The holiday season is always a stressful time for most individuals. Between trying to stretch your finances to get the greatest toy of the year for your kids, consuming too much alcohol trying to get by hanging around your uncle who is trying to push his political agenda, or simply being depressed by not having anyone to celebrate the season with, there are many contributing factors and stressors that cause good people to consider committing a crime. Below are the types of cases we most commonly see around this time of year.
Theft (Ind. Code 35-43-4-2)
As mentioned above, parents are under the stress of getting gifts for their kids, family members, or even an office secret Santa. Finances are tight around this time of year with so many out of the ordinary expenses which may lead to some poor decisions.
Below is the wording of the theft statute and the different penalty ranges.
A person who knowingly or intentionally exerts unauthorized control over property of another person, with intent to deprive the other person of its value or use commits theft as a Class A Misdemeanor.
However the offense is a Level 6 Felony if the value of the property stolen is worth at least $750 but less than $50,000, the property stolen is a firearm, or if the person has a prior conviction for theft or criminal conversion.
Also, theft can be charged as a Level 5 Felony if the value of the property is at least $50,000 or the property stolen is a valuable metal that relates to transportation safety, public safety, or is taken from a hospital or other health care facility, telecommunications provider, or a public utility.
If you do find yourself in a situation tough situation trying to provide for your family, consider reaching out to one of the following organizations for help in providing gifts for children:
• The Salvation Army (http://salvationarmyindiana.org/)
• Toys for Tots (https://indianapolis-in.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx)
• The Children’s Bureau (http://www.childrensbureau.org/in-kind-donations/)
• Your local YMCA or Boys and Girls Club
Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (Ind. Code 9-30-5)
Thousands of Hoosiers will travel on the holidays or for new years. Again, many individuals drink over the holiday, whether in celebration or depression. Police officers understand this and are often on alert looking out for drunk drivers. There are several ways a OVWI case can be charged depending on the facts.
If the BAC registered between .08 and .15, it is likely to be charged as a Class C Misdemeanor. If the BAC registered above .15, the prosecutor’s office will charge the offense as a Class A Misdemeanor. Factually, if the officers determine there was some level of endangerment, to the public, police, or even yourself, they can up charge the case to a Class A Misdemeanor as well, even if the BAC was below .15.
Additionally, if a person causes serious bodily injury to another person when operating a vehicle with a BAC of equal to greater than .08, it will be charged as a Level 6 Felony and if there is a prior conviction in the last five years for OVWI, than it will be up charged to a Level 5 Felony. If a person causes death to another person when operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08 or more, the offense will be charged as a Level 5 Felony and if there is a prior conviction for OVWI in the last 10 years, the case will be up charged to a Level 4 Felony.
There are a few other scenarios for OVWI not covered above that could also result in the up charging of a OVWI case so it is important to consult with an attorney to go over all possible liability you may be facing.
If you plan to do some traveling for the holiday season as well as some drinking, please consider looking into an uber, taxi, or lyft driver who could take you where to be safely if you find yourself in a position where you are unable to drive.
Burglary (Ind. Code 35-43-2-1)
A fairly predictable fact pattern for burglary could be an individual is driving down the street thinking about how strapped for cash they are and while doing so, see a Christmas tree in the window of a house or a car with lots of presents and gifts and decide on the split second to make a bad decision. With this additional step of breaking into a building or structure, the stakes are raised and the liability an individual is looking at is much greater.
Similar to theft, a burglary occurs when a person breaks and enters in a building or structure of another with intent to commit a felony or theft. The simply act without any aggravating factors is a Level 5 Felony. It may be a Level 4 Felony if the building broken into is a dwelling such as someone’s home. Burglary can be charged as a Level 3 Felony if it results in bodily injury to any person other than a defendant. A Level 2 Felony will be charged if committed while armed with a deadly weapon or serious bodily injury to any other person occurs. Finally, burglary will be charged as a Level 1 Felony if the building broken into is a dwelling and serious bodily injury occurs to anyone but the defendant.
If you or a loved one picks up one of the above cases or any other case around the holidays, it is important to contact one of the experienced criminal law attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC. We have heard people’s stories and cases for over a combined 20 years and know how to help the most effectively and efficiently. For more information, give us a call or send us an email. We’re available 24/7/365 by calling us at (317) 870-0019 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.