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"Brian Joslyn is an Award-Winning Criminal and DUI Defense attorney who, along with his team at The Joslyn Law Firm, have handled hundreds of criminal cases and helping their clients obtain the best results possible."

Theft Crimes Lawyer

In Cincinnati, Hamilton County, and throughout Ohio, the law recognizes two different forms of crimes relating to another party’s property. While property crimes involve trespassing or damaging another party’s property, theft offenses involve the unlawful taking of property. 

A person who is charged with a theft crime in Cincinnati faces serious consequences if convicted. If you are being investigated or have been arrested or charged with a theft crime, strongly consider hiring a lawyer from Joslyn Law Firm.

Joslyn Law Firm has handled the criminal defense of more than 15,000 cases to date. Brian Joslyn has lent his deep and extensive knowledge of criminal law to journalists and has been recognized by ABC, NBC, FOX, WBNS, The Plain Dealer, and The Columbus Dispatch.

Many of our clients are referred to us by journalists, other attorneys, and previous clients—a true testament to the reputation we have earned in the area of criminal defense.

Attorneys for Theft Crimes in Cincinnati, Ohio

Depending on the specific circumstances of the alleged crimes, theft offenses may be classified as misdemeanors or felonies and can result in incarceration, fines, and collateral consequences that could affect your ability to work.

Joslyn Law Firm’s team of theft crime lawyers understands the tactics that law enforcement and prosecutors may use to charge, prosecute, and convict you. We can build you a defense strategy that will speak to the facts of your case—and the case that investigators and prosecutors have built against you. No matter what types of charges you are facing, we can fight for the most favorable possible outcome to your case.

Brian Joslyn was named one of Ohio’s “Top Lawyers” by Columbus CEO Magazine in 2015 and was selected as a Rising Star by the prestigious Super Lawyers. At Joslyn Law firm, he and his team defend a broad range of clients in the greater Cincinnati area who have been accused of different types of theft or property offenses.

Call Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289 for a free review with a member of our team.



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Overview of Theft Crimes in Cincinnati

There are several classes of theft offenses listed in Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02, including:

  • Petty Theft — If the value of the property or services stolen is less than $1,000, this is a first-degree misdemeanor.
  • Theft — If the value of the property or services stolen is $1,000 or more but less than $7,500, this offense is a fifth-degree felony.
  • Grand Theft — If the value of the property or services stolen is $7,500 or more but less than $150,000, this offense is a fourth-degree felony.
  • Aggravated Theft – If the value of the property or services stolen is $150,000 or more but less than $750,000, this offense is a third-degree felony. If the value of the property or services stolen is $750,000 or more but less than $1,500,000, this offense is a second-degree felony. If the value of the property or services stolen is $1,500,000, this offense is a first-degree felony.

Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02 also lists enhanced penalties if the victim of the offense was an elderly person, disabled adult, active duty service member, or spouse of an active duty service member. The felony classification depends on the value of the property stolen:

  • Fifth-Degree Felony — If value of the property or services stolen is less than $1,000.
  • Fourth-Degree Felony — If value of the property or services stolen is $1,000 or more but less than $7,500.
  • Third-Degree Felony — If value of the property or services stolen is $7,500 or more but less than $37,500.
  • Second-Degree Felony — If value of the property or services stolen is $37,500 or more but less than $150,000.
  • First-Degree Felony — If value of the property or services stolen is $150,000 or more.

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Specific Theft Crimes in Cincinnati

There are also different charges under Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02 for specific types of property: 

  • Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02(B)(4) — If the property stolen is a firearm or dangerous ordnance, this offense is classified as grand theft and is a third-degree felony. If the firearm or dangerous ordnance was stolen from a federally licensed firearms dealer, this offense is a first-degree felony.
  • Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02(B)(5) — If the property stolen is a motor vehicle, this offense is classified as grand theft of a motor vehicle and is a fourth-degree felony.
  • Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02(B)(6) — If the property stolen is any dangerous drug, this offense is classified as theft of drugs and is a fourth-degree felony. If the alleged offender has been previously convicted of a felony drug abuse offense, this is a third-degree felony.
  • Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02(B)(7) — If the property stolen is a police dog or horse or an assistance dog and the offender knows or should know that the property stolen is a police dog or horse or an assistance dog, this offense is classified as theft of a police dog or horse or an assistance dog and is a third-degree felony.
  • Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02(B)(8) — If the property stolen is anhydrous ammonia, this offense is classified as theft of anhydrous ammonia and is a third-degree felony.
  • Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02(B)(10) — If the property stolen is gasoline from an establishment at which gasoline is offered for retail sale, the alleged offender’s driver’s license may be suspended for up to six months. If the alleged offender’s driver’s license has been previously suspended for this violation, then his or her license will be suspended for at least six months and up to one year.

