Shoplifting crimes may seem like minor offenses.
However, the shoplifting laws in Ohio fall under the general category of theft.
Since theft crimes can either be misdemeanors or felonies, you should be aware of the negative consequences a theft conviction could have on your life.
Having a dedicated and experienced Ohio criminal defense lawyer by your side can help you resolve your case favorably.
When you work with our firm, you will experience the difference a trustworthy, empathetic, honest, and supportive attorney can make in your life.
Shoplifting Charges in Ohio
Shoplifting in Ohio has two meanings. You might think that shoplifting only takes place when someone conceals an item and walks out of a store without paying.
However, deceiving the store owner to pay less for an item is also shoplifting.
You might not realize it, but changing the price on an item by either altering the price tag or by switching the price tag from one item to another is shoplifting.
That’s harder to do these days when most stores don’t use price tags and rely on UPC barcodes for pricing.
But switching packaging is also shoplifting when you pay less for the item than indicated for that specific item.
Ohio Shoplifting Penalties
Shoplifting penalties range in severity depending on the value of the stolen items.
Although the term shoplifting implies that the stolen items are small and easily concealed, the theft statute in Ohio allows someone to serve up to 10 years in prison, depending on the situation.
Under the Ohio theft law, a conviction for stealing property valued at less than $1,000 is petty theft and is a first-degree misdemeanor.
The maximum penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor is 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. The punishments become more serious as the value of the stolen property increases.
Stolen merchandise valued between $1,000 and $7,500 constitutes a fifth-degree felony. You could serve between six months to one year in jail and have to pay a $2,500 fine.
Stealing property valued between $7,500 and $150,000 is a fourth-degree felony. The punishment ranges from 6 to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
You face third-degree felony charges for theft of property worth $150,000 up to $750,000.
The punishment for this charge is a prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of no more than $10,000.
Second-degree felony theft is the appropriate charge for property stolen that has a value of at least $750,000 but less than $1,500,000.
The prison term for this sentence falls between two and eight years, along with a fine of $15,000.
Stealing property worth more than $1,500,000 is a first-degree felony. The sentence for this offense is 3 to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Additional Shoplifting Penalties
You could face civil liability for shoplifting in addition to criminal sanctions. As a result, the judge may order you to make restitution to the store owner for the value of the goods stolen.
Also, you are liable for any damages the store incurred beyond the value of the stolen property. For instance, the court could find that you damaged property while fleeing the store.
If so, the judge may order you to pay for those losses as well. You should understand that civil liability could entail paying the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and court costs as well.
A felony conviction carries collateral consequences on top of the penalties described above. A felony conviction for theft could be impossible to seal or expunge from your record.
You might also have a difficult time finding work or keeping your job if your employer considers theft to be a crime of dishonesty.
A theft conviction may hamper your pursuit of educational opportunities as well.
A felony theft conviction could endanger your immigration status if you are not a U.S. citizen.
Additionally, you could lose your ability to become a naturalized citizen or be refused re-entry into the country. You could also lose the right to vote and your right to possess a firearm.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for My Shoplifting Charge?
The shoplifting laws in Ohio are strict. You could go to jail even after a conviction for petty theft.
Moreover, as the value of the stolen property increases, so does the likelihood that you will go to prison.
Having a skilled Ohio criminal defense attorney fight for you can protect your rights. You have only one chance to defend your case successfully.
Making a mistake while trying to defend yourself—even from misdemeanor shoplifting charges—can hurt you in the long run.
Seeking advice from a skilled attorney with extensive experience defending the rights of the accused gives you the best chance to minimize the impact your charges will have on your life.
Work with a Dayton Law Firm That Cares About Your Future
Our award-winning attorneys will explain your options and plot a course of action that can help you get the best results for the circumstances surrounding your case.
We may be able to get the prosecutor to agree to a favorable plea, reduce your charges, or possibly even dismiss your case altogether.
With our extensive legal knowledge and dedication to your well-being, we can make a difference for you.