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Penalties for Theft in Indiana Can Be Serious

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Penalties for Theft in Indiana Can Be Serious

February 24, 2015

Stealing is no-no, but what exactly constitutes stealing, or theft, in Indiana? According to state law, someone is guilty of theft if he or she knowingly or intentionally exerts unauthorized control over someone else’s property with the intention of depriving that individual of having that property or of receiving the value of that property.

So what exactly does unauthorized control really mean? There are several conditions that can determine unauthorized control. They are:

  • Taking the property without the owner of the property’s consent
  • Taking the property in some other way than the owner has consented
  • By creating a false impression and then leading the property owner to believe said impression
  • By promising the victim to perform a service that the offender knows will not actually be completed.

Indiana prosecutors can charge most theft-related cases as either theft, which is a Class D felony, or as conversion, which is a Class A misdemeanor. However, in most theft cases in the state, people are charged with a Class D felony. The penalties for a Class D felony include jail time of between six months and three years, with the typical recommendation being 18 months. Anyone convicted of a Class D felony could also face a fine, which could be as high as $10,000.

Meanwhile, as of July of last year, the length of time someone spends in jail could all come down to how much the value of the item they steal is worth. That’s because changes went into affect that make the theft of any item worth less than $750 a misdemeanor. On the other hand, anything with a value of $750 or more is still considered a felony. While a misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of one year behind bars, a felony conviction carries a prison term of as much as two-and-half-years.

Indiana theft laws also include Class C penalties. These occur when the property is worth more than $100,000. Class C felonies can have much harsher sentences, as they are between two and eight years. Auto theft is classified the same as other thefts over $750, which is a Class D felony, but if it is a repeat offense then it will be escalated to a Class C felony and carry the more severe penalties.

Are you facing a theft charge in the Fort Wayne area? While you could try to defend yourself, going to court without experienced legal representation can be a dicey situation. Your freedom is on the line, which is why you should take the charges very seriously and strongly consider getting a knowledgeable defense attorney. The Bellinger Law Office has the knowledge to help you if you have been charged with a theft crime. Contact us today in Fort Wayne for help. You can reach us at 260-428-2214, or online by clicking here.

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