SKILLED IN THEFT DEFENSE CASES
FACING A CRIMINAL CHARGE ALONE CAN BE FRIGHTENING
Facing a criminal charge is an intimidating and potentially life-changing process. If you have been charged with theft in Toledo, it’s of critical importance that you understand your rights, options, and the charges against you and the potential consequences you’re facing. Please reach out to our law firm as soon as possible after being arrested and having charges pressed against you. We are here to help.
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DEFINING THEFT IN OHIO
The definition for the crime of theft is found in Ohio Revised Code Section 2913.02. Per the code, an individual commits an act of theft when they deprive another of property or services:
- Without the consent of the owner of that property/those services;
- Beyond the scope or implied consent of the owner’s permission;
- By deception;
- By threat; or
- By intimidation.
In other words, theft can be thought of as taking something that does not belong to you. It does not matter whether the item is taken from a person, a commercial business, or a private entity – if property is taken without the owner’s consent (or by deception or threat or intimidation), theft has occurred.
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WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEFT AND ROBBERY?
Many people use the terms “theft” and “robbery” interchangeably, but the truth is they are two different crimes that carry two separate sets of penalties. In Ohio, robbery occurs when a person is committing an act of theft and, during that act, has a deadly weapon on their person; inflicts, attempts to inflict, or threatens to inflict harm on another person; or uses or threatens to use force against another party. Robbery is a more serious crime in Ohio than is theft itself.
Penalties for Theft
The penalties for theft depend on the value of the property that is taken. To be sure, the same section of Ohio code cited above reads on to explain that theft charges are based on how much property is involved in the crime. Consider the following ways in which theft is classified:
- Property valued under $1,000: petty theft
- $1,000 to $7,500: fifth-degree felony
- $7,500 to $150,000: grand theft – fourth-degree felony
- $150,000 to $750,000: aggravated theft – third-degree felony
- $750,000 to $1.5 million: aggravated theft – second-degree felony
- $1.5 million or more: aggravated theft – first-degree felony.
The penalties assessed are then based on the degree of crime committed, ranging from petty theft to first-degree felony charges.
Penalties for petty theft are least severe, and may include a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time not exceeding six months. A fifth-degree felony charge can result in a greater fine–up to $2,500–and a longer jail term–between six months and a year. As the severity of the crime increases, the penalties become more severe. Indeed, a first-degree felony theft charge in Ohio can result in between three and 11 years incarceration and a fine of up to $20,000.
Of course, jail time and fines are not the only potential penalties a person who is convicted of a crime faces. A tarnished reputation, community services, and a lack of future opportunities are all very possible (and likely) too.
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DEFENSES TO THEFT
If you have been charged with theft, it’s important that you understand that being charged does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted of the crime. However, your chances of a favorable outcome are much greater if you understand the potential defenses to theft and which, if any, apply to your case. Some of the most common defenses to theft include:
- Innocence – the theft event never occurred because you did not take the property in question;
- Misunderstanding – you were under the impression that you had the consent of the property owner to use the property;
- No deprivation – you used the property without consent, but had every intention of returning the property;
- Property ownership – you did not commit an act of theft because you are claiming that the property in question is rightfully yours;
- Impairment at the time of the offense – if you can prove that you were unable to understand that you were committing a crime at the time that it occurred, perhaps as a result if intoxication or impairment, then you may be able to mitigate the most severe of consequences.
If trying to secure a verdict of innocent is impossible, there are other options available to you. One option is that of working with the prosecution to secure a plea bargain, where you will plead guilty to the crime, or perhaps a lesser crime, in exchange for some concession from the prosecution, such as reduced charges or a less severe sentence.
DO I NEED A TOLEDO THEFT LAWYER WORKING ON MY CASE?
The decision to hire an attorney is a personal one. That being said, it is your Constitutional right to have legal representation, and working with a lawyer may significantly improve the outcome of your case. At the law offices of Groth & Associates, our Toledo criminal defense and theft lawyers have experience working on theft cases, have long-standing relationships with various parties in the criminal justice system, including police officers, prosecutors, and judges, understand the potential penalties you’re facing, know how to build strong defenses, and are committed to working hard for our clients. We will make sure that your rights are protected throughout the criminal process, that any evidence submitted against you was obtained in a lawful manner, that you understand how to navigate the process and your rights, and that you have the highest-quality legal representation possible.
CALL OUR TOLEDO THEFT ATTORNEYS AT THE OFFICE OF GROTH & ASSOCIATES TODAY
Our Toledo theft lawyers know how much is on the line when you’re facing theft charges in our state. We want you to know that you do not have to navigate these charges on your own – our legal team is here to help you. When you call our law firm, we will immediately start working on your case. Schedule a consultation by calling our law office directly or sending us a message telling us more about how we can assist you.