With changes in technology, there is an ever increasing amount of ways to commit a theft in Ohio. A theft is generally defined as depriving the owner of property or services by using the property or service beyond the scope of what was consented to, without consent, by deception, by threat, or by intimidation. If you have been charged with a theft crime, call our Columbus theft crimes attorney today for a free consultation at 614.205.2208.
The Ohio state statute that make theft a criminal offense includes a very broad definition of the alleged illegal act. Specifically, section 2913.02 of the Ohio Revised Code declares that a person can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for knowingly doing one of the following things:
An alleged theft is prosecuted as a felony offense when the value of the item or service is $1,000 or more. As a matter of state law, theft is distinguished from burglary and robbery. A burglary involves a theft and trespassing, such as entering a store or home without permission. A robbery involves a theft or attempted theft that is committed while using a weapon or while assaulting the victim.
An experienced theft crimes attorney in Columbus can advise and represent an individual who is charged with fraud, burglary, or robbery. It can help to understand, however, which types of alleged offenses get charged as just theft.
Many theft cases are prosecuted as felonies because state law sets the threshold for doing so at the very low value of $1,000. Statutory penalties for a felony conviction start at 6-12 months in jail, a criminal fine of up to $2,500, and payment of restitution to victims. Outside of the legal system, having a felony theft conviction on one’s record can make finding a job and obtaining credit difficult.
Hiring a dedicated Columbus Ohio criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid harsh penalties and consequences. Your attorney will make police and the prosecutor produce solid evidence of the intent to commit theft and to prove the value of the item or service that was allegedly taken. Intent—the “knowingly” part of the statutory definition—makes all the difference in a theft case. A simple misunderstanding of what was allowed in terms of using an item or taking advantage of a service cannot support a conviction.
Your Columbus theft lawyer will also explore the possibility of negotiating a beneficial plea deal to a lesser charge with lower penalties if having your case dismiss does not appear to be a reasonable possibility.
You can call me for a free consultation with a Columbus Ohio theft lawyer by reaching out to Colin Maher of The Maher Law Firm. Feel free to contact him online or by phone at (614) 205-2208 for a free case review.