Shoplifting and other crimes of theft are on the rise in Ohio. Delaware County law enforcement officials recently released a statement on Facebook explaining that the number of thefts in 2017 had risen by 40 percent when compared to the number of thefts in 2016. Shoplifting offenses at the popular Tanger Outlets are reportedly the primary reason for this steep increase in crime. As more Americans face tough economic times they may be more inclined to break the law and take the things they need without permission or payment. Many consider shoplifting to be a minor crime, but it can have serious criminal consequences. If you’re facing shoplifting charges, contact our Columbus office today for a free consultation.
Shoplifting Laws in Ohio
Shoplifting is a crime of theft in Ohio. If you are arrested for shoplifting in Columbus you can be charged with a crime under Ohio Code Section 2913.02. The Ohio law makes it a crime to knowingly obtain or exert control over property and/or services (1) without consent of the owner, (2) beyond the scope of consent, (3) by deception, (4) by threat, or (5) by intimidation. You must intend to deprive the owner of the property and/or services you take or control. Essentially, it is a crime to take knowingly take something that belongs to another person without consent or compensation.
You can face charges for shoplifting even if you are unsuccessful. The law makes it a crime to knowingly obtain or assert control over property with the intent to deprive its lawful owner of that property. The severity of the criminal charges you face for shoplifting will depend on (1) whether you have a prior criminal conviction, and (2) the value of the items/services you took.
Criminal Penalties for Shoplifting in Ohio
Shoplifting can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in Ohio. The value of the property or services stolen generally dictate the criminal charges you will face. Shoplifting will be charged as a:
- First Degree Misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is less than $1,000. A First Degree Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.
- Fifth Degree Felony if the value of the property stolen is between $1,000 and $7,500. A Fifth Degree Felony is punishable by 6-12 months in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.
- Fourth Degree Felony if the value of the property stolen is between $7,500 and $150,000. A Fourth Degree Felony is punishable by 6-18 months in jail and/or a fine of $5,000.
- Third Degree Felony if the value of the property stolen is between $150,000 and $750,000. A Third Degree Felony is punishable by 1-5 years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000.
- Second Degree Felony if the value of the property stolen is between $750,000 and $1,500,000. A Second Degree Felony is punishable by 2-8 years in prison and/or a fine of $15,000.
- First Degree Felony if the value of the property stolen exceeds $1,500,000. A First Degree Felony is punishable by 3-10 years in prison and/or a fine of $20,000.
If you are convicted of shoplifting in Ohio you can also face additional consequences for your actions. In addition to jail time and monetary fines, you can be required to pay restitution to the victim of your crime or perform court-mandated community service. You can even face civil consequences for your actions. Property owners are permitted to bring civil lawsuits to recover the losses they suffered because of your shoplifting crime(s). The best way to limit the negative consequences of shoplifting in Ohio is to hire an experienced Columbus shoplifting attorney.
Non-Criminal Consequences of a Shoplifting Conviction in Ohio
A criminal record for shoplifting can impede your ability to have a normal life after a conviction. Employers, landlords, and schools who choose to run background checks will see your past convictions. They may choose to decline your application for a new home, apartment, or job. Some schools may decline admission or financial aid because of your criminal record. In Ohio, you may be able to avoid a criminal record for shoplifting offenses if it is your very first offense.
Shoplifting and Ohio Pre-Trial Diversion Programs
Ohio has two pre-trial diversion programs that may be available for first-time offenders. The Intervention In Lieu of Conviction Program [Ohio Code Section 2951.041] can be used for non-violent crimes that are caused by a drug or alcohol problem. Theft or shoplifting crimes which are committed to support a drug or alcohol addiction may qualify for this program. To complete the ILC program you must plead guilty to the crime of shoplifting and complete a series of court-mandated treatment programs. These programs may include drug/alcohol treatment, sobriety testing, and anything else the court determines may be necessary to rehabilitate you. Once you have successfully completed the program(s) and the supervisory period the court will dismiss the charges against you and your record will be sealed. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol and think you might be going down this path then it’s important that you get the help you need before you commit any crimes. There’s no shame in asking for help while you are trying to become sober because it’s extremely difficult to do by yourself.
The Ohio Pretrial Diversion Program (PDP) is another option for first-time offenders. If you are arrested for committing a nonviolent and low-level crime you may be eligible for the PDP. Even felony shoplifting offenses can qualify. To initiate the PDP [Ohio Code Section 2935.36] you must plead guilty to the charges against you. The court will accept and hold your plea of guilty while you complete the requirements of the program. Requirements may include community service, probation, attending educational and rehabilitative programs, making restitution payments to the property’s owner, and paying fines. Once you have completed the PDP the court will dismiss the criminal charges and expunge the record of your arrest. The Pretrial Diversion Program is a great way to minimize the potential consequences of having a criminal record.
Fighting Ohio Shoplifting Charges
If you have been arrested for shoplifting in Ohio do not hesitate to contact an experienced Columbus shoplifting attorney. First-time offenders may be eligible for pretrial diversion programs that, if successfully completed, can reduce or eliminate any negative consequences. Contact Columbus shoplifting attorney Adam Burkey today for a free consultation.