Trusted Advice For Over 30 Years In South-Central Indiana

Can Indiana prosecute someone other than a thief for theft?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2024 | Criminal Law

Indiana has numerous statutes prohibiting different types of theft. It is illegal to intimidate someone with a weapon or threats of physical violence to misappropriate their assets. It is also illegal to force entry into a building or remain at a business after its hours of operation with the intent of taking money, personal property or merchandise.

Those accused of taking resources that belong to someone else may face theft charges under Indiana state statutes. Burglary, robbery and shoplifting can all lead to someone’s prosecution. In certain scenarios, the state could even bring charges against a third party who played no role in the illegal acquisition of stolen property.

Who can state prosecutors charge in Indiana after a theft offense?

It is illegal to knowingly possess stolen property

If a thief could give away or resell what they steal from others, it would be very easy for someone to break the law and still profit financially from that decision. Therefore, the law also makes it illegal to knowingly possess the stolen property of another party.

Someone accused of possessing stolen property might face either misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the value of the stolen property and the type of property involved. Resources worth thousands of dollars, like works of fine art or pieces of jewelry, could lead to felony charges. So could having unlawful possession of another person’s motor vehicle.

The state could pursue charges in a variety of scenarios, including when someone has a known relationship with someone accused of theft or when they acquired the property by purchasing it for an inappropriately low price from a thief. The state might try to claim, for example, that someone purchasing a brand new PS5 for $50 must realize that something is a mess with that situation.

Those accused of possessing stolen property might have a totally reasonable explanation for what occurred. Perhaps they simply looked for the most affordable vehicle or engagement ring that they could find on an online marketplace. Maybe they accepted a gift from someone who has a history of criminal activity without realizing that the other person obtained the gift illegally.

Depending on the circumstances that led to someone’s arrest, there may be a variety of defense strategies available to someone accused of possessing stolen property in Indiana. Understanding state law is of the utmost importance for anyone hoping to defend against criminal charges. People who effectively assert their innocence in court can avoid the criminal record and criminal penalties possible in the wake of a conviction in Indiana.