 


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Other Ohio Theft Crimes

Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02 lists several classes of theft offenses, including:

  • Petty Theft: If the value of the property or services stolen is less than $1,000, this is a first-degree misdemeanor.
  • Theft: If the value of the property or services stolen is $1,000 or more but less than $7,500, this offense is a fifth-degree felony.
  • Grand Theft:If the value of the property or services stolen is $7,500 or more but less than $150,000, this offense is a fourth-degree felony.
  • Aggravated Theft: If the value of the property or services stolen is $150,000 or more but less than $750,000, this offense is a third-degree felony. If the value of the property or services stolen is $750,000 or more but less than $1,500,000, this offense is a second-degree felony. If the value of the property or services stolen is $1,500,000, this offense is a first-degree felony. 

Elevated Charges with Certain Types of Victims

 Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02 also specifies that when a theft offense involves certain types of victims, charges can be elevated, resulting in harsher penalties. These protected classes of victims include the elderly or disabled, active-duty service members, and spouses of active-duty service members. The felony classification depends on the value of the property stolen: 

  • Fifth-Degree Felony: If the value of the property or services stolen is less than $1,000.
  • Fourth-Degree Felony: If the value of the property or services stolen is $1,000 or more but less than $7,500.
  • Third-Degree Felony: If the value of the property or services stolen is $7,500 or more but less than $37,500.
  • Second-Degree Felony: If the value of the property or services stolen is $37,500 or more but less than $150,000.
  • First-Degree Felony: If the value of the property or services stolen is $150,000 or more.

Theft Crimes for Specific Types of Property in Cincinnati

There are also different charges under Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02 for specific types of property: 

  • Grand Theft: “If the property stolen is a firearm or dangerous ordnance,” this offense is classified as grand theft and is a third-degree felony. “If the firearm or dangerous ordnance was stolen from a federally licensed firearms dealer,” this offense is a first-degree felony.
  • Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle: “If the property stolen is a motor vehicle,” this offense is classified as grand theft of a motor vehicle and is a fourth-degree felony.
  • Theft of Drugs: “If the property stolen is any dangerous drug,” this offense is classified as theft of drugs and is a fourth-degree felony. If the alleged offender has been previously convicted of a felony drug abuse offense, this is a third-degree felony.
  • Theft of a Police Dog or Horse or an Assistance Dog: “If the property stolen is a police dog or horse or an assistance dog and the offender knows or should know that the property stolen is a police dog or horse or an assistance dog,” this offense is classified as theft of a police dog or horse or an assistance dog and is a third-degree felony.
  • Theft of Anhydrous Ammonia: “If the property stolen is anhydrous ammonia,” this offense is classified as theft of anhydrous ammonia and is a third-degree felony.

Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle

Ohio Revised Code § 2913.03 deals with alleged criminal acts such as car theft, joyriding, or failing to return a rental car. Under Ohio law, the charges for this type of offense include the following:

  • First-Degree Misdemeanor: If a person knowingly uses or operates “an aircraft, motor vehicle, motorcycle, motorboat, or other motor-propelled vehicle without the consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent.”
  • Fifth-Degree Felony: If a person knowingly uses or operates “an aircraft, motor vehicle, motorcycle, motorboat, or other motor-propelled vehicle without the consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent,” and either removes it from the state or keeps possession of it for more than 48 hours. Or if the victim of the offense is an elderly person or disabled adult and the victim incurs a loss of less than $1,000 as a result of the violation.
  • Fourth-Degree Felony: If the victim of the offense is an elderly person or disabled adult and the victim incurs a loss of $1,000 or more but less than $7,500 as a result of the violation.
  • Third-Degree Felony: If the victim of the offense is an elderly person or disabled adult and the victim incurs a loss of $7,500 or more but less than $37,500 as a result of the violation.
  • Second-Degree Felony: If the victim of the offense is an elderly person or disabled adult and the victim incurs a loss of $37,500 or more as a result of the violation. 

