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Minor theft can have major consequences

Petty theft crimes shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, committing this crime can result in consequences that are more serious than you might think.

 

What counts as petty theft?

Ohio state law classifies any act of stealing property under $1,000 as petty theft. This could include stealing someone’s personal property, shoplifting or committing a “dine-and-dash.”

How can a petty theft charge affect me?

Petty theft crimes are considered a misdemeanor of the first degree. Penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor can include:

  • Jail time of up to 180 days
  • Fines up to $1000
  • Restitution payments
  • Probation, community service or house arrest
  • A combination of all of the above

Penalties can increase in severity depending on the value of the item stolen and whether the crime is a repeat offense. Repeat offenses can lead to a more permanent criminal record. In cases of young adults or college-aged students, a criminal record can even hurt your academic goals and privileges.

What if I’m a first-time offender?

A common alternative for offenders is a diversion program. A judge may offer these programs to qualifying first-time offenders. The purpose of a diversion program is to rehabilitate the behavior of the offender so they don’t repeat the crime or establish a criminal record. The program may require the offender to complete community service, pay fines or enter a rehabilitation course.

A petty theft crime can be costly. Don’t let this charge limit your future. Working with a criminal defense attorney can help you negotiate the best outcome possible.

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