Cleveland Theft Crime Lawyer

Theft crimes are not uncommon in the state of Ohio. In addition to heavy fines and jail time, being charged with theft can affect your reputation, livelihood, and even future employment opportunities. That is why it is always advisable to seek proper representation when fighting the case. At Patituce & Associates, we have years of experience defending individuals who have been charged with crimes.

Our Cleveland theft crime lawyers will work hard to challenge the evidence presented against you and come up with a strategy to have the charges dismissed or reduced. Simply being charged with theft does not make you guilty. The prosecutor is expected to show beyond reasonable doubt that you had the intent to steal, the property didn’t belong to you, and that you were the one responsible for the theft.

Theft cases in Ohio move fast and so, it is important to seek a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Call our offices at 440-471-7784 to get started!

Table of Contents

What Is Considered Theft Under Ohio Law?

Theft crimes language can sometimes be confusing. For example, you may come across terms like robbery and theft being used interchangeably. However, they do not mean the same thing.

Many individuals think of burglary, but one can be guilty of burglary without intending or actually stealing anything. While it is common to think of theft in terms of money or objects, you can also be charged with stealing services.

When telling a story to a friend, the terminology does not really matter. However, if you or a loved one has been charged with theft, it is imperative to know the difference between petty theft, grand theft, burglary, robbery, etc. That said, what is considered theft under Ohio law?

Ohio law defines theft as the act of purposefully obtaining or exerting control over property or services with the intention of depriving the owner of that property or those services. Theft occurs when someone obtains and controls another person’s property or services:

  • Through deception
  • By threat
  • By Intimidation
  • Without the consent of the owner
  • Beyond the scope of the consent implied or obtained.

Whether a theft crime is a misdemeanor or a felony, the degree and possible penalties depend on an array of factors. Generally, a misdemeanor is when a person is charged with stealing property or services not exceeding $1,000 in value. When it is greater than this amount, the charge is considered a felony and carries a more severe punishment.

Theft can also be considered a felony under certain circumstances:

  • The property stolen is a vehicle
  • The property stolen is a firearm
  • The victim is an active member of active duty service, a senior or a disabled individual
  • The property stolen is a credit card
  • The property stolen is a dangerous drug

As such, cases that one may not deem as a substantial theft offense, like taking a $10 Gift Card or stealing a prescribed pill from a senior may lead to a felony theft charge.

How Is Shoplifting Prosecuted?

Typically, shoplifting in Ohio is the unauthorized removal of products from a store without paying for them. While you can be charged with the intent to steal and furtherance of that intent, leaving the store with unpaid products is primarily the way to be charged with shoplifting.

It is prosecuted as a theft or larceny offense, often as a misdemeanor or petty theft.

What Are the Classifications of Theft in Ohio?

In the state of Ohio, theft can be classified into two main categories: Petty Theft and Felony Theft. For a theft crime to be considered petty, the value of the stolen property should be less than $1000. As for the crime to be considered a felony, the stolen property must be worth at least $1000.

Examples of theft-related crimes in the state of Ohio include:


While most people deem describe theft in terms such as “getting robbed,” robbery has a specific definition in Ohio law. Ohio Revised Code §2911.02 defines robbery as any theft where:

  • The defendant has a deadly weapon under their control or on them.
  • The defendant attempts to inflict physical harm on the victim.
  • The thief threatens to use force to control the victim.

A robbery can be considered a 1st or 2nd-degree felony, with a prison sentence of up to 8 years. Keep in mind that the thief does not need to use or threaten another party with a weapon to be charged with robbery.

Just carrying a weapon or having it under their control is enough. When the weapon is used to inflict harm during a robbery, the charge can be elevated to the ‘aggravated’ level, which comes with more severe penalties.

A person arrested who needs to call our Cleveland theft crime lawyers


While we usually think of someone breaking into a house and stealing valuable items when no one is around, burglary is not necessarily a theft crime. An individual can be charged with burglary if they trespass by deception, stealth, or force in an occupied property with the intent of committing a crime within the premises.

Simply put, anyone who breaks in, forces their way in, tricks someone to allow them into the building, or sneaks in with the aim to commit a crime can be charged with burglary. This applies no matter the nature of the crime they intend or have already committed

Burglary can be classified as a 2nd or 3rd-degree felony, with an aggravated status if the party used a weapon or inflicted harm during the crime.

Car Theft

This involves stealing or attempting to steal a vehicle. This includes motorcycles, trucks, buses, automobiles, etc.


Fraud involves convincing a person to surrender their property or money under false pretenses. It is a type of white-collar crime and does not involve violence.


This involves the stealing of assets by an individual who has been trusted to keep them safe. Embezzlement usually happens in corporate and employment settings.

Receiving Stolen Property

In the state of Ohio, it is illegal for a party to receive, conceal, purchase or sell property that they are aware was stolen.


This is a crime involving stealing merchandise from a retail establishment. This is a common crime in Ohio and it is punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and up to 6 months in jail.

What Are the Levels of Larceny in Ohio?

There are two primary forms of larceny. One occurs when a party accesses and misdirects funds for their own personal use. The second one happens when a professional operation uses technology to steal products from stores or companies and resell them in a continuous operation.

In Ohio, there are 6 degrees of larceny, each depending on the amount of money that was stolen. They are as follows.

  • Petty larceny involves stealing property of any value.
  • 4th-degree larceny involves stealing property exceeding $1000.
  • 3rd-degree larceny involves stealing property exceeding $3000.
  • 2nd-degree larceny involves stealing property exceeding $50,000.
  • 1st-degree larceny involves stealing property exceeding $1,000,000.

Theft Penalties in Ohio

As with most states, theft offenses in Ohio as punishable in varying degrees depending on the money or value of property stolen. Even if you steal a single item, it may have severe consequences if it falls in the high-degree category. Common penalties and charges of theft crimes in Ohio include:

  • 5th-degree felony – Punishment entails up to $2,500 in fines and up to 12 months in jail.
  • 4th-degree theft – Also, referred to as grand theft, you could be facing up to $ 5000 in fines and up to 18 months in jail.
  • 3rd-degree theft – Also referred to as aggravated theft, you could be facing up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • 2nd-degree theft – penalties include between 2 and 8 years in prison as well as up to $15,000 in fines.
  • 1st-degree felony – crimes at this level lead to a punishment of up to 11 years in jail.

If you have been charged with theft of under $1000, you will be charged with a misdemeanor which involves fines of up to $1000 and up to 180 days in jail.

Call Our Dedicated Cleveland Theft Crime Lawyers!

If you have been charged with theft in the state of Ohio, the last thing you want is to waste time. These cases move fast and if you delay, you may be looking at hefty fines and penalties. These can affect your livelihood, employment opportunities, and much more. It is crucial to call an experienced Cleveland theft crime lawyer.

The team at Patituce & Associates is well-versed in this field and knows what it takes to win a case or have your penalties reduced. We have been in the industry for years, representing numerous clients and even winning their cases. Dealing with theft charges can be tough and going about it on your own is a certain way of losing.

Allow our top-notch lawyers to create a solid defense case by calling our Cleveland offices at 440-471-7784 today!

Related Articles