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Indiana Theft Lawyers
Theft Defense Attorneys Serving Madison County and Hamilton County
If you have been accused of stealing money or property, you need to call a theft lawyer immediately. A theft conviction is the last thing you want on your record. Not only will you have to endure a number of criminal penalties, it can also ruin your reputation. To avoid the statutory and collateral consequences of a theft conviction, it is essential that you hire an attorney to defend you in court.
At GDS Law Group, LLP, we have years of experience handling theft, burglary, and robbery cases. We will vigorously defend you in court and fight for a not guilty verdict. Contact us online, or call 765-313-7092 today to schedule your initial consultation.
What is Theft in Indiana?
Under Indiana Code (IC) §35-43-4-2, prosecutors can charge you with a theft offense if you knowingly or intentionally exert control over another person’s property without permission, and with the intent to deprive that person of their property.
“Exert control over property” means to take, obtain, carry, drive, or lead away, abandon, sell, conceal, encumber, or possess the property. It also encompasses securing, transferring, or extending a right to the property.
- Without consent
- In a manner beyond what the other person consented to
- By transferring other property while not disclosing a life, claim, or other legal impediment to enjoying that property
- Creating or reinforcing another person’s false impression
- Failing to correct a false impression you know is influencing the other person when you are in a position of special trust with that other person
- By promising performances you know you will not perform
- By expressing an intent to damage the property or impair the rights of another person
- Transferring or reproducing record sounds or a live performance without permission from the owner of the master recording and with the intent to profit from the distribution
Based on these definitions, actions you might not consider theft could still lead to theft charges in Madison County. If you believe you have been wrongly accused or charged with theft, contact a theft attorney immediately at 765-313-7092. An experienced theft defense lawyer from GDS Law Group, LLP will review your situation and determine the strongest defenses available.
Criminal conversion is similar to theft, however, you do not have to have the intent to deprive the owner of their property forever.
You can be charged with the crime of conversion if you knowingly or intentionally exert unauthorized control over another person’s property. In general, this is a class A misdemeanor. However, if you exert control over a vehicle with the intent to use it to help someone commit a crime, you will be charged with a level 6 felony. Prosecutors will also charge you with a Level 6 felony if you obtain a vehicle by lease and fail to return it within 30 days of the specific date of return or within three days of a written demand for its return. If you steal a vehicle to help someone commit a felony, prosecutors will charge you with a Level 5 felony.
If you have been charged with a conversion offense, do not hesitate to contact GDS Law Group, LLP to speak with a theft lawyer. We will investigate your situation, explain your rights, guide you through the legal process, and aggressively defend you against the charges. Contact us at 765-313-7092.
Levels of Indiana Theft Offenses and Penalties
Indiana does not refer to theft crimes as petty theft or grand theft. Instead, the level of the crime depends on the value of the property stolen.
- Class A misdemeanor – You will face a class A misdemeanor theft charge if you’re found to have stolen property valued up to $749. This offense is what many people call a petty theft charge in other states. For this offense, you can be punished with up to one year in jail and fines reaching $5,000.
- Level 6 felony – If law enforcement finds that you took property valued between $750 and $49,999, firearms of any value, or you have a previous theft conviction, you will face a level 6 felony. You can be penalized with up to two and a half years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Level 5 felony – If you stole property worth $50,000 or more, you will face level 5 felony charges. This offense is punishable with up to six years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Another common penalty associated with theft convictions is probation. While serving probation may sound simple, it is often difficult to avoid violating any of the rules. Probation rules can greatly restrict your freedom, and if you violate probation, you will find yourself back in court and facing more time in jail or prison. If you are concerned about the terms of probation or have been accused of a probation violation, contact a probation violation lawyer at GDS Law Group, LLP right away at 765-313-7092.
Indiana does not have a specific shoplifting statute. Instead, shoplifting is charged like any other theft offense, and it is based on the value of the property you allegedly stole. If you are accused of stealing property valued at less than $750, a first offense for shoplifting is charged as class A misdemeanor. If these are second or subsequent shoplifting charges, then you can expect to face a level 6 felony. You also will face this level of felony if you stole between $750 and $50,000 worth of merchandise during a first-time offense.