Receiving Stolen Property

Ohio Revised Code § 2913.51 addresses people who have allegedly disposed of, retained, or received another party’s property knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the property was stolen. Possible charges for this type of theft include:

  • First-Degree Misdemeanor: If the value of the property involved is less than $1,000.
  • Fifth-Degree Felony: If the value of the property involved is $1,000 or more but less than $7,500 or the property is a type listed in Ohio Revised Code § 2913.71, regardless of value.
  • Fourth-Degree Felony: If the value of the property involved is $7,500 or more but less than $150,000, or if the property involved is a motor vehicle as defined in Ohio Revised Code § 4501.01, a dangerous drug as defined in Ohio Revised Code § 4729.01, or a firearm or dangerous ordnance as defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2923.11.
  • Third-Degree Felony: If the value of the property involved is $150,000 or more.

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Penalties for Theft Crimes in Ohio

The penalties for theft crimes in Cincinnati are determined by how a given offense is charged, as indicated in the previous section. 

Ohio’s penalties for criminal charges are as follows:

Felony Theft Penalties

  • First-Degree Felony: Three to 11 years in prison; $20,000 maximum fine.
  • Second-Degree Felony: Two to eight years in prison; $15,000 maximum fine.
  • Third-Degree Felony: 12-60 months or nine to 36 months in prison; $10,000 maximum fine.
  • Fourth-Degree Felony: Six to 18 months in prison; $5,000 maximum fine.
  • Fifth-Degree Felony: Six to 12 months in prison; $2,500 maximum fine.

Misdemeanor Theft Penalties 

  • First-Degree Misdemeanor: 180 days maximum jail time; $1,000 maximum fine.
  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor: 90 days maximum jail time; $750 maximum fine.
  • Third-Degree Misdemeanor: 60 days maximum jail time; $500 maximum fine.
  • Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor: 30 days maximum jail time; $250 maximum fine.
  • Minor Misdemeanor: no jail time; $150 maximum fine.

Additional Penalties for Certain Theft Crime Circumstances

Furthermore, if a theft offense involves an elderly victim, the offender will be required to pay not only the prescribed penalty but also full restitution to the victim—on top of a fine of as much as $50,000.

If the theft offense involves not paying for gasoline from an establishment at which gasoline is offered for retail sale, the alleged offender’s driver’s license may be suspended for up to six months. If the alleged offender’s driver’s license has been previously suspended for this violation, then his or her license will be suspended for at least six months and up to one year.

If the theft involved stealing a rental car or another type of rented property or service, the offender could have to pay restitution for the repair or replacement of the property, as well as any lost revenue from the property not being rented because of the theft. The Supreme Court of Ohio offers a quick rundown of restitution in adult courts for this and other crimes.


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Defenses for Theft Crimes in Hamilton County

A Cincinnati theft defense lawyer from Joslyn Law Firm can draw from several possible defenses when representing a person accused of this type of offense. The appropriate defense strategy in your case depends on the details of your case and the offense you have been charged with.

Entrapment

With this defense, our lawyers can concede to the fact that you took property that did not belong to you but that you only committed the offense because someone (usually a police officer) tricked you or influenced your actions so they could prosecute you.

In order for an entrapment offense to be effective, we will need to convince a court that not only were you induced to commit the act of theft but also that this influence caused you to behave in a way that was contrary to your nature. You can review entrapment details available on the website of the Office of the Ohio Public Defender.

Ownership/Claim of Right

In some cases, our lawyers can present to the court that you did take the property in question, but you only did so because you believed the property belonged to you or that you had a rightful claim to the property.

Our legal team knows that the court will not just take your word for this defense. We know what types of evidence may work to convince a court that you took the property in good faith because you thought it was yours.

Intoxication

The idea behind an intoxication defense is to chip away at the premise of intent. In other words, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, our lawyers might strive to establish that you were incapable of developing the required element of intent—and that your alleged “theft” of property can be attributed to some other reason, such as your confusing the property for your own property.

Authorized Use

In the case of a grand theft/unauthorized use offense, our attorneys might gather evidence to convince a court that you were authorized to use the property that you are accused of stealing. Alternatively, in the right set of circumstances, we can argue that you believed you were authorized to use the property—even if the facts show no such authorization had been granted.

