Shoplifting Charges in Ohio

Learn about the laws, penalties and civil consequences of a shoplifting charge in Ohio. Find out if you can avoid a conviction and criminal record

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Shoplifting in Ohio is a crime with serious penalties, including potential fines and jail time. In addition to facing criminal penalties, shoplifters can be sued by merchants in civil court to recover damages.

Ohio Shoplifting Laws

Shoplifting is punished as theft in Ohio (Ohio Code 2913.02). Theft is committed when a person obtains or exerts control over property without the owner’s consent, and with the purpose of depriving the owner of the property. Actions such as removing merchandise from a store without paying the purchase price would constitute theft. Criminal and civil penalties for shoplifting are described below.

Ohio Shoplifting Criminal Penalties

Charge

Classification

Penalty

Theft of items valued at under $1,000 (petty theft)

First degree misdemeanor

Up to 180 days of jail time and/or fines up to $1,000

Theft of property valued above at $1,000 or more and less than $7,500

Fifth degree felony

Jail time between 6 and 12 months and/or fines up to $2,500

Theft of property valued at $7,500 or more and less than $150,000 (grand theft)

Fourth degree felony

Jail time between 6 and 18 months and/or fines up to $5,000

Theft of property valued at $150,000 or more and less than $750,000

Third degree felony

Jail time between one and five years and/or fines up to $10,000

Theft of property valued at $750,000 or more and less than $1,500,000 (aggravated theft )

Second degree felony

Jail time between two and eight years and/or fines up to $15,000

Theft of property valued at $1,500,000 or more (aggravated theft)

First degree felony

Jail time between 3 and 10 years and/or fines up to $20,000

Civil Liability

Merchants can sue shoplifters in civil court to recover damages. The merchants are entitled to a choice of damages equal to the value of the stolen property, plus between $50 and $150; or damages equal to the greater of $200 or three times the value of the property. In certain cases, the merchant is entitled to court costs and reasonable attorney fees.

Pretrial Diversion Programs and Plea Bargains

Ohio law permits pretrial diversion programs to certain individuals charged with first-time and low-level crimes (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2935.36). If the accused completes the diversion program requirements, which could include counseling, community service, and making restitution, the criminal charges will be dropped.

When a diversion program is not an option, the accused may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. The prosecutor has the discretion to reduce the charges or sentencing in exchange for a guilty plea.

Learn more about diversion and pretrial options.

Getting Help

If you are accused of shoplifting, it is imperative that you consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can assist you in exploring all of your options, including pursuing pretrial diversion programs, raising defenses, and negotiating plea bargains, in order to minimize the consequences of a shoplifting charge.

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