Theft or property offenses are among the most common crimes that take place in Indiana every year. Some people shoplift from businesses on an impulse, while others may break into someone’s home to steal electronics or prescription medication.
Someone accused of a theft offense in Indiana may face penalties that include fines and jail time if convicted, although the exact consequences of a conviction will depend on the allegations against the defendant.
Will the charges related to theft or attempted theft be a misdemeanor offense or a felony charge?
Property values influence charges and penalties
Theft offenses could involve a few packages of checkout lane candy that a teenager shoves in their coat pocket or might involve someone stealing thousands of dollars of property from someone’s home while they are at work or on vacation. There are three scenarios in which Indiana will charge someone with a felony offense for simple theft.
The first is when the value of the property is over $750. Indiana state law treats minor theft offenses as misdemeanor crimes. However, once the total value of the items stolen exceeds $750, the prosecutor can pursue felony charges against the defendant.
The second is when the item stolen is a vehicle, vehicle parts or a firearm. When someone steals even the cheapest vehicle or a piece from it, they could face felony charges. So could anyone who steals a firearm from a business or an individual.
Finally, if someone has a previous felony theft offense on their criminal record, they can face felony charges for any subsequent theft offense, even if the items involved were personal property or retail merchandise only worth a few dollars. In any of these three scenarios, the defendant could face years in state custody if they plead guilty. Even a level 6 felony, the lowest level possible, could lead to up to two-and-a-half years in state custody.
The circumstances leading to someone’s arrest will play a major role in how the state charges that person and also on their best options for a defense in criminal court. It is important to hire an Indiana lawyer to come up with a strong criminal defense strategy tailored to your case.