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What are the penalties for theft charges in Ohio?

There's nothing petty about petty theft. Or any theft in Ohio, no matter what it's called. The state has several classifications of theft when it comes to legal charges -- with petty theft being the least serious and first-degree felony theft being the most serious. Whether you're charged with the theft of a blank canvas and a box of paints or with the theft of an expensive work of art, you could be facing jail time if a conviction occurs.

So just how is theft classified in Ohio? And what is the sentence if you're convicted? Here's a primer:

Petty theft: The value of stolen property is less than $1,000. It generally is a first-degree misdemeanor with jail time of up to 180 days and fines not exceeding $1,000.

Theft: The value of stolen property is between $1,000 and $7,500. It's a fifth-degree felony with jail time of six to 12 months and fines up to $2,500.

Grand theft: Stolen property or services valued between $7,500 and $150,000. It's a fourth-degree felony with a prison term of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $5,000.

Aggravated theft: If the value of the property or services is between:

  • $150,000 and $750,000, it's a third-degree felony with a prison term of up to 36 months and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • $750,000 to $1.5 million, it's a second-degree felony with a prison term of two to eight years and a fine not to exceed $15,000.
  • $1.5 million or more, it's a first-degree felony. The prison term is three to 11 years with a fine up to $20,000.

As you can see, being charged with theft at any level is serious. You'll want to defend yourself vigorously.

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