The act of stealing from another person or place of business can be a serious offense. However, exactly how serious an act of theft will be can differ. Under Iowa law, some acts of theft are classified as misdemeanor charges. However, theft can also be charged as a felony, which carries stiffer jail sentences and fines if the person charged is convicted. 

According to state law, a major factor in determining severity of theft is the value of items that are stolen. Lower priced items generally do not merit serious charges. If a person only steals property worth less than two hundred dollars, that person is likely to be charged with theft in the fifth degree, which is a simple misdemeanor. As the value goes up, the severity of the charges go up as well, though if the property is not valued above a thousand dollars, the theft may still be charged as a misdemeanor. 

When stolen property does exceed the value of a thousand dollars, state law allows for charges to reach the level of a felony. How severe the felony charge will be again depends on the value of whatever was stolen. A person may be charged with a class D felony by stealing a motor vehicle or any property valued between $1,500 and $10,000. Stealing property above this value can result in a class C felony. 

Even if the theft is just a misdemeanor, the severity of the sentence may differ depending on the kind of misdemeanor charged. Ranging from least to most severe, Iowa law divides misdemeanors into simple misdemeanors, serious misdemeanors and aggravated misdemeanors. Simple misdemeanors may result in no more than thirty days in jail and $65 in fines, while a person convicted of an aggravated misdemeanor could be imprisoned up to two years.