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Petty Theft Carries Serious Consequences

Ohio Revised Code §2913.02 contains Ohio's petty theft statute. A theft charge is considered petty theft if the value of the item taken is less than $1,000. So, stealing a $2 candy bar carries the same penalties as a $999 piece of clothing. Once the value of the item or services equals or exceeds $1,000 then the offense becomes a felony. Theft is committed when a defendant, with a purpose to deprive the owner of property or services, knowingly obtains control over the property or services by one of five 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; or (5) by intimidation.

Many people think of theft simple as stealing an item from a business or another individual. While this is accurate, the statute also covers additional behavior. For example, our office has handled many "time theft" cases-where an individual may bill for work that they didn't perform or have a co-worker clock them in at work when they aren't there. We have also defended individuals who receive benefits or payments that they once were entitled to but no longer are, such as an individual with power of attorney of a family member's bank account which continues to receive governmental aid after that individual has passed away. Our office is experienced when it comes to these types of charges and we are able to help.

What Are The Penalties For Petty Theft?

Petty theft is a first degree misdemeanor. As a result, the charge carries a maximum of 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. There are no mandatory penalties associated with this charge. Additionally, on top of the potential penalties above, community service, theft classes, and probation are also common penalties impose by courts.

There are also collateral consequences to be considered with theft offenses above and beyond the court imposed penalties. A theft offense is a crime of dishonest, often called a crime of "moral turpitude" and can possible prevent certain professional licensures.

How Can We Help?

Our criminal defense team at Rittgers & Rittgers has years of helping people charged with theft. We are prepared to litigate these cases through a trial or to work to resolve the case through a plea bargain. Potential plea agreements range from diversion (as discussed in our previous blog post) to disorderly conduct or unauthorized use of property (non-violent and sealable offenses).

Choosing the right lawyer is critical. Our office has the experience to know what works and how different courts treat these charges. For example, diversion may be obtainable in some courts for first offenders, whereas other courts are likely to impose jail time even on a first offense. We are used to navigating through these issues and are able to assist you.

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