Ohio Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws

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Under Ohio law, theft is committed through the unauthorized taking of property, when the offender acts with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Specifically, Ohio criminal statutes prohibit “knowingly obtaining” or “exerting control” over someone else’s property or services:

  • without the consent of the owner (or a person authorized to give consent) 
  • beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent 
  • by deception
  • by threat, or
  • by intimidation. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2913.02.)

Classification of Theft Offenses and Penalties in Ohio

Ohio classifies its theft offenses according to the value of the property or services stolen. Let’s take a closer look at each type of theft offense in Ohio, starting with the lowest level of theft, which is often referred to as “petty theft.”

Misdemeanor of the First Degree Theft

Theft is a misdemeanor of the first degree in Ohio when the value of property or services stolen is less than $1,000.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2913.02(B)(2).)

The punishment for a misdemeanor of the first degree in Ohio is a term of imprisonment of not more than 180 days, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.  (§ 2929.24(A)(1), § 2929.28(A)(2).)

Felony of the Fifth Degree Theft

Theft is a felony of the fifth degree in Ohio when one of the following conditions exists:

  • the value of property or services stolen is more than $1,000, but less than $7,500
  • the property is a credit/debt card, check, or other negotiable instrument
  • the property is a vehicle license plate or temporary placard, a blank vehicle title form, or a blank form for a driver's license. (§ 2913.02(B)(2), § 2913.71.)

The punishment for a felony of the fifth degree in Ohio includes a prison term ranging from six to 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500. (§ 2929.14(A), § 2929.18(A)(3).)

Felony of the Fourth Degree Theft or Grand Theft

 When the value of property or services stolen is more than $7,500, but less than $150,000, or the property is a motor vehicle or any dangerous drug, a theft offense in Ohio constitutes grand theft, a felony of the fourth degree. (§ 2913.02(B)(2).) 

The punishment for a felony of the fourth degree in Ohio is a prison term ranging from six months to 18 months and a fine of not more than $5,000. (§ 2929.14(A), § 2929.18(A)(3).)

Felony of the Third Degree Theft or Aggravated Theft

When the value of property or services stolen is more than $150,000, but less than $750,000, or the property is a firearm or anhydrous ammonia, a theft offense in Ohio rises to the level of aggravated theft, which is a felony of the third degree. (§ 2913.02(B)(2).)

The punishment for a felony of the third degree in Ohio includes a prison term ranging from one to five years and a fine of not more than $10,000. (§ 2929.14(A), § 2929.18(A)(3).)

Felony of the Second Degree Theft or Aggravated Theft

If the value of property or services stolen is $750,000 or more but less than $1,500,000, a theft offense is aggravated theft in the state of Ohio, which is a felony of the second degree. (§ 2913.02(B)(2).)

The punishment for a felony of the second degree in Ohio is a prison term ranging from two to eight years and a fine of not more than $15,000. (§ 2929.14(A), § 2929.18(A)(3).) 

Felony of the First Degree or Aggravated Theft

When the value of property or services stolen is more than $1,500,000, a theft offense in Ohio constitutes aggravated theft as a felony of the first degree. (§ 2913.02(B)(2).)

The punishment for a felony of the first degree in Ohio is a prison term ranging from three to 11 years and a fine of not more than $20,000. (§ 2929.14(A), § 2929.18(A)(3).)

Civil Penalties for Theft in Ohio

In addition to criminal penalties, a person who commits theft in Ohio may be civilly liable to the owner of the property (i.e., the store owner) for financial damages, including:

  • the monetary or retail value of the property stolen
  • other compensatory damages
  • liquidated damages in an amount set by Ohio statute (usually at least $200), and
  • the reasonable administrative costs associated with bringing the civil suit. (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2307.61.)

An Important Note on Legal Representation

While the information on this page can help you understand how your states legislature treats varying levels of theft offences, the application of those laws can vary by location. Local courts, law enforcement and the district attorney will play a significant role in determining the outcome of a given case. For that reason, it's important to talk to a local criminal attorney if you've been charged with a theft crime or any other crime.

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