An arrest for a property crime can get you into a lot of trouble. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, you may be charged with a felony and face possible incarceration. In addition to potential jail time, a property crime conviction may negatively impact current or future employment. The experienced Indiana property crimes lawyers at Stracci Law Group can help defend you against property crime charges of arson, trespass, criminal property damage, and vandalism.
Stracci Law Group includes criminal defense attorneys with profound experience in many other types of property crimes. We represent clients in Hammond, Gary, Crown Point, Portage, Valparaiso, and elsewhere in Northwest Indiana.
What Is a Property Crime in Indiana?
States have different definitions for property crimes, but Indiana defines property crimes as intentional or unintentional acts of destruction or theft to public or private premises. Crimes against property can occur in a few ways and punishments vary widely, from low-level offenses to high-level felony property crimes, depending on nature and circumstances.
Common Types of Property Crimes in Northwest Indiana
Property crimes in Indiana focus on when an individual exerts unauthorized control, entry, receipt, or damage to another person's property. Factors such as the property value, as well as potential damage to the property or person who rightfully controlled the property, will determine what crime you are charged with. Following are some examples.
Motor Vehicle Theft
Theft of a motor vehicle, known in many states as "grand theft auto," is defined as unauthorized control of either a motor vehicle or component part of a motor vehicle. The penalties for theft of a motor vehicle can range from a Level 5 to Level 6 felony depending on your criminal history.
Embezzlement, which falls under the theft statute, is the use of deceit to steal funds that were entrusted to you or that belong to your employer.
A person who breaks and enters the building or structure of another person, with intent to commit a felony or theft in it, commits burglary. Depending on whether or not bodily injury occurs during the act, penalties for burglary can range from a Level 5 to Level 1 felony under Indiana law. A skilled Indianapolis lawyer could make the difference between freedom and incarceration.
In Indiana, a person who, by means of fire, explosive, or destructive device, knowingly or intentionally damages a dwelling, property, or religious structure commits arson. The penalties for arson range from a Level 6 to Level 1 felony depending on the circumstances of the offense.
The property crime offense of trespass is simply entering a place without authority and can occur a few different ways:
- Knowingly entering someone else’s property (land, building, or residence) without their consent
- Accompanying another person in a vehicle with knowledge that the other person is exerting unauthorized control over the vehicle
- Remaining on someone’s property after being told to leave
Home Improvement Fraud
Home improvement fraud is when a home improvement supplier knowingly misrepresents facts regarding the condition of the property, uses any false promises or deception to enter into a contract, or guarantees performance/actions that will not be completed can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. A home improvement supplier who damages property or does unauthorized work on a property commits a Class A misdemeanor.
Criminal mischief, also known as vandalism, is the reckless, knowing, or intentional damage to institutional property or property of another person without their consent. Institutional Criminal mischief refers to an enhanced charge aimed at people who have been previously ordered or denied entry to a property. Penalties for this property damage crime in Indiana range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Level 5 felony.
Penalties and Consequences of Property Crimes in Crown Point, IN
Penalties and punishments for property crimes range from low-level misdemeanors to high-level felonies. Depending on several factors, the property crime punishment you may face after a conviction in Indiana may include restitution, probation, or jail time.
The seriousness of your sentence depends on factors such as:
- The type of property involved;
- The economic value of the property;
- Your criminal record;
- The economic damage to the property;
- Whether a person was injured during the commission of the crime;
- Where you were employed at the time of the offense; and
- What type of property was involved
Each case is different and additional factors not listed above may be relevant to your case. It is vital you review the facts of your case with property crimes criminal defense attorneys from Stracci Law Group to determine what potential charges and penalties you are facing.
Possible Defenses in Case of Lake County Property Crimes
Both Indiana and federal law offer numerous possible defenses, including:
- Mistake of fact: You reasonably believed that the property in question belonged to you.
- Fourth Amendment violation: The police seized the evidence against you in violation of your constitutional rights (a search without a warrant, for example).
- Lack of evidence: The prosecutor has not proven you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt;
Each case is different and you may have other possible defenses not listed above. Contact the property crimes defense lawyers at Stracci Law Group to review any potential defenses to your charges.
Why Trust Our Northwest Indiana Property Crimes Defense Attorneys from Stracci Law Group?
If you are facing charges for one or multiple crimes against property cases in Indiana, an experienced Northwest Indiana property crimes attorney can defend your rights. Although no outcome is guaranteed, having a defense lawyer who is knowledgeable and has represented many clients in similar situations can help you achieve the best outcome.
Stracci Law Group attorneys work relentlessly for clients navigating complex, high-stakes legal situations. We understand the seriousness of your criminal case and will do everything we can to keep minimize the impact of your charges. If we represent you, we will thoroughly investigate your case and aggressively represent your interests. Contact us to discuss your potential case today.