Shoplifting is a term that is seemly lax in society. When you think of this criminal activity, innocent scenarios might come to mind: like a 6-year-old boy sticking a lollipop into his pocket at the gas station, or a teenage girl walking out of a department store with a pair of earrings.

According to Ohio law, shoplifting is theft and punished as so. Theft laws enforce punishments such as jail time, fines and full repayment of damages. From this perspective, shoplifting no longer seems like such a frivolous crime.

Penalties of shoplifting

Shoplifting is a violation of the law. Penalties and sentencing depend on the property value of what was damaged or stolen. Property value under $1,000 is considered a misdemeanor, with up to 180 days in jail and/or fines up to $1,000. Punishment increases with the value. The most severe case is aggravated theft, which happens if the property value is $1.5K or more, with a penalty of 3 to 10 years in jail and up to $200,000 in fines. Different types of crime include:

  • Petty theft
  • Grand Theft
  • Larceny
  • Fraud

If you find yourself in a situation where you are being convicted of shoplifting, consider different options before pleading guilty:

Alternative program

Typically, theft is a non-violent offense. The Ohio courts consider diversion programs for individuals who are unlikely to repeat their crime. Instead of jail time, you complete the program under varying degrees of supervision.

In the diversion contract, you may be required to:

  • Attend classes
  • Do community service
  • Pay restitution
  • Pay fines

No criminal record is the biggest benefit to the Ohio diversion program. This situation is if you have no prior criminal record. You may still qualify if charged with a non-violent crime.

The diversion program is not always available to everyone. If you face a theft charge, it is possible to defend your case in court.