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Theft, Burglary, and Fraud

Theft, burglary, forgery, and fraud are felony offenses that are crimes of dishonesty. These offenses require proof of knowing and intentional action by a defendant and police often seek to obtain confessions before a suspect is charged. If a person is suspected of theft or any other crime of dishonesty, it is important to retain an experienced criminal attorney immediately and exercise the right to remain silent.

For an offense committed prior to July 1, 2014, theft of property up to $100,000 is a Class D felony, carrying a penalty of 6 months to 3 years in prison. To convict someone of theft, the State must prove the accused exerted unauthorized control over another person’s property with the intent to deprive the person of its value or use. However, if the State fails to prove the accused acted with "intent to deprive” the other person of their property, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor charge of conversion. Indiana passed a new theft law effective July 1, 2014 that governs theft charges occurring on or after that date. Under the new law, theft can be a Class A misdemeanor, a Level 6 felony, or a Level 5 felony, depending on the property's value and whether the person has a prior conviction.

Indiana laws on theft and shoplifting have been changed effective July 1, 2014. Offenses committed before July 1, 2014 are still subject to the old theft law. The new law provides:

  • Theft of property worth less than $750 is a Class A misdemeanor. However, if a person has a prior conviction for theft or conversion, the offense is a Level 6 felony.
  • Theft of property worth at least $750 is a Level 6 felony.
  • Theft is a Level 5 felony if the property was at least $50,000.
  • Auto theft is a Level 6 felony. However, the offense is a Level 5 felony if the person has a prior theft conviction.

Theft Convictions Can Be Expunged in Indiana, including Level 5 and Level 6 Felony Charges

To convict someone of reckless driving, the State must prove that the person’s driving was reckless “under the circumstances”. An experienced criminal attorney knows that the Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed reckless driving convictions based solely on speeding, where there was insufficient evidence of endangerment to others. If you are charged with reckless driving, our defense attorneys will strategically attack the State’s case. Is the charge based solely on speeding? Were you on a country road where no other cars were present? Was the weather clear and visibility good? What property was actually endangered? Our attorneys will ask the critical questions and challenge the State’s case.

Criminal Defense Attorneys: Defending Theft Charges in Lafayette, Bloomington, Fort Wayne, and Anderson

If you are charged with theft in Indiana, call Gibson Law Office for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. We have offices in Lafayette, Bloomington, Fort Wayne, and Anderson and our criminal lawyers have represented clients in more than 70 Indiana counties. 

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Shoplifting and retail theft cases can be filed as either felony theft or misdemeanor conversion charges, depending on the value of the item taken and whether the person has a prior conviction. Even shoplifting a candy bar can result in a Class D felony theft charge. If you are arrested for shoplifting, it is important to retain an experienced criminal attorney immediately. You may be able to avoid a felony conviction by challenging the State’s evidence regarding your intent, or by negotiating the reduction of the felony to a Class A misdemeanor.


A person who breaks and enters the building of another person, with the intent to commit a felony in it, commits burglary a Class C felony. However, if the building is someone’s home or the perpetrator is armed with a deadly weapon, the offense is a Class B felony and carries a penalty of 6 to 20 years. A person who assists in a burglary, including as a lookout or driver, can be charged with conspiracy to commit burglary at the same offense level. If a person is a suspect in a burglary investigation or is charged with burglary, it is important to obtain an experienced criminal attorney immediately. An experienced criminal attorney can challenge the evidence of a suspect’s identity, involvement, and intent.

Forgery and Fraud

Forgery is a Class C felony and carries a penalty of 2 to 8 years in prison. The crime of forgery requires proof that a person, with the intent to defraud, made or used an instrument or document in such a manner that it purports to have been made by another person or with different terms. Fraud charges often are based on improper use of a credit card. A person, who with intent to defraud, obtains property by using a credit card, knowing that it was unlawfully obtained; or who uses a credit card, knowing that it is forged, revoked, or expired, commits fraud, a Class D felony. It is also a Class D felony to use someone else’s credit card without their permission.

If a person is suspected or accused of forgery or fraud, it is important to seek immediate advice from an experienced criminal attorney. In many forgery and fraud investigations, police will seek to interview a suspect by requesting that they waive their right to an attorney. If an accused person waives their right to an attorney, they can be subjected to aggressive interrogation. It is important to identify defenses to forgery and fraud allegations early in a case and to refrain from making any statements until there has been an opportunity to review all of the alleged evidence.


Talk to an experienced criminal attorney now.

You need to act fast to protect your rights. Certain defenses and motions must be filed prior to deadlines set by the court. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will develop a strategy to attack the evidence in your case. Schedule a free consultation now.

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