Ohio takes crimes of theft very seriously. If you knowingly attempted to obtain control of someone else’s property—or even took someone else’s belongings off of their property without their consent—you could be charged with theft.
Charges for theft in Ohio primarily depends on the value of the stolen property. As a result, shoplifting could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, making it vital that you speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible
Penalties for Misdemeanor Theft in Ohio
Ohio doesn’t have a separate law covering the theft of goods from a retail store. Instead, shoplifting is included under the state’s general theft statute. In Ohio, theft is a first-degree misdemeanor when the stolen property is valued at less than $1000. Since property stolen in retail theft is generally worth less than $1000, the majority of shoplifting charges are misdemeanors.
For misdemeanor or petty theft charges, you may face:
- Up to six months in jail
- A fine up to $1000 (not including court costs)
- Restitution to the store or victim
- Community service and probation
Penalties for Felony Theft in Ohio
Any theft that involves stolen property valued at $1000 or more is charged as a felony. The law also has additional provisions for felonies where specific items are stolen, as well as increased penalties for aggravating factors Examples of aggravating factors include the age of the victim or whether the item is a vehicle or gun.
Felony theft falls into three categories:
- Theft. If the value of the stolen property is over $1000 but less than $7500, you may be charged with a fifth-degree felony. This carries a possible prison sentence of up to 12 months and fines up to $2500 plus restitution.
- Grand Theft. It is a fourth-degree felony to steal a firearm, motor vehicle, dangerous drug, or any property with more than $7500 but less than $150,000. Penalties for grand theft include between six months and 18 months in prison and a fine up to $5000 plus restitution.
- Aggravated Theft. Penalties for aggravated theft become more serious as the value of stolen property rises. Theft over $150,000 but less than $750,000 (third-degree felony) carries a sentence of up to three years in prison and fines up to $10,000. Theft over $750,000 but less than $1.5 million (second-degree felony) could mean up to 8 years in prison and fines up to $15,000. A first-degree felony involves theft of $1.5 million or more, punishable by up to 11 years in prison term and fines up to $20,000.
Additional Consequences of a Theft Conviction
In addition to the legal penalties, a theft conviction can have consequences that follow you for the rest of your life. If you are unable to defeat the charges against you, you may face difficulties due to:
- Your criminal record. You should know that the law treats all types of property in petty theft cases equally. This means that someone who steals a pack of gum faces the same maximum possible penalties as someone who steals an $800 watch both will show a theft on a person’s criminal record.
- Hiring restrictions. Employers may ask questions about criminal history or conduct a criminal background check on potential hires, excluding you from employment opportunities.
- Career barriers. Crimes of theft are considered crimes of dishonesty, which could lead school administrators and professional licensing boards to believe that you are not a trustworthy or moral person. This can make it extremely difficult for you to go to college, get into certain training programs for a future career, or even work in an environment where you could handle money or have access to sensitive information.
Are you or someone you know facing theft charges?
If you are facing theft charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams is recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, National Trial Lawyers Top 100, and is one of U.S. News' Best Law Firms. Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation.