Theft vs. Conversion in Indiana
Indiana Code 35-43-4-2 defines the criminal offense of theft as, “knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person, with the intent to deprive the other person of any part of its value or use.” The following section, Indiana Code 35-43-4-3, however, defines a closely related criminal offense, called conversion. Per Indiana law, conversion is defined as “knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person.”
While these two offenses appear to have a very similar definition, they are applied to completely different types of situations. Therefore, if you’ve been charged under the Indiana theft laws, it’s important to fully understand the difference between theft and conversion, and how they apply to the specific circumstances surrounding your alleged criminal act.
If you’d like to speak to an attorney about your case or need help managing the legal process, feel free to contact the Indiana theft crime lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our Indianapolis law firm employs former deputy prosecutors who are available to help you understand your options and fight for the best possible outcome in the criminal case against you. If you want to ensure that you’re doing all that you can to defend yourself, call us today at 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form.
Defining Theft in Indiana
Indiana theft laws, on the other hand, state that for an offense to be considered theft, it must be committed with “the intent to deprive the other person of any part of the property’s value or use.” In other words, the offender has no intent to return the property or compensate the property owner.
For example, shoplifting in Indiana is a clear “theft” offense. The reason being is that to be considered a conversion offense, one must not intend to deprive the property owner of any part of the stolen property’s value. By nature, when shoplifting something from the store, the offender intends to deprive the property owner of the property’s value.
Defining Conversion in Indiana
Indiana Code 35-43-4-3 defines conversion as “knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person.” While this may read like the definition of theft in Indiana, conversion charges typically stem from situations where an offender intends to return the stolen property. For example, one could be charged with conversion if they paid to stay at an Airbnb for four weeks but continued to dwell on the property after their planned four-week stay had expired.
The Nuances of Indiana’s Theft and Conversion Laws
Indiana’s theft laws may seem rather broad, but the statute does explicitly define what some of the phrases contained in the laws mean. For example, Indiana Code 35-43-4-1 states that “exert control over property,” means to “obtain, take, carry, drive, lead away, conceal, abandon, sell, convey, encumber, or possess property; or to secure, transfer, or extend a right to property.”
In addition, Indiana theft law states that a person’s control over another person’s property is unauthorized if it is “exerted without the other person’s (or business’) consent” or “in a manner or to an extent other than that to which the other person (or business) has consented.” For example, this may include:
- Taking property without an owner’s consent
- Taking property in a manner that differs from what the owner consented to
- Failing to disclose a lien or encumbrance
- Creating or confirming a false impression in the property owner or failing to correct a false impression
- Indicating an intent to damage the property
- Promising performance that one doesn’t intend to perform
- Transferring recorded or live performances without permission
Facing Charges of Theft or Conversion in Indiana?
Being arrested for theft or conversion in Indiana crime is stressful. However, it’s much easier to navigate criminal proceedings with the help of an Indianapolis theft lawyer.
The criminal defense team at Keffer Hirschauer LLP is available to help you fully understand Indiana theft and conversion laws, and how to best respond to the charges brought against you. Our team is staffed by former deputy prosecutors who have successfully convicted dozens of individuals for theft-related crimes. This means that they have an intimate knowledge of the prosecution’s strategies and how they will approach the case. As a result, we provide our clients with unmatched expertise in this area of law.