Shoplifting Charges in Indiana

Learn about the laws, penalties and civil consequences of a shoplifting charge in Indiana. Find out if you can avoid a conviction and criminal record.

Shoplifting is a serious crime in Indiana, with criminal penalties including jail time and fines. In addition, shoplifters can be sued in civil court by victimized merchants to recover damages.

Indiana's Shoplifting Laws

In Indiana, shoplifting falls under the broad definitions of theft and criminal conversion. Anyone who knowingly or intentionally exerts unauthorized control over someone else’s property commits conversion, and anyone who does so with the intent to deprive the other person of the property’s value or use commits theft.

In cases of first-time offenses, or when the value of the property is low, the prosecutor can decide to charge the offender with conversion, a Class A misdemeanor. In more serious cases, the prosecutor can charge the shoplifter with Class C or Class D felony theft, depending on the value of the merchandise. Criminal and civil penalties for shoplifting are described below.

Indiana's Criminal Shoplifting Penalties

Charge

Classification

Penalty

Shoplifting property with a total value under a certain value (at discretion of prosecutor)

Criminal conversion (Class A misdemeanor)

Fines up to $5,000; up to one year of imprisonment

Shoplifting property with a total combined value of less than $100,000

Theft (Class D felony)

Fines up to $10,000; between six months and three years of imprisonment

Shoplifting property with a total combined value of $100,000 or more

Theft (Class C felony)

Fines up to $10,000; between two and eight years of imprisonment

Civil Liability

Shoplifters can be sued in a civil action by a victimized merchant for up to three times the actual damages (with a minimum award of $100), attorney fees, and costs related to the lawsuit.

Pretrial Diversion Programs and Plea Bargains

Some counties in Indiana offer pretrial diversion programs to those accused of first-time and low-level crimes, as an alternative to prosecution. If an eligible individual fulfills the conditions of the program, such as paying restitution and performing community service, the shoplifting charges will be dropped.

If a diversion program is not an option, the accused may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. The prosecutor has the discretion to arrange for lesser charges or lighter sentencing in exchange for a guilty plea.

Learn more about diversion and pretrial options.

Getting Help

If you have been charged with shoplifting, do not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can assist you in evaluating your case, determining if you have any defenses, and possibly negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecutor assigned to your case.

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