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Misdemeanor and felony theft in Indiana

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Indiana defines theft as willingly and knowingly taking unauthorized control of another person’s property. Since the state doesn’t take theft lightly, a person in Anderson, Indiana, charged with this crime could face serious penalties if convicted. The charges depend on the type of theft and whether it is a misdemeanor or felony.

Misdemeanor and felony theft overview

A felony charge commonly involves the theft of property between $750 and $50,000 and is charged at Level 5 or 6. A person could also get charged with Level 5 or Level 6 with a prior conviction. A common penalty for Level 5 includes a $10,000 fine and one to six years in jail. Level 6 penalties are six months to two years of jail and up to a $10,00 fine.

A Class A misdemeanor commonly includes property values below $750 that don’t involve firearm or motor vehicle theft. A common penalty for a Class A misdemeanor includes up to a one-year jail term and up to a $5,000 fine.

Defenses to theft

As part of their criminal defense strategy, the defendant could argue that they had no intentions of taking the property, such as forgetting to pay for an item. Sometimes, if a person borrowed an item and forgot to return it, the owner may perceive it as theft. Intent to deprive is an essential element in theft cases, so the defendant cannot get convicted without it.

A defendant could claim they were forced to steal property because of duress, and they had no way out. The defense must prove that another reasonable person would have stolen the property in the same situation. A similar defense is an entrapment, which convinces a person to steal who would not have stolen otherwise.

Even lower levels of theft charges can have serious consequences. A defendant has the right to defend against the charges in court.