Theft Charges in Indiana: Definitions, Penalties, and Legal Defenses
Theft is one of the most commonly charged offenses in Indiana. If you have been arrested and charged with theft in Indiana, it is crucial that you understand the legal definitions of this offense. You also need to understand the potential penalties of theft in Indiana and the possible defenses to theft charges. Our qualified criminal defense attorneys at Rigney Law LLC can help you understand all this. We can help you navigate the complex criminal justice system and protect your legal rights. Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony theft charges, we can help you determine your options and the best course of action.
Definition of Theft in Indiana
According to IC 35-43-4-2, a person commits the offense of theft in Indiana when they knowingly exercise control over another person’s property, with the intention to deprive the other person of the value or use of the property. Before 1971, for someone to be found guilty of theft in Indiana, it needed to be shown that they intended to rob the owner of the property or the use or value of the property for good. After the word “permanently” was removed from the statute in 1971, it became a crime to intentionally take something from someone without their permission, even if you intend to return it to them in a few days. Additionally, you are guilty of theft even if you don’t deprive someone of their property’s full use or value.
Penalties for Theft in Indiana
Theft is a Class A misdemeanor in Indiana. However, depending on the case’s specifics, theft can be elevated to a Level 6 or 5 felony. For example, if the property’s value is $750 but less than $50,000, the offense is a Level 6 felony. If the property’s value is at least $50,000, the crime is a Level 5 felony.
In Indiana, a Class A misdemeanor for theft is punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $5,000. A Level 6 felony for theft is punishable by a jail term of six months to two-and-a-half years and a fine of up to $10,000. A Level 5 felony for theft in Indiana is punishable by a jail term of one to six years and a fine of up to $10,000. Other possible penalties for theft in Indiana include restitution to the victim, probation, and community service.
You could also suffer collateral consequences if convicted of theft in Indiana. These are consequences that go beyond criminal penalties. For example, a theft conviction on your criminal record could make finding a job, loans, and housing more difficult. A theft conviction on your criminal record could also risk your ability to obtain, or retain, your professional license.
Defenses to Theft Charges in Indiana
After reviewing the facts of your case, your Indianapolis theft attorney can advise you on potential defenses to the charges against you. There are several possible defenses to theft charges in Indiana. They include the following;
- Lack of intent
- Insufficient evidence
- Dispute ownership
- Mistaken Identity
Contact an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing theft charges, contact our experienced Indiana criminal defense lawyers at Rigney Law LLC today.