Mistake/Lack of Criminal Intent

In the most straightforward of “intent”-related defenses, the facts of your case might enable our lawyers to argue a lack of intent—that you inadvertently walked out of the store without clearing the bottom tier of the grocery cart, for example.

Our legal team knows how to present a case in a compelling way that may convince a jury of your lack of intent and, therefore, the prosecution’s failure to prove all the elements of a theft charge.


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Evidence in a Cincinnati Theft Case

Always remember that in any court of law in the U.S., a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. This means you do not have to prove your innocence. Rather, the prosecution carries the burden of proof of your guilt.

As your attorneys, we can raise questions about the evidence the prosecution presents. We have many ways we can try to suppress key evidence without which the prosecution may fail to prove your guilt.

Types of Evidence That Might Be Thrown Out

Examples of situations in which a judge might agree to throw out evidence include:

  • If your Fourth Amendment rights were violated, resulting in an unlawful search and seizure
  • If you were not properly Mirandized, meaning you gave statements to law enforcement without understanding that those statements would be used against you in a court of law
  • If you were denied legal counsel 

For any evidence that is thrown out, additional evidence that would not have surfaced were it not for the unlawful evidence may be similarly suppressed. By strategically targeting the prosecution’s evidence, our lawyers might be able to systematically unravel the case against you. 


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Resources for Theft Crimes in Cincinnati

Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02

This section of Ohio’s Review Code details the state’s laws regarding theft offenses. This page gives you everything you need to understand how the state defines theft—both generally and by specific type of theft.

You can also read about the charges associated with each type of theft offense. Because the text is hyperlinked, you can jump to various aspects of the Ohio Revised Code that connect with your case, giving you a broad view of what you can expect with regard to the offense of which you have been accused.

Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)

The OVC is a division of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs. Ohio victims of theft can visit this site to learn about victim assistance and compensation programs, as well as to understand the performance measures for these programs. They can also read about upcoming events, current awards, and other state-specific information.

Case Account of State v. Pettus, Court News Ohio

This summary of a 2017 Supreme Court opinion explains how the conviction of Lashawn Pettus was upheld.

Pettus was convicted of passing multiple fraudulent checks at the same financial institution. In his appeal to a First District Court of Appeals, Pettus argued that the misdemeanor thefts could not be combined into a single felony charge.

The First District Court of Appeals denied this argument and upheld the felony conviction. The Ohio Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling, explaining that Ohio Revised Code § 2913.61 pertains to thefts committed against any victim (not just the elderly, disabled, and military families). As such, Pettus could be subject to a greater penalty for committing multiple thefts against one bank.

Mapp v. Ohio Opinion of the Court, Library of Congress

This landmark 1961 case ended with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that applied the exclusionary rule to not only the federal government but also to states. The exclusionary rule bars evidence that was unlawfully obtained via Fourth Amendment (unlawful search and seizure) violations.

Prior to this decision, courts applied the exclusionary rule only to unlawful searches and seizures involving federal officers.

The Bill of Rights, National Archives

Every U.S. citizen should spend at least a few minutes reviewing and grasping their Constitutional rights as afforded by the first 10 Amendments (also known as The Bill of Rights). 

As someone who is being investigated or has been accused of or charged with a crime, you should strongly consider immersing yourself in this document. Several of these amendments—in particular, the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Amendments—offer protections to individuals who have been accused of crimes.

Violations of your rights as outlined by the U.S. Constitution can serve as grounds for suppressing evidence and can in some cases lead to dismissal of a case or reduction of charges or penalties.


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News About Theft Crimes in Hamilton County

March 19, 2021

“St. Bernard Police Said Cruiser Struck by Another Stolen Car During Car Theft Search”

An investigation is underway after a 14-year-old juvenile driving a stolen car crashed into a police cruiser, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer. At the time of the collision, police in the cruiser were searching for another reported stolen car. The officers found that the juvenile driver was carrying a firearm. The accident, which occurred around 10:30 pm, caused no injuries but totaled the police vehicle.

March 17, 2021

“Police: Gas Station Clerk Stabbed Trying to Stop Shoplifter in Pierce Township”

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that a shoplifting incident in Pierce Township evolved into much more serious offenses, resulting in John Hale being charged with aggravated robbery and felonious assault.

A Sunoco gas station clerk chased Hale across the street after he allegedly shoplifted from the store. Hale allegedly stabbed the clerk in the chest and sliced him across the throat, but the stabbing was not captured on the store’s surveillance cameras.

