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Under Ohio law, there are multiple theft offenses. One of these is petty theft. This type of theft is a misdemeanor (a first-degree misdemeanor) rather than a felony.

When is a theft a petty theft? Here in Ohio, a petty theft is a theft in which less than $1,000 in value was stolen and in which no special circumstances were present that bump a theft up to a felony regardless of the amount stolen. Examples of such special circumstances include: the victim of the theft being in a protected class or the property being stolen being anhydrous ammonia, an assistance dog, a bulk merchandise container, a dangerous drug, dangerous ordnance, a firearm, a motor vehicle, a police horse/dog or a special purpose article.

Now, it would be incorrect to assume that, because petty theft is not a felony, what happens in a case involving petty theft allegations really doesn’t matter that much for the accused. Even a misdemeanor conviction for theft could have significant consequences.

For one, a petty theft conviction can still subject a person to jail time and a fine. Under state law, a jail sentence of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $1000 can be given to a person for petty theft.

Also, having a theft crime on one’s record, even an offense of petty theft, could be looked at very negatively by one’s school or employer, a school one is applying to or a company one is applying with.

So, even at the petty theft level, when accused of a theft crime in Ohio, having quality defense representation can be critical.