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The experienced Indianapolis theft crime attorneys at Eskew Law recognize that being accused of theft can be very embarrassing. There may be additional variables like a child sneaking something into your purse or misinterpreted actions leading to the accusation. It could have been an impulsive mistake that you immediately regret. Even if you did steal something, the case may not be as straightforward as you think.
You deserve to have your rights protected during any theft case so you do not receive unfair judgment or exceedingly harsh consequences.
Our knowledgeable Indianapolis criminal defense lawyers understand cases involving children, teenagers, young adults, and older adults. Each case is different, and a first-time offense should never lead to excessive punishment. The circumstances around your case may help us get the charges against you dropped completely or significantly reduced, but the only way we can help is if you reach out to us.
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Skilled Indianapolis Criminal Litigator with Experience Fighting Theft Accusations
Theft is the most commonly occurring criminal offense in the state of Indiana. Recently, there has been a downward trend in the number of theft reports made each year to local Indiana police, dropping from approximately 160,000 cases to 125,000 cases each year. This is in large part due to storeowners’ cooperation with law enforcement and prosecutors’ keen interest in obtaining convictions for individuals accused of even petty, minor thefts. In a typical theft case, the police and prosecutor will be firmly convinced of your guilt before ever hearing your side of the story. That’s where an adept and proficient Indianapolis criminal defense attorney comes into play. A good lawyer will review the circumstances surrounding your arrest, examine the evidence gathered by the police, conduct an independent investigation by interviewing witnesses and hunting for exculpatory evidence, and craft a defense theory tailored to your interests and goals.
Eskew Law is comprised of a team of passionate criminal defense attorneys who have worked alongside numerous Indianapolis and Central Indiana clients on defending against unjust or unfair theft charges. Whether you are charged with misdemeanor or felony theft, Eskew Law can help you determine your options and the best course of action. To speak with a skilled criminal defense lawyer now, call Eskew Law at (317) 974-0177 and schedule an initial consultation.
According to Section 35-43-4-2 of the Indiana Code, theft occurs when someone knowingly or intentionally exercises control over someone else’s property without that person’s consent and with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of the use or value of that property. If you know that something belongs to someone else and you take that item without the owner’s permission, you have committed theft, even if you intended to return it in a couple of days. You don’t need to intentionally deprive them of the property permanently. In addition, you don’t need to deprive them of the full use or value. Theft is a Class A misdemeanor, which faces up to one year in county jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
Theft becomes a Level 6 felony when any of the following factors are present:
- The property is valued between $750 and $50,000;
- The property is a gun; or
- You already have a theft or conversion conviction.
Theft becomes a Level 5 felony when any of the following factors are present:
- The property is at $50,000 or more; or
- The property is a valuable metal used for transportation or public safety or is stolen from a health care institution or utility company.
Level 6 felonies are punishable by half a year to two-and-a-half years in state prison, and Level 5 felonies are punishable by one to six years in state prison. Both face up to $10,000 in fines.
That does not mean you are guaranteed to face incarceration. An experienced lawyer can help you fight the charges or advocate for lower penalties.
Related to theft, it is also illegal to:
- Knowingly or intentionally receive stolen property;
- Knowingly or intentionally exert control over someone else’s property without their consent (conversion);
- Steal a vehicle, enter a vehicle without the owner’s permission, or control a vehicle without the owner’s permission; or
- Buy or sell property that belongs to another with identifying marks such as serial numbers removed.
Accepting Stolen Goods and Other Forms of Theft
You can be charged with a felony even if you did not personally do the stealing. If you accept an item that was stolen and prosecutors can prove that you knew it was stolen, you may be charged with a Class D felony. Accepting stolen cash, shoplifted goods, or personal property are all judged similarly and vary based on the relative price of stolen goods.
In addition to direct stealing and accepting stolen goods, you could be charged with a form of theft for acts of fraud, attempting to pass a bad check, and stealing vehicles.
Not All People Who Steal Are Criminals
Stealing once does not make an individual a criminal, although a court conviction can make it appear that way. In fact, many clients who come to us are regular people who did not understand the ramifications of their actions. They may have been struggling, going through a crisis, or just not thinking clearly. Regardless of the situation, everyone charged with a theft crime in Indiana deserves compassionate representation from an Indianapolis theft crime attorney who understands the laws and defense tactics.
In some cases, we may be able to have the case dropped or the charges reduced so that a mistake will not haunt you for years. Consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before attempting to represent yourself in court.
The legal system is more complex than it sometimes appears, and a knowledgeable theft crime attorney in Indianapolis, IN will have the court understanding and prior experience to guide you through the process. Contact us today and let us help you make informed decisions so you do not have to suffer from the potentially serious consequences of theft.
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