If you have been accused of taking, acquiring, or exerting control over someone else’s property, you could be facing serious consequences if you are convicted of theft. A Cleveland theft lawyer understands the risks to your rights and your freedoms that come with this type of charge. Read on for more information about theft convictions in Ohio and how a lawyer can help with your case.
There are several offenses that fall under the general category of theft, including:
Ohio Revised Statute 2913.02 states that “no person, with purpose to deprive the owner of property or services, shall knowingly obtain or exert control over either the property or services” without the consent of the owner or a person authorized to give consent or that is beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of one of these persons, or if the control was exerted through deception or by threat.
The difference between grand and petty theft is simply the value of the items that were stolen. If the total value is under $1,000 then it is considered petty theft (which is a misdemeanor). If the total value is over $1,000 then the person will be charged with grand theft (which is a felony).
This offense occurs when you enter someone else’s home or business without permission and with the intent to commit another crime such as theft or assault.
This offense occurs when you exert control over someone else’s property through the use of a weapon or the threat of a weapon.
Fraud is knowingly obtaining some benefit for yourself or knowingly causing harm to someone else through deception.
This offense occurs when someone knowingly, and to benefit themselves, forges the writing of another person without their consent.
Ohio’s laws prohibit individuals of receiving, keeping, or disposing of someone else’s property if there is reason to believe that the property was acquired through theft.
There are several more crimes on the books in Ohio, covering different types of theft such as unauthorized use of a vehicle or unauthorized use of computer, telecommunications property. There are also more well-known charges, such as shoplifting, which occurs when an individual takes something from a retail store without paying for it.
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The severity of the charge against you and the penalties it carries depends largely on the value of the items (goods, services, and/or property) you took. For example:
Other consequences of a theft conviction include a felony that will appear on a basic background check that can prevent you from obtaining employment, going to college, or getting hired for a job. You also can expect stiff financial consequences, as well as community service requirements. Depending on the facts of your case, you can be prevented from owning or purchasing a firearm or prohibited from working in specific fields with a felony conviction.
Any level of felony charge will result in serious consequences and deserve aggressive attorney representation. Your criminal defense attorney will carefully evaluate your case for opportunities for dismissal, such as a lack of evidence or an improper arrest procedure that violated your civil rights. If there is not just cause to have the case dismissed, your lawyer will discuss with you the pros and cons of your other options. Those options include:
A plea deal is the product of negotiations between your attorney and the prosecutor. The plea deal generally allows you to plead guilty to a reduced charge. By reducing the charge to a lower level felony or even a misdemeanor, you will likely face less severe consequences and there will be fewer impacts on your background check that prevent you from moving on from the conviction.
If you want to plead not guilty to the crime and take your chances in court, your attorney will work to develop the strongest case possible on your behalf. The burden of proof is on the prosecution and your attorney will look both for opportunities to show that there is an alternative explanation for the facts of the case as well as continued opportunities for dismissal or a later appeal through evidence that proves your innocence.
In Ohio, some first offenders may be eligible for a diversion program. This is an alternative to prosecution for people who have been charged with a misdemeanor and have had no prior criminal convictions (in any state). An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help qualified individuals pursue this path. If someone successfully completes the first-time offender program, they will also have the possibility of having the charges expunged from their record.
Facing theft charges? Worried about what the criminal process will look like? If you are unsure of what to do next and need help navigating the Ohio theft laws, contact The Botnick Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.
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The process to charge someone that’s been accused of a crime begins with an arrest. If the police have reason to believe that someone has committed a crime, the accused can be taken into custody. Police will usually start by asking basic questions like name and address to identify a person, and then they’ll often pivot to more specific questions related to the incident. At some point during this, you should have been read your “Miranda warnings.”
You have the right to remain silent to avoid disclosing evidence that could potentially be self-incriminating, as well as the right to an attorney to defend you in court. Those are your unwavering rights that must be recited upon taking someone into custody. Take note of when these rights are read to you, as it could be helpful information for your attorney.
When you’ve been taken down to the station, police will fingerprint you and get your photograph to update their records. Once this is done, you should be granted the opportunity to contact your criminal defense lawyer. If you don’t have a lawyer, get a loved one to book a consultation with a lawyer on your behalf. It’s important that you do NOT disclose any details about your case over the phone with your loved ones, as those calls are monitored.
After you’ve made it through the booking process, the police may begin conducting their investigation with you. Depending on the situation, this might include a personal search, collecting samples, interviewing/interrogating, police lineups, etc.
You’ll be held at the station until you can be brought before a judge. The initial court appearance will happen within 48 hours or less of the arrest. Here, the judge will review the case and decide if there’s any reason to keep you in holding or if bail can be granted. If bail is granted, you’re allowed to be released upon certain conditions.
Depending on the seriousness of your allegations, you may have a preliminary hearing at which a judge can determine whether enough evidence exists to charge you with that level of crime. You’ll be able to plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” If you plead not guilty, your case will be sent to trial. You may get the opportunity to enter a plea deal. That’s something your attorney will advise you on.
In the discovery stage, the case against you is made much more transparent. The prosecutor will share the evidence they have against you with your defense attorney. During this time, your attorney can make additional requests for evidence if need be. All of the evidence on the table will be considered, and your lawyer will work with you to form the best plan for your defense.
If a plea deal is unable to be reached, the case will enter trial. During the trial, the prosecutor begins by presenting the case to the jury. They share any evidence they have against you and have witnesses make their statements for the prosecution. This can be tough to sit through. Afterward, it’s your lawyer’s turn to take the stands and share your side of the story. Your lawyer can question the prosecutor’s witnesses and all of the evidence that was used against you. There are many different strategies that your lawyer will use to defend you during the trial.
In a best-case scenario, you will have been found not guilty by the end of the trial, and the charges against you have been dropped. If you are found guilty, the judge must determine what your sentence/penalties will be. The sentencing will happen at another hearing, usually a few weeks after your trial ends.
For felony theft charges in Ohio, jail time is almost always a resulting penalty. Depending on the severity of the charges, jail time could range from 6 months to 10 years.
In Ohio, felony charges for theft usually occur when the value of the stolen goods, services, and/or property exceeds $1,000. The charges can range from fifth-degree to first-degree and will depend on the total value of the stolen items.
Grand theft is a much more serious crime than petty theft. Generally, grand theft is when goods, services, and/or property valuing around $1,000 or more are taken from an individual. The theft of cars and animals is generally considered grand theft regardless of the value.
We have successfully represented clients across Northern Ohio. If you are facing criminal charges, we can help you too. Don’t delay. The district attorney is building their case against you right now.
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