Government Property Theft

In the complex maze of the United States legal system, a specific section stands out, particularly to those in the federal arena - the theft of government property, outlined in 18 U.S.C. § 641.

This little-known but significant law carries weighty implications. Understanding it can make the difference between legal compliance and dire consequences, and it's where a federal criminal defense attorney, such as those from the Kolsrud Law Office, can provide essential guidance.

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Understanding the Legal Definition of 18 U.S.C. § 641

Navigating the convoluted legal language in 18 U.S.C. § 641 begins with understanding its basic tenets.


In essence, this law states that anyone who embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts for their use or the use of another, or with the intent to convert it, any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States, is guilty of an offense.


In simpler terms, if you're accused of stealing anything of value that belongs to the U.S. government, you could be looking at a charge under this section.


But don't panic. This is where a savvy criminal defense attorney comes in, carefully examining every nuance of the charges to craft a robust defense strategy.

theft of government property

Arizona Revised Statutes: How They Intersect with Federal Laws on Government Property Theft

While federal law governs theft of government property, state laws such as the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) also play a role.


Particularly relevant is ARS 13-1802, which covers theft in general. Although it doesn't specifically address government property, it could overlap with federal charges depending on the circumstances.


There's a complex interplay between state and federal laws; understanding these nuances can make a world of difference in court.

Potential Penalties under 18 U.S.C. § 641: What You Need to Know

Theft under 18 U.S.C. § 641 isn't a matter to be taken lightly. If convicted, penalties can range from fines to imprisonment.


If the value of the stolen property is $1,000 or less, a defendant could face up to a year in prison.


However, if the value exceeds $1,000, the penalties are more severe, including up to ten years in prison.


An experienced federal criminal defense attorney can help you understand the potential implications and work towards the most favorable outcome.

18 U.S.C. § 641

Defenses to Charges of Theft of Government Property: Navigating 18 U.S.C. § 641

A solid defense is essential when faced with charges under 18 U.S.C. § 641. The aim is to dismantle the prosecution's case and challenge their evidence using various legal strategies.

Here are some common defenses used in-depth:


  • Challenge Ownership: This defense strategy involves challenging the government's claim to the property. The prosecution must prove the property belonged to the government. If they can't, you might have a strong defense.

  • Lack of Intent: Intent is a critical element in a theft charge. The prosecution must demonstrate that you intended to steal or knowingly converted government property. If your attorney can create reasonable doubt about your intent, it could undermine the prosecution's case.

  • Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution must provide substantial evidence to prove you committed the offense. If they can't meet this burden of proof, or if your attorney can successfully challenge the credibility or legality of their evidence, you might be acquitted.

  • Mistake of Fact: This defense involves proving that you genuinely believed the property was yours or had a right to it. If you can establish this, you can avoid conviction.

Remember, each case is unique. An experienced criminal defense attorney from the Kolsrud Law Office will be able to advise you on the best defense strategy for your specific circumstances.

The Process of a Federal Theft Case: From Investigation to Verdict

It can feel very confusing if you're facing a federal theft charge.


  • The process typically starts with an investigation, where federal agents gather evidence. This phase can be surreptitious, with suspects often unaware they're being scrutinized.
  • If there's sufficient evidence, charges may be filed following the investigation.
  •  Next comes the arraignment, where the charges are formally read, and you enter your plea.
  •  Then, the discovery process starts, allowing both sides to examine the evidence. Plea negotiations may occur at this stage.
  • Should the case proceed to trial, both sides present their arguments and evidence before a judge or jury.
  •  If you're found guilty, sentencing follows, where potential penalties under 18 U.S.C. § 641 come into play.

Throughout this process, the representation and counsel of a federal criminal defense attorney from the Kolsrud Law Office can prove invaluable.


Navigating the legal waters of federal theft charges can be tricky, but having a seasoned lawyer by your side can help you better understand your rights, the process, and the possible outcomes.

federal criminal defense attorney

Facing a Federal Theft Charge Can Be Challenging, But You Are Not Alone.

Navigating the law related to the theft of government property under 18 U.S.C. § 641 can be a complex task. It's a multifaceted issue involving federal and state laws, potential penalties, possible defenses, and a multi-stage legal process.


However, with experienced legal counsel such as the Kolsrud Law Office, you can better understand and defend against these charges.


Remember, an arrest doesn't have to lead to a conviction. Knowledgeable, experienced legal representation can make all the difference in the world.

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With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication



Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients



Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.



As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort

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