The crime of theft, also called "larceny" in some jurisdictions, is well-understood by most people: it is the act of taking something that isn't yours with the intent of keeping it. But within that broad definition, statutes typically spell out the many ways that theft can occur, assigning different degrees of charges and penalties in accordance with the value of the property stolen. The two main categories of theft in most jurisdictions are (1) petty theft and (2) grand theft. Petty (from the French "petit") usually applies to crimes involving property worth less than $500 or so, while grand theft is reserved for theft higher than that limit.
Indiana theft laws include felony charges for crimes (grand theft) where the stolen property is worth more than $750. The value of the property may be determined in a number of ways, including its replacement cost.
Indiana Theft Laws: Overview
The following table provides a basic overview of Indiana's theft laws, including its statutory definition and penalties.
Indiana Code § 35-43-4-1 et seq.
|Statutory Definition of Theft
A person who knowingly or intentionally exerts unauthorized control over property of another person, with intent to deprive the other person of any part of its value or use, commits theft.
In the context of theft, a person's control over another's property is considered "unauthorized" if done:
- Without the other person's consent
- In a manner or extent other than that which the other person has consented
- By transfering or encumbering the property while failng to disclose a lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property
- By creating or confirming a false impression in the other person (fraud)
- By failing to correct a false impression that the person knows is influencing the other person, if the person stands in a relationship of special trust to the other person
- By promising performance that the person knows will not be performed
- By expressing an intention to damage the property or impair the rights of any other person; or
- By transferring or reproducing recorded sounds or a live performance without consent of the owner of the master recording or the live performance, with intent to distribute the reproductions for a profit.
|Classifications & Penalties
- Class A misdemeanor if the value of the property is less than $750; up to 1 yr. in jail, up to a $5,000 fine.
- Level 6 felony if the value of the property taken is between $750 and $50,000, or if the person has a prior conviction for theft or criminal conversion; 6 mos. to 2 1/2 yrs. in prison, up to a $10,000 fine.
- Level 5 felony if the value of the property taken is more than $50,000; 1 to 6 yrs. in prison, up to a $10,000 fine.
|How Property Value is Determined
For purposes of this section, “the value of property” means:
- the fair market value of the property at the time and place the offense was committed; or
- if the fair market value of the property cannot be satisfactorily determined, the cost to replace the property within a reasonable time after the offense was committed.
A price tag or price marking on property displayed or offered for sale constitutes prima facie evidence of the value of the property.
|Is Restitution Possible?
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 Theft Laws: Related Resources
Charged with Theft in Indiana? Get Professional Legal Help Today
Theft is one of the oldest crimes in the books, although states differ on how it's prosecuted and punished upon conviction. If you have been charged with the crime, your very freedom may be at stake; even the lowest-level charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail. Protect your interests by speaking with an Indiana defense attorney.