Ohio theft law involves two general questions: Has a theft occurred, and if so, what penalty might apply?
Because theft is a crime in Ohio, committing theft can lead to criminal penalties.
These can include a fine, jail or prison time, or both.
Contact an experienced defense attorney if you face a theft charge in Ohio.
A defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you, potential penalties, and defense strategies.
Did a Theft Crime Occur Under Ohio Theft Laws?
First, it is important to understand what conduct is considered theft under Ohio’s theft law.
Ohio theft law makes it a crime to knowingly obtain or exert control over another person’s property or services by unlawful means.
Taking another’s property is unlawful when it is:
- Without the owner’s consent;
- Beyond the scope of the owner’s permission;
- By deception;
- By threat; or
- By intimidation
Also, the Ohio theft law requires that the person take the property or service with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property or service.
For example, it is not theft to take another person’s bicycle without their permission if you intend to return it after a short ride around the block.
It is theft, however, to take the bike intending to ride off and never return.
If a person unlawfully takes the property of another with the intent to deprive the owner of that property permanently, then that person committed a theft.
What Criminal Penalties Apply Under Ohio Theft Laws?
If a theft occurred, the next question to ask is, what penalties might apply upon conviction?
The penalties that apply depend on the seriousness of the theft. The least serious class of theft is petty theft which is classified as a misdemeanor.
More serious theft offenses are felony offenses.
Ohio’s theft laws classify theft as petty theft or felony theft based on the value of the property or services stolen.
The type of property can also determine the class of the offense.
Ohio’s theft laws supply criminal penalties for each type of petty and felony theft offense.
In general, the more serious the theft offense, the more severe the penalty.
Ohio Petty Theft Laws
Ohio theft laws outline when theft qualifies as petty theft.
Petty theft occurs when the value of the property stolen is less than $1,000. Ohio petty theft laws make petty theft a misdemeanor offense.
Petty theft is punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail.
Ohio Felony Theft Laws
In Ohio, theft is a felony if the value of the property stolen is more than $1,000. Felony theft can be in the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth degree.
The least severe penalties apply to fifth-degree felony theft, which is the least serious type of felony theft offense.
First-degree felony theft is the most serious type of theft offense, and it carries the most severe punishment.
Fifth-Degree Felony Theft
Theft is a fifth-degree felony when the value of the stolen property or services is between $1,000 and $7,500. Theft is also a fifth-degree felony when the property taken is:
- A negotiable instrument, such as a credit card, debit card, or check, or
- A vehicle license plate or temporary placard, a blank vehicle title form, or a blank driver’s license form.
Fifth-degree felony theft is punishable by a fine up to $2,500 and a prison sentence between six and 12 months.
Fourth-Degree Felony Theft (Grand Theft)
Theft is a fourth-degree felony, also called grand theft, when the value of the property or services have taken between $7,500 and $150,000. Grand theft also results when the stolen property is a:
- Motor vehicle or
- Dangerous drug
The penalty for grand theft includes a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison sentence between six and 18 months.
Third-Degree Felony Theft (Aggravated Theft)
Third-degree felony theft is theft of property that is worth more than $150,000 but less than $750,000. The theft is also a third-degree felony offense when the property was stolen is a:
- Firearm or
- Anhydrous ammonia.
Penalties for third-degree felony theft include a maximum fine of $10,000 and between one and five years in prison.
Second-Degree Felony Theft (Aggravated Theft)
Second-degree felony theft results when the value of the stolen property is between $750,000 and $1,500,000.
Felony theft in the second degree is punishable by a fine up to $15,000 and a minimum prison sentence between two and eight years.
First-Degree Felony Theft (Aggravated Theft)
When property or services taken are worth more than $1,500,000, the theft is a first-degree felony.
Criminal penalties for felony theft of the first degree include a fine up to $20,000 and a minimum prison sentence between three and 11 years.
Facing Theft Charges in Ohio? Contact a Defense Lawyer at Gounaris Abboud, LPA
If you are facing a theft crime charge, your next step is to seek help from an experienced defense lawyer.
At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, our job is to protect your rights. The theft crimes defense lawyers at Gounaris Abboud can help you understand the charges you face and explain how to present your best defense.