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Indianapolis Theft Lawyer

When you or a family member is charged with theft, the resulting stress and anxiety can be devastating. A reputable Indianapolis theft lawyer like Sean Hessler can defend your rights in a theft case.

A conviction for a theft offense can affect the rest of your life. When you’re convicted of a theft charge in Indiana, the potential consequences you face may include:

  • A jail or prison sentence
  • Thousands of dollars in fines
  • A permanent criminal record that may prevent you from getting a job or renting an apartment
  • If you have a professional license to teach or practice medicine, law, nursing, or another profession requiring a license, your license may be suspended or revoked, or your application for a professional license may be denied
  • If you’re not an American citizen, your application for an immigration visa, green card, or citizenship may be denied, and you may be deported to your home country

However, with the help of an experienced Indianapolis theft lawyer, a theft charge doesn’t have to ruin your life. You may have options for defending the charge and getting it dismissed, or your lawyer may be able to work with prosecutors and the judge in your case to get your charge or your penalties reduced. A skilled theft defense lawyer who knows the local courts can help you get the best possible outcome for your case and move on with your life after your theft charge.

Indiana Theft Charges

Many states classify theft charges based on the value of the money or property allegedly stolen. This classification influences the offense’s severity and potential penalties if convicted. For instance, Indiana theft law reserves felony grand larceny charges when the property or money involved is worth more than $750.

Theft Overiew

The crime of theft involves taking control of another person’s property with the intention to deprive the owner of the property’s use or value. The property could include money or personal property such as someone’s laptop or jewelry, and theft could involve anything from simple shoplifting to stealing millions of dollars. Whether theft is a misdemeanor or felony depends on the fair market value of the items alleged to have been stolen, and whether the offense was committed before or after July 1, 2014.

If the offense was committed before July 1, 2014, the possible penalties include:

  • Less than $100,000 — If the value of the stolen money or property is less than $100,000, theft is a Class D felony. If convicted, the possible sentence includes 6 months to 3 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • $100,000 or more — If the value of the stolen money or property is $100,000 or more, theft is a Class C felony punishable by 2 to 8 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If the offense was committed after July 1, 2014, the possible penalties include:

  • Less than $750 — If the value of the stolen money or property is less than $750, theft is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • $750 to $49,999 — If the value of the stolen money or property is $750 to $49,999, theft is a Level 6 felony punishable by 6 months to 2 ½ years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • $50,000 or more — If the value of the stolen money or property is $50,000 or more, theft is a Level 5 felony punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

For purposes of determining the value of the stolen items, prosecutors are allowed to charge multiple thefts committed in a single episode as a single count.

For offenses committed after July 1, 2014, a second or subsequent unrelated conviction for theft or conversion is a Level 6 felony 6 months to 2 ½ years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.

Receiving Stolen Property

When you are suspected of knowingly or intentionally receiving, retaining, or disposing of property that was stolen from another person, you may be charged with the crime of receiving stolen property. If you’re convicted, the penalties vary depending on the fair market value of the property, and when the offense was committed.

If the offense was committed before July 1, 2014, the possible penalties include:

  • Less than $100,000 — If the value of the stolen money or property is less than $100,000, receiving stolen property is a Class D felony. If convicted, the possible sentence includes 6 months to 3 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • $100,000 or more — If the value of the stolen money or property is $100,000 or more, receiving stolen property is a Class C felony punishable by 2 to 8 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If the offense was committed after July 1, 2014, “receiving stolen property” is included in the definition of theft and is no longer a separate offense. The possible penalties include:

  • Less than $750 — If the value of the stolen money or property is less than $750, receiving stolen property is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • $750 to $49,999 — If the value of the stolen money or property is $750 to $49,999, receiving stolen property is a Level 6 felony punishable by 6 months to 2 ½ years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • $50,000 or more — If the value of the stolen money or property is $50,000 or more, receiving stolen property is a Level 5 felony punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

For offenses committed after July 1, 2014, a second or subsequent unrelated conviction for theft or conversion is a Level 6 felony 6 months to 2 ½ years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.

Auto Theft

Stealing someone else’s car or stripping parts from the vehicle is a felony offense in Indiana, as is receiving a stolen vehicle or stolen auto parts. If you are convicted of auto theft or receiving a stolen vehicle or parts, the penalties vary depending on when the offense was committed and whether you have prior auto theft convictions.

  • Before July 1, 2014 — Auto theft or receiving a stolen vehicle or parts is a Class D felony punishable by 6 months to 3 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. A second or subsequent offense is a Class C felony punishable by 2 to 8 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • After July 1, 2014 — Auto theft or receiving a stolen vehicle or parts is a Level 6 felony punishable by 6 months to 2 ½ years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. A second or subsequent offense is a Level 5 felony punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Criminal Conversion

Criminal conversion involves knowingly or intentionally exerting control over another person’s property without their consent. The basic offense is a misdemeanor, but conversion can be a felony when the property involved is a motor vehicle. If you’re convicted of a conversion offense, the penalties vary depending on whether the offense was committed before or after July 1, 2014, when amendments to Indiana’s criminal code went into effect.

  • Before July 1, 2014 — Conversion is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. When the alleged offense involves failing to return a leased motor vehicle, conversion is a Class D felony punishable by 6 months to 3 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. When the alleged offense involves exerting control over another person’s vehicle with the intent to use the vehicle to commit a felony, the offense is a Class D felony punishable by 6 months to 3 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. When the alleged offense involves exerting control over another person’s vehicle and actually using the vehicle to commit a felony, then conversion is a Class C felony punishable by 2 to 8 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • After July 1, 2014 — Conversion is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. When the alleged offense involves failing to return a leased vehicle, the offense is a Level 6 felony punishable by 6 months to 2 ½ years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. When the alleged offense involves exerting control over another person’s vehicle with the intent to use the vehicle to commit a felony, the offense is a Level 6 felony punishable by 6 months to 2 ½ years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000. When the alleged offense involves actually using another person’s motor vehicle to commit a felony, conversion is a Level 5 felony punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Defending Against Indianapolis Theft Charges

At Hessler Law, we understand that a theft charge can be life-altering. People look at you differently when they think you’ve committed a theft, and a conviction can affect not only your current employment but also your long-term job prospects. Your best chance at putting your life back together after you’ve been charged with theft is to seek the help of an experienced Indiana theft defense lawyer who will fight for you in court and work to make sure you get the due process to which you are entitled.

As an Indianapolis criminal defense firm, we believe in every defendant’s right to a fair trial and other constitutional protections. When we represent you, we’ll be the watchdog for your rights through the criminal process, from your initial arrest up until your case goes to trial. Our job is to fight for you and work to get the best possible result in your case — a result that preserves your future and allows you to put the stress and trouble of your theft charge behind you. Call us at (317) 886-8800 for a consultation about your case today.

This website is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.