Shoplifting consequences can be severe, even if you are charged with a petty theft misdemeanor. With this type of crime on your permanent record, you may have a hard time getting a job. Potential employers will not trust you, particularly if the job would have you around cash or merchandise. It could also impact you getting into the college or graduate program of your choice or obtaining private scholarships and grants. If you are not a citizen, a theft conviction could impact your ability to renew your visa, become a permanent resident, or your eligibility for naturalization.
When you are accused of stealing from a store, contact a shoplifting attorney immediately. It is best to face these charges directly. Ignoring them or failing to vigorously defend yourself can have a serious effect on your future.
If you knowingly exert unauthorized control over another person’s vehicle with the intent to deprive them of the car’s use, then you can be charged with a level 6 felony on a first offense. If you intentionally receive, keep, or dispose of a stolen vehicle or any of its parts, you can also be charged with a level 6 felony.
If you are accused of stealing a car or in dealing in stolen car parts, contact a theft lawyer immediately at 765-313-7092.
Robbery (IC §35-42-5-1)
You can be charged with robbery if you:
- Knowingly or intentionally take property from another person
- You used or threatened to use force on any person
- You placed any person in fear
Some examples of robbery include:
- An individual threatens to beat someone if they do not hand over their cellphone and other electronics.
- A man points a gun at a couple and tells them to give him all of their money and jewelry.
- A woman shoves an elderly woman to the ground, grabs her purse, and then runs away with it.
Robbery is a level 5 felony. If found guilty of a level 5 felony, you face up to six years in prison and fines reaching $10,000. If at the time of the offense, you were armed with a deadly weapon or caused bodily injury, then you will face a level 3 felony. In Indiana, level 3 felonies are punishable with up to 16 years of imprisonment and fines reaching $10,000. Prosecutors will charge you with a level 2 felony if your criminal actions result in another person suffering serious bodily injury. If convicted, you can be penalized with between 10 and 30 years of incarceration, and fines reaching $10,000.
Burglary is a crime against both people and property. You will be charged with a felony if you break and enter into another individual’s building or structure with the intent to commit theft or another felony inside.
Examples of burglary include:
- A young woman breaks a store’s window to climb inside and steal merchandise.
- A man enters a person’s home through an unlocked garage door and sexually assaults a woman living there.
- A group of people break into a warehouse and destroy all of the contents inside as a form of protest.
In general, burglary is a level 5 felony. However, if you allegedly broke into a dwelling, it is a level 4 felony. If your actions resulted in another person suffering bodily injury, it is a level 3 felony. If you were armed during the offense or you caused serious bodily injury, you will face a level 1 felony.
Burglary can also lead to the most serious felony charge. If the building or structure was a dwelling and you caused serious bodily injury, prosecutors will charge you with a level 1 felony, punishable by up to 40 years’ imprisonment and fines reaching $10,000.
If you are facing burglary charges, call a theft lawyer at GDS Law Group, LLP right away at 765-313-7092. We will thoroughly review your case to determine the prosecutor’s strengths and weaknesses and gather evidence to support your defense.
Defending Against Theft Charges
If you have been accused of appropriating another person’s property, it is time to call an attorney and discuss your defense options. You may be able to exonerate yourself in court by proving your actions were:
- An accident – Conversion and theft require that you intentionally or knowing exert control over another person’s property. If you took or in some way controlled another’s property by accident, then you did not have the necessary intent to commit the crime.
- A mistake of ownership – You may have intentionally exerted control over property because you reasonably believed you had a right to it. You and your attorney will need to put forth evidence that you believed you had a right to the property and that your belief was reasonable.
- Necessity – It may be a defense if you took another person’s property in order to avoid a more serious harm. For example, you may have taken another person’s car keys so that they could not drive because they were intoxicated.
- A mistake of identity – A crime may have occurred, yet you may have been falsely identified as the culprit. If you were not the offender, your lawyer will put forward evidence of your alibi for the time of the crime.
- False accusations – If you have been wrongfully accused by someone seeking revenge, your attorney will seek to prove that your accuser has ulterior motives.
Call an Anderson Theft Lawyer for Help
The best thing to do after you are accused of or charged with a theft, robbery, or burglary offense is to call an experienced criminal defense attorney from GDS Law Group, LLP. We have decades of legal experience that we will use to your advantage. We have relationships with prosecutors and judges in Anderson, IN, which may help us have your charges dropped, dismissed, or reduced. It can also benefit us when it comes to negotiating beneficial plea deals.