What constitutes a “Theft Crime?”
Ohio law defines theft as the unauthorized taking of property. Usually, the suspect is believed to have the intention of permanently depriving the owner of that property. Prosecutors must prove several elements to achieve a conviction. It is the job of a criminal defense attorney to try to clear their client of any suspicion.
Skilled legal representation in these cases is critical because the consequences of a conviction can be far-reaching. Ohio bases the consequences of theft crimes on the value of the property involved. For instance, if the stolen property was worth less than $1,000, then the crime may be charged as a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment for a conviction is jail time of no more than 180 days, a fine of less than $1,000 or both.
However, a person who is convicted of a felony in the fourth degree is found guilty of stealing property worth more than $7,500 but less than $150,000. Prison terms of between six to 18 months and fines of less than $5,000 may be the consequences of being found guilty of this crime.
Additionally, it’s possible for the property owner to pursue a civil case against the alleged offender. State law stipulates that the owner should send a letter to the alleged offender, demanding payment for the stolen items. If the amount is not paid within 30 days, then the owner may file a civil lawsuit.
What should you do?
An experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney is the best advocate if you have been accused of theft. The practitioners at Williams, Kratcoski & Can have already defended many clients against such accusations, and they stand ready to assist you as well.
Thefts are relatively broadly defined under Ohio law. Related charges may include burglary, breaking and entering, forgery, embezzlement, and robbery. Being accused of any of these crimes may mean that you are facing even stiffer penalties that could affect your life for years to come. Your best option is to find a skilled defense attorney without delay.
Too many people fail to act quickly when they are accused of a crime. The reality is that time is of the essence in criminal matters. The sooner you hire an attorney to work on your case, the sooner the entire situation can be resolved. This may include an extensive independent investigation by your criminal defense lawyer and sensitive negotiations with the prosecutor’s office. Your attorney will be better able to vigorously defend your rights with adequate time to prepare. Accordingly, it is advisable to seek legal counsel sooner rather than later.
The defense attorneys at Williams, Kratcoski & Can understand all of the options that may be available to people facing criminal charges in Ohio. Even if the situation seems hopeless to you, they may be able to use their experience and comprehensive legal knowledge to provide you with the assistance that you need.
Being convicted of a crime can affect your freedom, your bank account, and your employment opportunities. Contact an attorney today to defend your rights.