Theft

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a theft offense in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your theft offense.

Stolen Property

With the struggling economy and many living in poverty, sometimes people turn to stealing to buy groceries, pay bills, etc. However, since it is a crime to steal even the most petty item, Ohio can levy significant jail time and fines for even the most minor theft offense. Secondary consequences to theft offenses include possible civil penalties, problems securing future employment, and embarrassment.

The criminal justice system does not look fondly on even those who steal for altruistic motives. This means that you need an attorney who cares about you and will work aggressively to reduce any penalties as much as possible. People make mistakes and don’t need a criminal conviction on their record making it harder to secure employment and take care of their family.

What is Theft?

Theft under Ohio law is the taking of another person’s property with the purpose to deprive the owner of the property. This can occur by removing property without the owner’s consent, beyond the scope of the owner’s consent, or by threatening, intimidating, or deceiving the owner. The seriousness of the theft charge and the penalties associated with it are fact-specific, such as the value of the property stolen, whether the victim was elderly or under a disability, or whether the theft was of a firearm or involved drugs. Common theft offenses include:

Definition of Theft Violations Under Ohio Law

Petty Theft

Petty Theft is defined under ORC 2913.02 as knowingly obtaining or exerting control over property or services that is less than $1000:

  • Without the owner’s consent (or authorized person);
  • Beyond the scope of an owner’s consent;
  • By deception;
  • By threat; or
  • By intimidation.

Petty Theft is classified as a 1st degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum 6 months in jail and $1000 fine.

Theft

Theft is defined under ORC 2913.02 as knowingly obtaining or exerting control property or services that is valued at $1000 or more, but less than $7500:

  • Without the owner’s consent (or authorized person)
  • Beyond the scope of an owner’s consent;
  • By deception;
  • By threat; or
  • By intimidation

A person can also be charged with theft under ORC 2913.71, regardless of the value of the property, if the item stolen was:

  • A credit card;
  • Check or other negotiable instrument;
  • Motor vehicle identification license plate or stickers;
  • A blank form for a certificate of title; or
  • A blank form for any license listed in ORC 4507.01

Theft is classified as a 5th degree felony, which carries a jail sentence of 6-12 months and a maximum fine of $2500.

Burglary

Burglary is defined under ORC 2911.12 as committing one of the following acts through the use of force, stealth or deception:

  • Trespassing into an occupied structure when another is present with the intention of committing any criminal offense;
  • Trespassing into an occupied structure that is the residence of another when that person is present with the intention of committing any criminal offense; or
  • Trespassing into an occupied structure or building with the intention of committing any criminal offense in the structure.

Burglary is classified as a 4th degree felony, which carries a sentence of 6-18 months in prison and a $5000 fine. However, this offense can escalate to a 2nd degree felony based on the circumstances.

Robbery

Robbery occurs under ORC 2911.02 when a person does one of the following while committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing from any theft offense:

  • Having a deadly weapon on their person or under their control;
  • Inflicting, attempting to inflict, or threatening to inflict physical harm on another person; or
  • Using or threatening to immediately use force against another person.

Robbery is classified as a 3rd degree felony, which carries a prison sentence of 9 months – 5 years. However, this offense can escalate to a 2nd degree felony based on the circumstances.

Grand Theft

Grand theft is defined under ORC 2913.02 as knowingly obtaining or exerting control over property or services that is valued at $7500 or more, but less than $150,000:

  • Without the owner’s consent (or authorized person)
  • Beyond the scope of an owner’s consent;
  • By deception;
  • By threat; or
  • By intimidation

Grand theft is generally a 4th degree felony, which carries a sentence of 6-18 months in prison and a $5000 fine. If the property was a motor vehicle or firearm, regardless of the value of the item, the offense is considered grand theft. However, grand theft of a motor vehicle is a 4th degree felony and grand theft of a firearm is a 3rd degree felony.

Aggravated Theft

Aggravated theft is defined under ORC 2913.02 knowingly obtaining or exerting control over property or services that is valued at $150,000 or more:

  • Without the owner’s consent (or authorized person)
  • Beyond the scope of an owner’s consent;
  • By deception;
  • By threat; or
  • By intimidation

Aggravated theft is a 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree felony based on the value of the property taken.

Receiving Stolen Property

Receiving stolen property is defined under ORC 2913.51 as receiving, retaining or disposing of property of another when knowing or having reason to know that the property was obtained by theft. This offense is a 1st degree misdemeanor, or a 5th, 4th, or 3rd degree felony based on the type and value of the property.

Theft Crime Penalties in Ohio

A misdemeanor or felony theft offense in Ohio carries serious consequences, including significant fines and jail or prison time. Additionally, the person also faces potential civil penalties, driver’s license suspensions, and restitution, with other penalties being levied based on the type of offense, whether the victim was elderly, and the value of the property stolen. The following are Ohio’s sentences for theft crimes:

  • 1st Degree Misdemeanor – this level of misdemeanor carries a maximum 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine.
  • 5th Degree Felony – this level of felony carries a potential 6-12 month prison sentence and a $2500 fine.
  • 4th Degree Felony – this level of felony carries a potential 6-18 months in prison and a $5000 fine.
  • 3rd Degree Felony – this level of felony carries a potential 9 months – 5 years and a $10,000 fine.
  • 2nd Degree Felony – this level of felony carries a potential 2-8 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
  • 1st Degree Felony – this level of offense carries a potential 3-11 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Civil Penalties Under Ohio Law

Merchants, store owners and companies are permitted to recover damages under ORC 2307.61 from any person who commits a theft offense against them. In order to pursue civil penalties, the owner must send a civil demand letter to the alleged offender demanding payment for the value of the items stolen.

The owner is also permitted to demand payment for any losses sustained, including the cost of apprehending the alleged offender and any damage to the store. If the alleged offender does not tender payment to the store within 30 days, the owner is allowed to file a civil suit against the alleged offender and may recover the value of the property, court costs and legal fees.

While this option is available to merchants, store owners and companies, often they will only send a civil demand letter and make threats. It is unlikely that a civil suit is instituted against the alleged offender. However, it is best to hire an attorney and avoid this potential penalty.

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Theft Attorney

The consequences for stealing property in Ohio can be quite severe and involve thousands of dollars in fines and prison. If you have been charged with a theft offense in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your theft offense. For further information, consult Johnson Legal, LLC’s Theft Offenses Blog.

Johnson Legal, LLC serves the following cities in the central Ohio area for theft:

Westerville, Worthington, Columbus, Polaris, Reynoldsburg, Grandview Heights, Shawnee Hills, Bexley, Pickerington, Gahanna, Sunbury, Powell, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Dublin, Hilliard, Lewis Center, Galena, Clintonville, Huber Ridge, Blacklick, Grove City, Delaware, Marysville, Groveport, Newark, Canal Winchester, Obetz, Marion, PataskalaFranklin County, Morrow County, Licking County, Union County and Delaware County