What happens when theft charges are filed?

arrested after committing theft

The types of theft

There are many types of theft used within the vernacular or everyday speech, such as theft of the heart and theft of time. Then there are the legal types of thefts, the ones that a person faces theft charges in front of a judge and jury.  Just what are the different types of theft? Burglary, embezzlement, fraud, larceny, robbery are all different names, yet they all have the same results:  theft.  The charges will determine how their legal proceedings will follow. Here, we offer a brief description and the possible outcomes. One thing in common of these, a person facing any of these theft charges should get legal counsel. 

Larceny or Theft

Larceny is simple theft and is the act of unlawfully taking the property of another person. or using property that belongs to another person. In most jurisdictions, there are different types of theft charges that range from as small as shoplifting to something bigger like grand theft. 

Normally, the basic elements are the same, but there is a slight variation. For instance, if the theft occurred in a retail store like shoplifting and the theft charges by amount valued of the stolen item(s), like petty or grand theft, and the type of property, like grand theft auto.  The punishment possibilities depend on the theft charges filed. Common sentences that can be handed down are a fine, jail time, probation, and or a combination of these. 

Identity Theft

Identity theft is the act of using the name, bank account, or credit card, and other personal identification of another person without their permission.  This type of theft can damage the person whose identity was stolen, affecting their credit history and credit score, their financial resources, and more. Identity theft is a federal crime, and, sometimes, the theft charges are punishable by a long jail sentence and it forfeits any property gained by using the stolen identity and money forfeited. 


Robbery is the act of using intimidation, threats, or violence to get the property of another person. A robbery with and an added element such as violence, like armed robbery. These types of theft charges are subject to a penalty that is heavier than regular larceny because of that added element. 


The act of deceiving another person to relinquish their property willingly with false pretenses presented to them is a fraud. The difference between fraud and robbery is that there is no violence. The accused simply walks away with another person’s property. However, there are varieties of fraud centered on the deception involved. One example would be if the accused takes the property of another person they were entrusted for safe-keeping or other purposes. 

Embezzlement is a fraud that involves fake currency, check, or some other negotiable instrument. Counterfeiting, misleading income information to the government are also forms of fraud and could be upgraded to tax fraud or tax evasion. These types of fraud charges are why they are often concerned to be a “white collar” crime. There are no acts of violence and are usually a form of business dealings.

Because theft charges that are determined to be fraud can have results with large amounts of money and property stolen and can have a lifelong effect on the victim, the sentences vary. The accused may be required to pay a fine, placed on probation, or sentenced to federal prison.

Is Theft civil or criminal?

When a person executes or attempts to execute a theft, it can be both civil and criminal. For example, if you steal from a retail establishment, that is breaking the law and is a criminal act.  The establishment that you stole from, however, can also pursue the civil action for damages. The criminal charge is how punishment is determined and civil action’s purpose is to encourage the accused to forgo any future thievery.  A civil action is a separate filing from criminal action. If the victim has the theft charges dropped, they could still follow the civil charges.

What type of Offence is theft?

In the state of Indiana, the following are classified as theft:

  • Misdemeanor Theft or Petty Theft
  • Felony Theft or Grand Theft
  • Shoplifting
  • Conversion
  • Embezzlement
  • Auto Theft and Receiving Auto Parts

Can you be charged with theft without evidence?

If the prosecution cannot prove or support with evidence of the theft charges, the judge and/or jury can determine beyond a reasonable doubt that the theft happened, the theft charges are dropped and the case has ruled an acquittal.

in jail while awaiting a court date

How much jail time can you get for theft?

A misdemeanor is typically punished by a fine up to $1,000 and a jail term up to 1 year. If the theft charges involved property with a value of over $500, the judge can choose to proceed with a felony or a misdemeanor charge. Whether you are charged with theft larceny vs burglary, the history of these theft charges will remain on your record. A person charged with theft charges and employment can be difficult to find or maintain as most of society frowns upon such charges. Call 317-423-9300 today for bail bonds in Indianapolis, IN when you need them.