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Indiana Shoplifting Laws

Theft and shoplifting are the same thing in the state of Indiana. Because there's no separate statute for shoplifting, anyone who takes something from a store or retail establishment can be subject to penalties under Indiana's theft laws.

Theft vs. Conversion

Although there is no separate law for shoplifting in Indiana, shoplifters can be prosecuted for the lesser offense of conversion (class A misdemeanor) instead of theft, a felony. The term conversion often refers to the intentional tort. However, conversion is also a criminal offense. Under Indiana law, the crime of criminal conversion is charged when a person is accused of knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person.

The offense of theft is similarly defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another with the intent to deprive the other person of any part of its value or use. The key difference is that the thief has the intent to deprive the owner of any part of the property's value or use. For instance, a woman who places unpurchased items in her purse, but doesn't leave the store with the items, may be more likely to be charged with conversion rather than theft.

Synopsis of Indiana Shoplifting Laws

While it's best to work with an attorney in complex cases, a synopsis of the law written in easy to follow terms can be an initial starting point to understanding Indiana's shoplifting laws. Read on for important information, including links to the relevant statutes.



Possible Penalties


The specific penalties will depend on numerous factors including prior criminal record. Offenders without any prior convictions, may qualify for a pre-trial diversion program which can lead to a dismissal of charges.

  • Property value less than $750: Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of incarceration for 1 year in the county jail, fines up to $5,000.
  • Property value of $750- $49,999: Level 6 felony is punishable by a minimum of 180 days in county jail and up to 2 ½ years in a department of corrections facility.
  • Property value of $50,000 and above: Level 5 felony, carries a maximum penalty of 6 years imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine.

Civil Penalties

If you're accused of shoplifting a merchant may send you a civil demand letter, requesting that you pay civil damages.

Shoplifters can be held civilly liable to a store/merchant for up to 3x the actual damages, attorney fees, and costs associated with the lawsuit.

Possible Defenses

  • Lack of intent
  • Duress
  • Necessity
  • Consent

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Indiana Shoplifting Laws: Related Resources

Accused of Shoplifting in Indiana? A Defense Lawyer can Assist You

Being accused of shoplifting can be embarrassing, but serious consequences may result depending on the cost of the merchandise involved and other factors. Get a handle on your case immediately and contact a local criminal defense attorney who can determine the strength of the case against you and help you decide the best course of action to take.

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