Theft is levied against individuals accused of purposefully depriving someone of property without their consent or taking / exerting control over another person's property through deception, threats, or intimidation. Penalties for theft vary widely and are determined based on the circumstances and the value of the goods taken.
For instance, theft of goods whose value is less than $1,000 is commonly known as "petty theft" and is a first degree misdemeanor. Punishment can be as long as six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and restitution to the victim. As the value of goods or property taken rises, so does the seriousness of the charge.
To beat theft and fraud charges in the Cleveland area, you need experienced criminal defense attorneys who understand the case that the prosecution will build and can fight back against it. Call now!
Whatever mistakes you may have made in the past, it's extremely important that the choices you make today reflect your desire to avoid conviction and stay out of jail. First, you need to hire an experienced Cleveland criminal defense attorney who can represent you forcefully and safeguard your interests and rights throughout the legal process. Many people don't understand the seriousness of the charges they're facing and decide to risk it with a public defender or an inexperienced lawyer they may know through friends or family connections.
This may have consequences you'll have to deal with for the rest of your life. Public defenders work hard and provide an admirable service to the community, but they're also overworked and often prefer for their clients to take a plea deal-even when it may not be the best option in your case. If you're convicted of a theft crime, you can face anywhere from 6 months in jail to 10 years in state prison...and be stuck with a misdemeanor or felony record for the rest of your life. Are these the outcomes that you're willing to take a chance on?
At Patituce & Associates, our experienced team of attorneys are also former prosecutors. That means we know how the state will build its case, which evidence it will prioritize, and how it will try to gloss over the weaknesses that every criminal case has. We know how prosecutors think-and, because we're never afraid to go into a courtroom to defend our clients, we know how juries tend to evaluate evidence and arrive at their decisions.
We can provide you with the highest quality legal defense when you are facing charges for stealing. Whatever the specifics, and whatever level the charges, we've defended it and we can help you mount a credible defense that a jury can understand. If you're facing theft charges, let us protect your rights, and fight back for the best outcome possible in your case. We know how prosecutors work, because we've been prosecutors ourselves.
We put our experience to work for you-and our reputation on the line for every client we represent. Call (440) 709-8088 for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.
As a fifth degree felony, theft of goods between $1,000 and $7,500 can put you away for 6 months to 1 year. Penalties for values between $7,500 and $149,000 are fourth degree felonies, with a 12-18 month sentence possible, plus fines and restitution. If the value of goods was between $150,000 and $749,000, you'll be charged with a third degree felony, which could produce a sentence of up to 5 years in prison. $750,000 to $1,500,000 in value will produce a second degree felony charge, and possibly put you in prison for 2-8 years. If you've stolen more than $1.5 million, you will be facing a first degree felony charge and a maximum 10 year sentence.
If you are caught in possession of goods obtained through a theft crime, even if you were not party to the theft, you can be charged with receiving stolen property by Cleveland prosecutors. The state is required to prove that you knew, or had reasonable cause to believe, that the property in question was obtained illegally. This requirement means that an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a big difference in your case.
Cleveland prosecutors will grade a charge of receiving stolen property according to the value of stolen property received, in keeping with the structure of other theft crimes. The lowest grade of the charge, reserved for property worth less than $1,000, is a first degree misdemeanor with a sentence of up 6 months. As the values increase, so will the level of the charges. For stolen property worth between $1,000 and $7,500, you'll be charged with a fifth degree felony and face up to 1 year in prison. For amounts between $7,500 and $150,000, the charge is a fourth degree felony with penalties of up to 18 months in prison. When the property is worth $150,000+, the charge is a third degree felony with a maximum of 5 years in prison if convicted. Certain classes of property can also cause charges to be elevated, such as when the property is a firearm or dangerous drug.
In Ohio theft and fraud cases, a defendant will be charged based on value of the money or goods that are alleged to have been stolen. "Finding of value of stolen property as part of verdict" is a statute that directs judges and juries in Cleveland as to how to find the appropriate value of the stolen goods. This is an extremely dangerous statute for a defendant, because it allows a series of small thefts to tallied together to create an aggregate value-so a misdemeanor offense can easily become a felony under 2913.61. Similarly, if victims are elderly or disabled adults, and theft crimes are committed through one's employment relationship, all instances can be prosecuted together. When you're facing theft charges of any kind in Cleveland, you run the risk of significant jail time and a felony record that can close off opportunities for the rest of your life.
When it comes to theft and fraud prosecutions in Cleveland, one element that the state is required to establish is that a victim did not consent to a transfer of goods. This can be theft through coercion, threats, deception, and various other means that can be prosecuted on their own. In some cases though, theft and fraud is alleged to have been committed in situations where the victim is not legally able to consent.
Under O.R.C. 2913.73, prosecutors can use a state of incapacitation or infirmity on the part of the victim to show that consent could not have been given. O.R.C. 2913.73 can make things harder for a defense team that seeks to show that an alleged victim in fact consented to the situation that has led to the charges. If the prosecution can demonstrate that the victim lacked a capacity to give consent, and especially when the defendant knew about the incapacity, then one avenue of defending yourself in court is closed off.
Regardless of the value of the property, O.R.C. 2913.71 states that theft and receiving stolen property crimes involving certain items are always to be prosecuted as fifth degree felonies, which can lead to a 6-12 month term of incarceration. Specifically, when it involves credit cards, forged checks, stolen motor vehicle license plates, blank forms for certificate of titles for motor vehicles, or blank forms for Ohio drivers licenses, the statute will come into play. When prosecutors find evidence that any of these items were involved, your charges can be elevated. Your future may depend on the quality of your criminal defense lawyer.
Theft, especially at the felony level, is often charged alongside other criminal complaints in Cleveland, including conspiracy and fraud. At any level, a theft conviction will have a substantial negative impact on your future employment prospects, and a felony conviction will make many opportunities and public services unavailable to you. The attorneys at Patituce & Associates can protect your rights and fight for your freedom.
Call (440) 709-8088 for a free consultation with an experienced Cleveland theft defense attorney.