The clerk was treated at Clermont Mercy Hospital and has been released. Hale is in the Clermont County Jail. Police continue to investigate the incident.

March 4, 2021

“Housekeeper Charged for Stealing West Side Couple’s Heirloom Jewelry, Police Say”

Delhi Township Police reported that a housekeeper from Northern Kentucky stands accused of stealing jewelry from a couple’s home over the span of several months, according to FOX19 NOW. 

When the couple began to notice a large number of jewelry pieces had gone missing, they called the police. The cleaning woman, Farrah Welch, had worked for the couple for nine months before suddenly quitting.

Allegedly, Welch sold the stolen jewelry to a pawn shop in Florence, Kentucky. The value of the stolen pieces exceeds $50,000. Welch was arrested in Kentucky and now faces three theft charges as she waits in the Hamilton County Justice Center.

February 26, 2021

“Woman Pleads Guilty to Theft After Embezzling from Business, Court Docs Say”

FOX19 NOW staff report that Kimberly McCullah pled guilty to theft charges after reportedly embezzling more than $150,000 from her employer, Oak Hills Carton Company. The former office manager admitted to altering the company’s payroll system to pay herself bonuses and additional pay. 

McCullah was indicted by a Hamilton County Grand Jury and was sentenced to 180 days in jail. In addition to her incarceration, the court ordered the defendant to pay back her former employer $12,000. After finishing her jail term, McCullah will be on probation for three years.

February 22, 2021

“Juvenile Arrested, 2 at Large in Sycamore Twp Carjacking”

An armed carjacking in Sycamore Township led to a teen being arrested and charged with theft of a motor vehicle and aggravated robbery, according to this article by FOX19 NOW staff.

According to police reports, three males approached a juvenile as he entered his car. One of the approaching males brandished his handgun and ordered the juvenile to turn over his car. The victim complied, and the suspects got in the car and drove away.

Cincinnati police found the three suspects in the stolen vehicle around 90 minutes later. The suspects tried to escape, and a chase followed, resulting in the apprehension of one suspect, a teen, who was then taken to the Hamilton County Youth Detention Center. The investigation continues.


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FAQs About Theft Crimes in Ohio

Q: What Are the Defenses to Theft in Cincinnati?

A: Depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense, a theft defense lawyer from our firm can raise any of several defenses, including:

  • Duress
  • Lack of criminal intent
  • Ownership/claim of right
  • Entrapment
  • Violation of civil rights

Q: What Amount of Theft Is a Felony in Ohio?

A:  For theft to be charged as a felony in Ohio, the value of the stolen property must be at least $1,000 but less than $7,500. However, exceptions do apply, and lesser-valued stolen property can prompt a felony charge if victims belong to a protected class.

If the theft victim belongs to a protected class (elderly, military family, or disabled), theft of property valued at less than $1,000 may be charged as a felony. Furthermore, if the stolen property is a negotiable instrument, like a credit card, the theft may constitute a felony.

Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations on Theft in Cincinnati?

A: According to Ohio Revised Code § 2901.13, the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor theft offense in Cincinnati is two years, while the statute of limitations for a felony theft offense is six years. For a minor misdemeanor theft offense, the statute of limitations is just six months.

After this period of time, the government cannot charge you with a theft offense. If prosecutors try to charge you for theft after the statute has expired, your case will most likely be dismissed.

Q: How Are Theft Offenses Classified in Ohio?

A: Ohio laws classify theft offenses according to three criteria:

  • The value of the allegedly stolen property
  • The type of property
  • Whether the victim of the alleged theft was elderly, a member of active-duty military or their spouse, or disabled.

Q: What Is Considered Petty Theft in Ohio?

A: Petty theft happens when the stolen property is valued at less than $1,000. This offense may be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor with penalties of up to a $1,000 fine and/or a maximum jail term of 180 days.


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A Cincinnati Theft Crimes Lawyer from Joslyn Law Firm Can Defend You

Joslyn Law Firm understands the profound implications that a criminal conviction can have on a person’s life, and we will fight to obtain a favorable resolution to your case. We can investigate your case to determine if defenses like duress, justification, necessity, renunciation, or a simple lack of criminal intent may absolve you of wrongdoing.

Our firm offers a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and help you understand your legal options. Call (513) 399-6289 right now to see how we can help.


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