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Theft offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude, which means the conduct is dishonest in nature and shows a lack of good morals. Crimes of moral turpitude could have severe repercussions, and negatively affect immigration status, educational opportunities, and employment prospects.
If you are convicted of a theft offense in Columbus, Ohio, you could face additional consequences, including jail time, fines, probation, embarrassment and possible civil penalties. A few of the most common Columbus theft and property offenses are:
If you have been charged with a theft violation in Columbus, Ohio and the surrounding areas of Dublin, Westerville, Reynoldsburg or Lancaster, contact the Joslyn Law Firm. Brian Joslyn of the Joslyn Law Firm is experienced in defending theft crimes, and will make every effort to help you avoid serious penalties and punishments. Call the Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a consultation today.
Ohio does not have specific laws prohibiting shoplifting or larceny, but only has one general law prohibiting theft. However, if a person is suspected of shoplifting, they can be detained by a merchant or employee who suspects they were shoplifting before law enforcement arrives.
According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2935.041, a store merchant, employee, or agent of a merchant, including hired security guards or police officers, can detain someone they believe has committed a theft offense. In order to detain an alleged offender, they must follow certain requirements.
They must have probable cause the items were unlawfully taken. Probable cause is commonly defined as a reasonable and articulable suspicion the alleged offender may have committed the theft offense.
The detention must be within the store or in the immediate vicinity of the store. Although immediate vicinity is somewhat vague and a subjective term, a person cannot follow the alleged offender far away, and detain them somewhere else.
The detention must be made without a search or taking property rightfully belonging to the alleged offender. A search includes the body of the alleged offender, and/or the immediate area surrounding the alleged offender where they could keep a weapon or hide evidence, including a purse or shopping bags.
The detention must be without using undue restraint. Undue restraint is usually subjective and depends on the facts of the situation.
The detention must be in a reasonable manner to cause an arrest by a police officer, to obtain a warrant of arrest, or to recover the items unlawfully taken. A reasonable manner is also a subjective term and depends on the facts of the situation.
The detention must be for a reasonable length of time. A reasonable length of time is usually subjective and depends on the facts of the situation, but several hours is generally not a reasonable length of time.
If you have been detained for an alleged shoplifting offense, your criminal defense attorney will be able to help you identify whether you were detained with undue restraint, in an unreasonable manner or for an unreasonable length of time.
A misdemeanor or felony theft conviction in Ohio can incur hefty fines and jail or prison time, in addition to other penalties including civil penalties, driver’s license suspensions, and/or restitution. Certain penalties may also vary if the offense is committed against an elderly person, the type of offense, and the amount of the property stolen. The Ohio standard sentencing guidelines for theft crimes are below.
A merchant or property owner can recover damages from any person who commits a theft offense against them according to Ohio Rev. Code § 2307.61.
If a merchant wants to pursue civil penalties, they are required to send a demand letter to the alleged offender demanding payment for the value of the items taken plus any other losses sustained. Other losses can include the costs of apprehending the alleged offender and any other damage to the store.
If the alleged offender does not pay the merchant within 30 days, the merchant is entitled to civilly sue the alleged offender for damages. If a merchant sues an alleged offender, they can also recover court costs and legal fees.
Although this option is available to merchants, many times they will send a demand letter and make other threats, but will not ultimately civilly sue an alleged offender. However, it is still important to hire an attorney to present your best defense and avoid this type of penalty.
Kleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous – Kleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous, or CASA, is a national organization providing a community for those suffering from addictive-compulsive behavior, and methods to seek help for their addictions.
National Association for Shoplifting Prevention – The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, or NASP, is a national non-profit organization that attempts to prevent shoplifting by researching shoplifters, discussing shoplifting prevention methods with government officials, and creating shoplifting prevention programs.
Columbus, Ohio Division of Police – The Columbus police department website provides resources on crime information, crime prevention, services provided by the police department, and various forms and publications. The Columbus Police Department (CPD) is located at:CPD
Contact the Joslyn Law Firm today for a consultation about your alleged theft crime in Columbus, Ohio. It is important to hire an experienced Columbus criminal defense attorney who will make every effort to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your situation.
Call the Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a consultation about your theft offense in Franklin County and surrounding counties, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County in Ohio.