Being arrested for shoplifting in a busy Columbus mall or shopping plaza can be a frightening and embarrassing experience. However, it is only the beginning of a long and difficult legal process that you will have to endure in the coming months. If you do not take steps to prevent it, this process may conclude with you being sent to jail or forced to pay a sizable fine.
So, what steps can you take to reduce your chances of being convicted and punished? Well, you can start by hiring an experienced Columbus shoplifting lawyer to help you fight back against your charge. You can find plenty of those right here at Koenig & Owen, LLC.
How a Koenig & Owen, LLC Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You with Your Shoplifting Case
The Columbus criminal lawyers here at Koenig & Owen, LLC are committed to providing high-quality legal services. When you hire us to help you fight back against your shoplifting or theft charge, we will:
Provide You with Sound Legal Advice
As you work your way through your shoplifting case, you will have to make lots of difficult decisions. If you choose wisely, you can potentially improve your odds of achieving a favorable outcome in your case. However, if you make poor decisions, you may make your situation much more precarious.
Having worked on countless criminal cases over the years, our lawyers have come across just about every difficult decision you are likely to encounter in your case. If you get into a tricky situation and aren’t quite sure what to do, we will be on hand to provide you with astute legal advice and guidance.
Negotiate with the Prosecuting Attorney on Your Behalf
In the early stages of your case, there is a good chance that the prosecuting attorney will offer you a plea bargain agreement. In doing so, they may tell you that the deal is non-negotiable. In reality, however, this is rarely the case.
Over the years, the attorneys here at Koenig & Owen, LLC have negotiated countless plea bargain agreements on behalf of our clients. When you enlist our help, we will speak to the prosecutor to find out for sure if there is room for improvement in your deal. If there is, we will work tirelessly to try to make it happen for you.
Represent You in Municipal Court
Shoplifting cases that cannot be resolved through a plea bargain agreement usually end up in one of Ohio’s many municipal courts. There, a judge and jury review the facts of the case and make a ruling on the guilt or innocence of the defendant. If they believe that the suspect is guilty, they will also determine an appropriate punishment.
Our defense attorneys have years of experience representing clients in municipal court. As such, we understand how to make a compelling argument to a judge and jury. When you hire us to help you with your case, you can be confident that you will be well-represented in court.
Would you like to experience the many benefits of working with a Koenig & Owen, LLC defense attorney? If so, please do not hesitate to contact our Columbus, OH law office to set up an initial consultation.
Understanding Ohio Shoplifting Law
Under Ohio state law, offenses which would colloquially be referred to as “shoplifting” are prosecuted under a more general “theft” statute. This offense is outlined in section 2913.02 of the Ohio Revised Code.
According to this statute, an individual may be arrested and charged with theft if they take control of another person’s property or services with the purpose of depriving them:
- By deception
- By threat
- By intimidation
- Without the permission of the owner or one of their representatives
- Beyond the scope of the permission granted
Shoplifting offenses are generally considered to be “taking control of another person’s property by deception.” Thus, anyone who shoplifts at a Franklin County retail establishment may be prosecuted under this statute.
Can Loss Prevention Officers Detain Shoplifting Suspects in Ohio?
Many retailers employ loss prevention officers to reduce the amount of theft that occurs in their stores. But, if one of these officers suspects an individual of shoplifting, are they actually allowed to detain and question them?
In short, the answer is yes. Under Ohio law, loss prevention officers have the power to temporarily detain suspects for a reasonable period of time. During this time, they may interview the suspect and further investigate whether or not an offense occurred.
However, loss prevention officers do have some restrictions on their powers. For instance, they are forbidden from:
- Holding a suspect for longer than necessary
- Moving a suspect to an off-site location
- Using deadly force on a suspect
- Attempting to force a suspect to talk
The lawyers here at Koenig & Owen, LLC are well-versed in all aspects of Ohio criminal law. If you have any additional questions about the Buckeye State’s theft laws or your rights as a shoplifting suspect, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are always ready, willing, and able to provide you with the information you need.
Criminal Punishments for Ohio Shoplifting Convictions
The criminal penalties for petty theft or shoplifting convictions in the state of Ohio are largely dependent on the value of the stolen goods. The more valuable the merchandise, the more severe the punishment is likely to be:
Penalties for the Theft of Goods Valued at Less Than $1,000
In the state of Ohio, the theft of merchandise valued at less than $1,000 is typically classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. It is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or 180 days in jail.
Penalties for the Theft of Goods Valued Between $1,000 and $7,500
Stealing items worth between $1,000 and $7,500 is usually categorized as a fifth-degree felony in Ohio. Individuals who are convicted of such a crime may face up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
Penalties for the Theft of Goods Valued Between $7,500 and $150,000
People who are found guilty of committing this fourth-degree felony can spend up to 18 months in jail. They may also be fined up to $5,000.
Penalties for the Theft of Goods Valued Between $150,000 and $750,000
In Ohio, the theft of property that is worth between $150,000 and $750,000 is a third-degree felony. As such, it is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Penalties for the Theft of Goods Valued Between $750,000 and $1,500,000
Stealing goods that are worth more than $750,000 but less than $1,500,000 is a second-degree felony in the state of Ohio. Offenders can face up to 8 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Penalties for the Theft of Goods Valued at More Than $1,500,000
The theft of property that is valued at more than $1,500,000 is classified as a first-degree felony in the Buckeye State. Anyone who is found guilty of such a criminal offense may be fined up to $20,000 and sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison.
The legal team here at Koenig & Owen, LLC has been aggressively defending Columbus residents against their criminal charges for years. During that time, we have helped countless people avoid being sent to jail or being forced to pay hefty fines. To have us represent you throughout your case, just give us a call and set up a free consultation today.
Other Consequences of Ohio Shoplifting Convictions
Criminal penalties are not the only negative consequence of theft and shoplifting convictions. Individuals who are convicted of such a crime are also likely to find themselves dealing with the following problems and difficulties:
- Trouble Finding Housing: Landlords are often unwilling to rent to individuals who have a criminal record.
- Trouble Finding a Job: Many companies have policies against hiring people who have been convicted of a felony.
- Issues Obtaining Professional Licenses: Professional licensing boards often turn down applicants who have criminal records.
- Issues Obtaining Green Cards and Work Permits: The federal government has strict rules about who may be granted green cards and work permits. Individuals with criminal records are often ineligible to receive these documents.
If you need a criminal defense lawyer to help you try to avoid the negative personal consequences of a shoplifting conviction, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Columbus, Ohio law offices of Koenig & Owen, LLC. We would love to meet with you to discuss your case in greater detail.
A Columbus Shoplifting Lawyer You Can Rely On
When Central Ohio residents need an attorney to help them fight back against their shoplifting charges, they know that there is only one law firm they need to turn to – Koenig & Owen, LLC. Our legal team has the knowledge and experience to handle just about any criminal case. If you would like to have us represent you, just give us a call or contact us online to set up an initial consultation.