Ohio has strict laws regarding the illegal possession of another person’s property. The crimes of robbery, burglary, and the receipt of stolen property have been discussed previously. Some may mistakenly assume that theft falls under one of these categories, but theft in Ohio is a separate crime that ranges from a first-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree felony.
Section 2913.02 of the Ohio Revised Code states:
(A) No person, with purpose to deprive the owner of property or services, shall knowingly obtain or exert control over either the property or services in any of the following ways:
(1) Without the consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent;
(2) Beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent;
(3) By deception;
(4) By threat;
(5) By intimidation.
The seriousness of the theft offense is classified by either the value of the property or services stolen or the type of property stolen.
The lowest level of theft is often referred to as “petty theft.” Petty theft is a first-degree misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property or services is less than $1,000. If convicted of petty theft, you could face a sentence of probation or up to 180 days in jail, a fine up to $1,000 and be ordered to pay restitution. If the value of the stolen property or services exceeds $1,000 theft is a felony, which will have serious consequences.
If the value of the stolen property or services stolen exceeds $1,000, but is less than $7,500 theft is a fifth-degree felony Theft is also a fifth-degree felony if the stolen property is a credit card, check, a vehicle license plate and/or blank forms from the bureau of motor vehicles. If convicted you are facing a sentence of probation or a prison term of 6 to 12 months, as well as a fine up to $2,500.
When the stolen property or services is more than $7,500, but less than $150,000, this is referred to as “grand theft,” and is a fourth-degree felony. Theft of a stolen motor vehicle or any dangerous drug is also a fourth-degree felony. If convicted of grand theft you are facing a sentence of probation or 6 to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $5,000. When the value of the stolen property or services is more than $150,000 but less than $750,000, this is referred to as aggravated theft and is a third-degree felony. Theft of a firearm or anhydrous ammonia is also a third degree felony. A third-degree felony theft offense is punishable from 12, 18, 24, 30, or 36 months in prison. Depending on your criminal history, you may be sentenced to 48 or 60 months in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
When the stolen property or services is more than $750,000 but less than $1,500,000, this is also referred to as aggravated theft and is a second-degree felony. If convicted of a second-degree felony you could face a prison term from two to eight years, and a fine up to $15,000.
Lastly, if you are charged with felony theft of the first degree, you are facing the most serious theft charge and if convicted you could receive 3 to 11 years in prison, as well as fine up to $20,000. This is the most elevated form of aggravated theft and is incurred when the stolen property or services stolen exceed $1,500,000 in value.
All conviction of theft may come with an order to pay restitution for the stolen property or services.
Being charged with theft in Ohio can change your entire life. It may likely leave a permanent mark on your record, you could struggle with finding employment, getting approved for loans, and even keeping custody of your children. These charges can result in a frightening situation that only an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate through.
If you have been charged with theft in Ohio, an experienced criminal defense attorney will help determine whether you have any defense(s) to the charge(s) and will thoroughly discuss your options. Should you decide to go to trial, a skilled defense attorney is an absolute necessity. For more information and a free consultation, please contact Jeff Hastings, experienced Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney.