Theft is a crime that occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally exerts unauthorized control over another person's property with the intent to deprive them of its value or use. In the state of Indiana, theft is classified into different levels of severity based on the value and nature of the stolen property, with consequences ranging from a Class A misdemeanor to Level 6 or Level 5 felonies. In this blog post, we will explore Indiana's theft laws and the factors that determine the severity of the offense.
Theft Classifications in Indiana
Class A Misdemeanor Theft:
A person commits a Class A misdemeanor theft when they exert unauthorized control over another person's property with the intent to deprive the owner of any part of its value or use.
This is the least severe category of theft under Indiana law.
Level 6 Felony Theft:
Theft is classified as a Level 6 felony if:
The value of the stolen property is at least $750 but less than $50,000.
The stolen property is a motor vehicle or a component part of a motor vehicle.
The offender has a prior unrelated conviction for theft, criminal conversion, robbery, or burglary.
Level 5 Felony Theft:
Theft is categorized as a Level 5 felony if:
The value of the stolen property is at least $50,000.
The stolen property is valuable metal related to transportation safety, public safety, or is taken from specific locations such as hospitals, telecommunications providers, public utilities, or critical infrastructure facilities, and its absence poses a substantial risk of bodily injury.
The stolen property is a firearm.
The offender has a prior unrelated conviction for theft of a motor vehicle or a component part of a motor vehicle.
Determining the Value of Stolen Property
The value of stolen property is a critical factor in determining the severity of theft charges. The value can be determined in two ways:
Fair Market Value: The fair market value of the property at the time and place of the offense is used for valuation.
Replacement Cost: If fair market value cannot be satisfactorily determined, the cost to replace the property within a reasonable time after the offense was committed is used.
It's important to note that a price tag or price marking on property displayed or offered for sale is considered prima facie evidence of the property's value.
Public Servant Theft
In cases where the theft is committed by a public servant who exerts unauthorized control over public funds from their employer, the employer may be reimbursed in accordance with various Indiana statutes. This emphasizes the importance of accountability and the consequences of a public servant's involvement in theft.
Understanding Indiana's theft laws is essential to be aware of the potential legal consequences one might face if involved in a theft-related offense. The severity of these consequences is closely tied to the value and nature of the stolen property, as well as the offender's criminal history. To stay on the right side of the law, it's crucial to respect the property of others and refrain from engaging in theft or related criminal activities.
Learn more about Indiana theft laws here