Theft & Conversion


At Stark Law Offices, we have successfully defended those accused of some of the largest thefts in Indiana history to the smallest of shoplifting prosecutions. All theft accusations are serious. Whether the case involves the most complex Ponzi scheme accusations to the otherwise law abiding mother who has engaged in an out of character shoplift, we know how to ensure that you or a loved one is legally protected.

Clients over the years have told us that they thought Stark Law Offices only handled “big” cases; such as the defense of cases worthy of television or newspaper coverage. This is the farthest thing from the truth. In fact, although we have defended the most serious of criminal prosecutions, the majority of cases we defend in this area are far less noteworthy.

Do not allow embarrassment, shame or pride to prevent you from contacting me as soon as possible for the legal protection you will need. What I have learned over the years is that people from all walks of life make out of character mistakes. We are proud to have given many good people the second chance that they need to resume their lives after such charges. However, you must make the call for help without delay as there are legal deadlines to make sure that your rights are protected.

Theft related prosecutions directed against an individual can formally be charged as either a “Conversion” or a “Theft” offense depending upon the decision of a county prosecutor. This charging decision is often a critical one, for it has a major role not only in regard to the punishment available to a judge and/or prosecutor but also can decide whether one’s criminal record will be scarred with a felony conviction for life. For this reason it is critical to consult with an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.

If involved early enough, a skilled defense attorney can possibly get such a charge dismissed without need for trial if filed as a misdemeanor or, if charged with D felony, get the felony charge dismissed. A class (a) misdemeanor in Indiana carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and up to a five thousand($5,000.00) dollar fine. Conversely, a D felony conviction carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and up to a ten thousand ($10,000.00) dollar fine.

We know how to use existing laws to protect our clients from legal harm. I have done my best to provide a summary of relevant laws below that may be easier to understand than reviewing the criminal code. Please call me anytime for free to better understand these laws and how to make them work for you!

Theft offenses:(Conversion, Check Deception) Class A Misdemeanor

0 to a maximum of one year incarceration within county jail facility. Up to a five thousand ($5,000) fine not including court costs, probation fees/court imposed treatment program(s). Specified terms and conditions of court ordered probation of up to one year.

The crime of Criminal Conversion in Indiana usually includes first time offenses under a certain amount depending upon the decision of a prosecutor. Check Deception can occur from nothing more than a bounced check. If no prior convictions a “witheld” prosecution is a potential option depending upon the decision and/or policy of the specific county prosecutor’s office. Terms and requirements of such a program will be dependent upon negotiation of a defense attorney and county prosecutor.

Theft, Receiving Stolen Property, Fraud etc. – Class D felony

Minimum of 180 days in county jail up to three years in applicable Indiana Department of Correction Prison facility. Presumptive or “average” sentence is one and one half years in prison. This presumptive sentence can be reduced or increased depending upon a balance of “aggravating” factors (prior criminal history, store employee, amount and/or value of loss) and “mitigating” factors (lack of prior criminal history, acceptance of responsibility) One is eligible to have the minimum 180 days incarceration reduced or waived if the person has no prior criminal history or if a prior felony with all probationary terms successfully completed more than 3 years prior to the Class D felony in question.

Court imposed probation terms may last up to three years depending upon applicable circumstances with up to a ten thousand ($10,000) fine not including court costs or court ordered probationary term requirements.

Class D Felony are presently applicable for first time accusations over a certain amount as determined by an Indiana prosecutor (often $200), or offenses alleged against a store employee or an individual who has a prior criminal conviction(s).

Forgery, Theft over Prescribed Amounts – Class C Felony

Minimum of two years incarceration within applicable Indiana Department of Corrections Prison to maximum of 8 years. Presumptive or “average” sentence of 4 years imprisonment. Minimum period of imprisonment can be reduced or suspended if prior felony beyond seven years from most recent Class C Felony.

Court imposed probation for up to eight years and up to a ten thousand ($10,000) fine not including court costs or court ordered probationary requirements.

Class C Felony offenses are charged as such based upon applicable circumstances including, but not limited to, value of loss and criminal history of one charged. Forgery may occur from simply presenting a forged check or other written instrument for payment even if the one presenting it did not write or produce the altered check or other written currency.