Shoplifting is often considered to be a relatively minor crime. However, those who are convicted of this offense in the state of Ohio can face some severe consequences.
So, if you have recently been accused of stealing goods from a retail establishment, what steps can you take to try to protect yourself from these consequences? Well, you can start by hiring an experienced Cincinnati shoplifting lawyer, like those here at Suhre & Associates, LLC.
How a Suhre & Associates, LLC, Defense Attorney Can Help You Fight Back Against Your Shoplifting Charge
Here at Suhre & Associates, LLC, we believe that all Ohioans should receive a vociferous defense when they are accused of a crime. So, when you ask us to assist you with your shoplifting case, you can expect us to:
Protect Your Constitutional Rights
As a citizen or resident of the United States, you are granted certain rights by the Constitution. When arresting and prosecuting you, the state of Ohio and its representatives are required to respect those rights. Unfortunately, overeager police officers and prosecutors have been known to overstep their bounds from time to time.
When you work with our experienced attorneys, we will be by your side at every stage of your case, making sure the authorities do not cross the line. Should we notice anybody attempt to violate your rights, we will step in and address the issue immediately.
Provide You with Sound Legal Advice and Guidance
Criminal cases in the state of Ohio are filled with difficult situations that are designed to trip defendants up and make it easier for the prosecution to land a conviction. If you would like to improve your chances of achieving a favorable outcome to your case, you will need to consistently make smart decisions when faced with these tricky scenarios.
The lawyers here at Suhre & Associates, LLC, have been working within the Ohio criminal justice system for many years. During that time, we have successfully dealt with just about every difficult situation you are likely to encounter during your shoplifting case. When you work with us, we will provide you with the advice and guidance you need to navigate your case in a smooth and efficient manner.
Negotiate a Plea Bargain Deal with the Prosecuting Attorney
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, the best way to resolve your shoplifting case may be through a plea bargain agreement. Of course, it is rarely wise to accept the first offer that the prosecutor puts on the table. It almost always makes more sense to spend some time negotiating the terms of the deal first.
Our legal team has been negotiating plea bargain agreements with Ohio prosecutors for years. As such, we understand how to persuade them to offer more lenient terms. When you hire us, we will work tirelessly to try to land you a favorable deal.
At Suhre & Associates, LLC, we are proud to represent clients from throughout Southwest Ohio as they fight to clear their names. So, whether you need assistance with a DUI defense or a shoplifting defense, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We are always ready, willing, and able to help.
Defining Shoplifting Under Ohio Law
The state of Ohio does not have a law on its books that explicitly and exclusively deals with the crime of shoplifting. As such, most people that steal items from retail establishments are prosecuted under section 2913.02 of the Ohio Revised Code – the state’s theft statute.
This law explains that an individual may be charged with theft if they knowingly obtain or exert control over another person’s property, with the purpose of depriving them of its use, in any of the following ways:
- Without the consent of the owner or one of their representatives
- Beyond the scope of the consent granted by the owner or their representative
- By deception
- By threat
- By intimidation
In the vast majority of cases, the state of Ohio classifies shoplifting as a misdemeanor of the first degree. However, if the value of the stolen property is greater than $1,000, this offense can be upgraded to a felony. The state can also punish shoplifting as a felony if the stolen item is a gun.
The Legality of Detaining Suspected Shoplifters in Ohio
According to section 2935.041 of the Ohio Revised Code, shopkeepers and store security guards are within their rights to apprehend and detain suspected shoplifters until the police arrive. Should they choose to do so, however, they must adhere to the following requirements:
- They must have probable cause that the suspect committed theft in their store.
- The detention must take place on store property or in its immediate vicinity. It is unlawful to take a suspect to an off-site location.
- The detention must take place without using undue restraint.
- The detention must take place without searching the suspect or taking their rightfully-owned property.
- The detention must be for a reasonable length of time. It is unlawful to hold a suspect for an indefinite period of time.
The criminal defense attorneys here at Suhre & Associates, LLC, are experts in all facets of Ohio theft and shoplifting law. If you have been accused of stealing from a retail establishment in Hamilton County, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to help you fight back against your criminal charge.
Consequences of an Ohio Shoplifting Conviction
The state of Ohio does not look kindly upon the theft of goods from retail establishments. As such, individuals who have been convicted of shoplifting in the Buckeye State can face three distinct types of consequences – criminal, civil, and collateral:
Criminal Consequences of Ohio Shoplifting Convictions
The criminal penalties faced by individuals who are found guilty of shoplifting in Ohio are largely determined by the value and nature of the stolen goods.
Thefts of items worth less than $1,000 are typically classified as misdemeanors of the first degree. The punishments for offenses of this nature include fines of up to $1,000 and jail sentences of up to 180 days.
Those who steal goods that are valued between $1,000 and $150,000 may be convicted of a felony of the fourth or fifth degree. The penalties for these types of felonies can include fines of up to $5,000 and as long as 18 months in prison.
The state of Ohio classifies the theft of firearms and the theft of goods valued at $150,000 to $750,000 as a felony of the third degree. The punishments for third-degree felonies include fines of up to $10,000 and up to 5 years in prison.
Civil Consequences of Ohio Shoplifting Convictions
Section 2307.61 of the Ohio Revised Code grants retailers the right to recover damages from individuals who are convicted of stealing from their store. Their compensation can include the value of the stolen items, the cost of apprehending the suspect, and the cost of repairing any damage to the store.
When a convicted shoplifter receives a demand letter from a retailer, state law grants them 30 days to remit appropriate payment. Should they fail to do so, the retailer may sue them in civil court. There, they may recover court costs and legal fees in addition to their other damages.
Collateral Consequences of Ohio Shoplifting Convictions
Individuals who are convicted of shoplifting in Ohio are generally given a permanent criminal record to go along with the fines, jail/prison time, and civil penalties. Their record can cause them to endure several collateral consequences, such as:
- Difficulty renting an apartment
- Difficulty landing a job
- Loss of gun ownership rights
- Difficulty obtaining student loans
- Immigration issues
The defense lawyers here at Suhre & Associates, LLC, understand how frightening the consequences of a shoplifting conviction can be. That is why we fight so tirelessly to try to help our clients avoid them. To learn more about our legal services, just pick up the phone and arrange a free consultation at our Cincinnati, OH, law offices.
Defenses Against Ohio Shoplifting Charges
With the help of a well-thought-out defense strategy, people who have been accused of shoplifting in Ohio may be able to get their charges dropped or reduced. The following strategies tend to be particularly effective:
- Lack of Intent: If an attorney can show that their client was merely holding an item, and did not intend to steal it, they may be able to get their shoplifting charge dismissed.
- Lack of Evidence: When a defense lawyer can successfully argue that the prosecution has not met their burden of proof, they can usually get their client’s case thrown out.
- Overvalued Item: If an attorney can prove that the stolen item is worth less than the prosecution claims, they might be able to get their client’s charge reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Over the years, the criminal justice attorneys here at Suhre & Associates, LLC, in Cincinnati, have developed countless defense strategies for clients charged with everything from domestic violence to grand theft. If you would like to have us use our legal experience to defend you against your shoplifting charge, please reach out to us as soon as possible.
Your Experienced Cincinnati Shoplifting Lawyer
If you need an attorney in Cincinnati to help you fight back against a shoplifting charge, there is only one law firm you need to turn to – Suhre & Associates, LLC. We have been defending clients charged with theft crimes for many years, and have achieved countless favorable results along the way. To set up a free consultation with a member of our team, just give us a call or contact us online.