thefts at their stores. If you walk out with their property in your pocket or purse, skip something into a bag at the self-checkout, hide objects inside of other objects, or eat something you haven't paid for (talking to you, guy or girl who's facing a Theft 5th misdemeanor for eating $3 worth of chicken fries while wandering through a Walmart), they're going to pull you into a back room, question you, call the police, and turn security video over to the prosecution.

Identity Theft

If you use someone else's info to get something of value, you're probably facing a charge ranging in severity from an aggravated misdemeanor to a class "C" felony. Additionally, whatever you got of value is subject to forfeiture. Your victim may file a claim for damages and you may have to pay their attorneys' fees.

Arson

You don't have to burn down a building to be convicted of arson (although, let's be clear, that is arson.) In one well-known local case, a man was convicted to 16 years for (hate crime, harassment, reckless use of fire as a habitual offender and) arson involving setting a stolen pride flag on fire.

Causing a fire or explosion is arson. So is putting burning material or explosive devices in or near property if you intend to destroy or damage the property or if you know the property will probably be destroyed or damaged.

Causing a fire or explosion that damages property while manufacturing or attempting to manufacture a controlled substance (such as methamphetamine) is also arson -- even if the owner of the property consents to what you're doing and even if you did it in a way that didn't unreasonably endanger anyone's life or property.

Criminal Mischief

Graffiti, vandalism, and writing angry messages on your ex's property are examples of criminal mischief. If someone accuses you of damaging, defacing, altering, or destroying property, you might be facing criminal mischief charges.

Trespass

If you go to someone's property without their express permission and you intend to commit a public offense, to use, take, or damage any of their stuff, to put anything on their property or take anything away from it, or to hunt, fish, or trap, you may have done a trespass. Additionally, if you go to or stay on someone's property without justification after they (or a police officer, etc.) told you to leave, that can be trespass.

Aggravated Theft

A simple assault connected to a simple theft becomes an aggravated misdemeanor or a Class D felony.

Robbery

Robbery involves intending to commit a theft and doing any of these things:

  • Assaulting someone
  • Threatening someone with immediate serious injury
  • Purposely making someone afraid of immediate serious injury
  • Threatening to immediately commit any forcible felony.

It doesn't actually matter whether or not you ended up stealing anything; that you intended to commit a theft when one of those things happened is what's relevant.

Burglary

If you go into an occupied structure that isn't open to the public (or if you stay there after you're supposed to leave) when you aren't supposed to be there and if you intend to commit a felony, assault, or theft in that structure, you may be facing burglary charges.

If you get a deferred judgment instead of a conviction, you will pay a civil penalty instead of a fine. Civil penalties in the same amounts as criminal fines -- for instance, if you get a deferred judgment on a theft 5th, you could get a civil penalty of $105 instead of getting a criminal fine for $1055. There's no additional 15% surcharge for civil penalties, though.

You should expect to pay restitution after any property crime conviction.

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