Indiana’s laws classify theft as a Class A misdemeanor when the amount taken is worth less than $750. Goods or cash worth more than $750, however, can lead to a felony theft charge and result in a sentence of incarceration if convicted. An individual could spend between six months and six years in jail.
Depending on the value, a felony sentence could also include probation, restitution and a hefty fine. When an individual faces a felony theft conviction, a plea bargain may reduce the punishment.
Negotiating for a lesser offense may depend on the evidence
Prosecutors can spend a great deal of time investigating a case and compiling evidence. With advanced technology, a prosecutor could easily access video footage and bank transaction records. If an individual cannot dispute the evidence, negotiating for a lesser charge may represent a workable option for a more lenient sentence.
In exchange for entering a guilty plea, a Hoosier State prosecutor may agree to reduce a more serious felony theft charge to a misdemeanor offense. By pleading guilty, however, an individual generally gives up his or her right to a jury trial.
Former secretary pleads guilty and receives a lenient sentence
Prosecutors charged a 52-year-old Indiana resident with felony theft and fraud offenses after her employer reported she took more than $135,000. Allegedly, she used the company’s ATM bank card and gas credit card to make unauthorized personal purchases.
Although she could have faced several years in jail, a court agreement resulted in her pleading guilty to one fraud charge and two theft charges. As reported by WTHR News, she received a lenient sentence of work release for one year and one year of home detention. She must also serve two years on probation and undergo treatment for substance abuse and gambling addiction.
In addition to sentencing leniency, negotiating with a prosecutor may also result in an outcome that does not severely jeopardize future employment prospects. The court system also gains from a plea bargain; by forgoing a trial and freeing up the court’s resources, the legal system can process charges quickly.