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Stealing is no small crime in Ohio, and committing an act of auto theft is especially serious. For those who are facing auto theft charges in Toledo, partnering with a Toledo auto theft lawyer who is experienced and committed could be the best way to protect one’s rights throughout the criminal process.

At the law office of Groth & Associates, our criminal defense lawyers have decades’ worth of combined legal experience. As you try to make sense of the charges against you and how to navigate the process, our lawyers can be by your side to provide guidance, support, and superior criminal defense services.

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The crime of auto theft is found in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 2313.02(B)(5). The first part of the statute defines what theft is, explaining that an act of theft is committed when the property or services of another are obtained for the purpose of deriving the rightful owner of the property or services. Section (B)(5) of the code explains that if the property stolen is a motor vehicle, the crime is classified as a fourth-degree felony.





Assuming that the person who is charged with the crime of auto theft is indeed convicted on fourth-degree felony charges, penalties may include:

  • Between six and eight months of incarceration;
  • Fine of up to $5,000; and
  • The crime listed on one’s permanent criminal record. 

It is also possible for a judge to order a convicted person to perform community service. Note that if the crime of auto theft is committed against someone who is an active military member, elderly, or disabled, the crime may be considered more severe. Section (B)(3) of the same part of Ohio code cited above reads that if the victim of property stolen is a disabled, elderly, or active duty service member and the property is valued at above $7,500 and less than $37,500, the crime is a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony charge has a greater prison sentence attached to it–between one and five years–and a greater fine–up to $10,000.

Words from our clients

Our experience with Attorney Stevin Groth was nothing short of life changing.
When we first contacted Mr. Groth, he gave us his cell phone number and we were able to directly contact him day or night. His knowledge of the Ohio judicial system was astounding. He handled all aspects of our case himself, never once handing off our case to jr. associates. Stevin had positive relationships with all the judges, district attorneys and court personal that we came in contact with. Stevin’s persuasive arguments on our son’s behalf cleared him of all charges. Because of Stevin’s abilities, our son is able to move forward with his life without the stigma of a criminal record. We could not recommend Stevin Groth more highly.


Dan is an amazing attorney. He had my divorce finalized in a short period of time. A lot quicker than I thought it was going to be and for that I’m thankful! Dan knew exactly what he was talking about. Any questions I had Dan, and his assistant, Michelle was glad to answer. The outcome of my divorce was exactly what I was hoping for.


Allison Lawrence is the best lawyer I have hired.she was attentive when I presented my case to her & knew exactly how to handle it.very professional person when it comes to her job,also a humanitarian.Allison has given me great advice in a free consultation,as well as stood by side in court with chargers pending,of course she got the charges dismissed!!Great attorney,very need of a lawyer,I highly recommend Allison Lawrence.



    When you are charged with auto theft in Toledo, you have a few different options for approaching your case.

    • You can plead guilty. Your first option is simply to plead guilty to the charge of grand theft of a motor vehicle. However, this is not recommended. There is usually a smarter way to approach your case that will ultimately result in a better case outcome for you.
    • You can defend yourself against charges. Your second option is to defend yourself against the charges brought against you, something that is your Constitutional right to do. If you decide to defend yourself against charges, it is strongly recommended to partner with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
    • You can enter a plea bargain. The third option is to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution. In negotiating a plea bargain, you will plead guilty to lesser charges that are associated with a less severe sentence. This may be a good option if securing a conviction of innocent seems unlikely.

    If you do decide to defend yourself against charges, there may be a range of defenses available to you depending on the specifics of your case. These might include:

    • The automobile was yours. If you believe that the automobile was yours and can prove that you have rightful ownership–or believed yourself to have rightful ownership–of the car, then this can serve as a valid defense.
    • Permission. An act of theft only occurs if the taking of property was committed without the consent of the owner of the person authorized to give consent. You may be able to prove that while yes, you did indeed take the motor vehicle, you had the permission of the owner of the car to do so. For example, perhaps you were told you could borrow the car.
    • Lack of intent to deprive the owner of property. The third potential defense to auto theft charges is that of offering proof that while you did take the vehicle, you had no intent to deprive the vehicle owner of their property; instead, you were merely borrowing the vehicle for a short amount of time with every intent of returning it. 
    • Intoxication or impairment. While claiming that you were intoxicated or impaired due to the use of a certain substance will likely not paint you favorably for the court, it may serve as a defense. You may be able to argue that your impaired state prevented you from knowing what you were doing or committed to act of theft with any degree of intent.

    Sometimes, other defenses, such as entrapment, also exist. Our lawyers will thoroughly review your case to determine which defenses are viable, as well as whether or not we believe defending yourself against charges is your best option.


    Choosing to work with a Toledo auto theft lawyer if you are facing criminal charges in our city is strongly recommended. Our lawyers:

    • Know how to investigate your case, gather evidence for your benefit, and review the prosecution’s evidence against you;
    • Have a relationship with the prosecution, police officers, and judges in Toledo, and know how each operate; 
    • Can advise you regarding whether or not you should attempt to defend yourself or strike a plea bargain;
    • Can representing you in negotiations with the prosecution, as well as at all of your court appearances;
    • Have a dedicated staff who will be just as committed to working on your case as is the lawyer who’s assigned to it; and
    • Are available and accessible to answer your questions and provide you with advice – we know how important this is to your life, and we want to make sure that you know you’re a top priority.


    If you are facing grand theft of a motor vehicle charges, please call our Toledo auto theft lawyers for more information about your legal rights. We recommend reaching out to a legal professional as soon as you are arrested and charged – make our law firm the first call you make.

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