Theft

Theft in Ohio – What You Should Know

Theft in Ohio – What You Should Know
Edited by Edward La Rue

What is Theft in Ohio?

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 in a variety of ways, such as removing the property without the owner’s consent, using the property beyond the scope of the owner’s consent, or by threatening, deceiving or intimidating the owner.

The type of theft charge, and level of offense, depend upon several factors, such as the value of the property stolen, whether the victim was elderly or under a disability, and whether the theft was of a firearm or involved drugs. The determination of the particular theft offense is fact-specific. Common theft offenses include:

  • Petty Theft
  • Theft
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Grand Theft
  • Aggravated Theft
  • Receiving Stolen Property

How are Theft Offenses Defined Under Ohio Law?

Petty Theft

Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 2913.02, Petty Theft is defined as knowingly obtaining or exerting control over property or services that is less than $1000:

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

Petty theft is a 1st degree misdemeanor, which carries 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine.

Theft

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

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

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

Theft is a 5th degree felony in Ohio, which carries 6 – 12 months in jail and a $2500 fine.

Burglary

Burglary, pursuant to ORC 2911.12, is defined 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 can be classified as a 4th degree felony in Ohio, which carries a prison sentence of 6 – 18 months and a $5000 fine. However, Burglary can also be charged as a 3rd or 2nd degree felony based on the circumstances.

Robbery

Robbery occurs, pursuant to 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 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 be charged as a 2nd degree felony based on the circumstances.

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Grand Theft

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

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

Grand theft is generally a 4th degree felony, which carries a prison sentence of 6 – 18 months and a $5000 fine. If the property stolen was a motor vehicle or firearm, regardless of the value of the item, the offense is 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, pursuant to ORC 2913.02, is defined as knowingly obtaining or exerting control over property or services that is valued at $150,000 or more:

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

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

Receiving Stolen Property

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

Penalties for Theft Offenses in Ohio

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

  • 1st Degree Misdemeanor – 6 month jail term and a $1000 fine.
  • 5th Degree Felony – 6 – 12 month prison term and a $2500 fine.
  • 4th Degree Felony – 6 – 18 prison term and a $5000 fine.
  • 3rd Degree Felony – 9 months – 5 year prison term and a $10,000 fine.
  • 2nd Degree Felony – 2 – 8 year prison term and a $15,000 fine.
  • 1st Degree Felony – 3 – 11 year prison term and a $20,000 fine.
Civil Penalties in Ohio

Companies in Ohio are permitted, pursuant to ORC 2307.61, to recover damages from any person who commits a theft offense against them. In order to pursue civil penalties, the company or store owner must send a civil demand letter to the alleged offender demanding payment for the value of the items stolen.

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

While this is available to companies in Ohio, it is unlikely that the company will follow through with their threats in the demand letter. Specifically, it is unlikely that the company will institute a civil suit against the alleged offender. However, it is best to hire an attorney to help you navigate these issues.

Article references:
www.johnsonlegalofohio.com/theft-ohio-what-you-should-know/

About the author

Edward La Rue

Attorney Edward R. La Rue is a compassionate and dedicated litigator who provides criminal defense for good people in Cleveland. He puts his extensive experience to work in difficult cases involving cutting edge technology and the most complex legal issues at the forefront of criminal law.

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