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How To Navigate Theft Charges In Indiana

Theft charges can vary greatly in severity, ranging from Class A misdemeanors to serious felonies. Understanding what you’re up against when charged with a crime involving theft is essential. In general, the severity of the charge depends on the value of the property stolen.

At The Region Lawyers, our attorneys can provide necessary guidance regarding what to expect and the penalties you could face. Preparing a defense early on is critical to help fight back against the charges you face and potentially lessen the consequences. Our attorneys have more than a decade of experience, including years of state and federal courtroom experience. Whether you face charges for shoplifting, burglary, larceny, receiving stolen property or more, we can offer the aggressive legal representation you need.

Determining The Severity Of Potential Consequences

Felony charges can have serious and long-term effects on your future. There are a few factors that can elevate a more simple Class A misdemeanor theft charge up to a Level 5 or 6 felony, such as:

  • If the value of the property is over $750 (qualifies for a Level 6 felony) or over $50,000 (qualifies for a Level 5 felony)
  • If the stolen property is a motor vehicle or component of a motor vehicle
  • If the person has prior convictions
  • If the stolen property is a valuable metal
  • If the stolen property relates to transportation or public safety
  • If the stolen property is taken from a hospital or health care facility
  • If the stolen property is a firearm

Figuring out a theft charge can be confusing as the guidelines vary based on the accusation and value of the property. Charges can also become more serious if you have a prior criminal record. It’s important to speak with an attorney with experience in both misdemeanor and felony level theft cases in Indiana.

Frequently Asked Questions About Theft Crimes

People often feel confused when facing Indiana theft charges. For one, there are many different types of theft crimes and making sense of how they differ can be difficult. Furthermore, the penalties for theft charges can vary widely, depending on the specific offense and any accompanying factors.

To provide people with clarity, we have answered some of the most common questions we get asked about theft crimes. If you have any questions of your own that we have not answered here, please reach out to us.

What are the penalties for shoplifting in Indiana?

In Indiana, shoplifting is considered a Class A misdemeanor. Individuals convicted of this offense could spend up to one year in jail and pay a fine of up to $5,000 as punishments.

What is criminal conversion?

Criminal conversion is a form of theft where the perpetrator does not intend to deprive the victim of their property permanently; briefly, they eventually plan to return what they misappropriated. Like shoplifting, criminal conversion is usually a Class A misdemeanor in Indiana. Yet in some cases, particularly those involving the taking of vehicles, it can be a Level 6 or Level 5 felony.

Is burglary a misdemeanor or felony in Indiana?

While burglary is a felony in Indiana, it is broken down into five classifications depending on its severity. The different levels of burglary are:

  • Level 5 felony: Burglary is a Level 5 felony when the perpetrator breaks into a building with the intent to take property.
  • Level 4 felony: Burglary is a Level 4 felony when the perpetrator breaks into a dwelling with the intent to take property.
  • Level 3 felony: Burglary is a Level 3 felony when the perpetrator injures someone in the act.
  • Level 2 felony: Burglary is a Level 2 felony when the perpetrator is armed or seriously injures someone in the act.
  • Level 1 felony: Burglary is a Level 1 felony when the perpetrator breaks into a dwelling and seriously injures someone in the act.

A conviction for even the least severe form of burglary (Level 5) can carry a lengthy prison sentence and a hefty fine. The penalties heighten drastically for more serious forms.

What is the difference between embezzlement and employee theft?

Embezzlement occurs when an employee who holds a position of trust in a company steals assets – often in large quantities – from their employer. Embezzlement becomes a federal crime when the employer in question is a U.S. government agency or is entrusted with access to federal property. Employee theft also refers to the taking of employer assets but typically occurs on a smaller scale; depending on the value of the property taken, it can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.

How Can We Help?

At The Region Lawyers, we have a thorough understanding of theft cases at any level, as well as other types of serious criminal charges. If you’re accused of theft, contact us, and we can help you figure out what you’re up against and begin to build a strategy to defend your case.

You may use our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation, or call our Merrillville office at 219-961-3814 to get answers about your case. We work with clients throughout The Region, Indiana, and northern Illinois.