Shoplifting penalties - What happen when you are caught?

Penalties for ShopliftingFacing criminal charges for theft can be very frightening, especially if you’re accused of shoplifting. In Ohio, it is legal for store officials to detain you if you’re suspected of theft. Store owners may request you not only pay for the merchandise which was stolen, but also reimburse them three times the value of what was stolen. But it doesn’t end there. If the store discovers you’ve tried to steal from them, they will take your information and then will have the police issue a summons for you to appear in court and face the charges.

There is no such crime as “shoplifting” in Ohio – the Ohio Revised Code refers to the crime as theft. The penalties depend on the value of the item or items that were stolen.

Value of the Item(s)


Less than $1,0001st degree Misdemeanor
$1,000 to $7,5005th degree Felony

Source:  Ohio Revised Code

A theft of less than $1,000 is considered a serious offense, and can subject you to up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine and up to five years on probation.  Penalties increase dramatically the greater the value of the item(s), and charges jump to a 5th degree felony if the value of the item(s) is over $1,000.

This can be a very embarrassing situation and something you just want to have “go away” as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, depending on where the offense occurs, the store may be interested in making an example of you as a deterrent to other shoplifters. It is important that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner if you are facing these serious charges.

There are two basic approaches or strategies an attorney can help with if you’re charged with shoplifting. If this is a first offense, there is a possibility of getting you into a diversion program.  If you accept a diversion program and successfully complete it, you can apply for your records to be sealed or expunged.  The second approach or strategy would be to go through a court case by first looking at how strong the prosecution’s case is, the value of their evidence, and what defense might be offered to the charges.

Need Criminal Defense Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio?

If you’re facing shoplifting charges in Columbus, Ohio, you need an experienced attorney who will review your case and create a strategy to either get you into a diversion program or win the case. This will protect your reputation, future employment opportunities and possibly even your livelihood. The skilled, trusted legal representation Probst Law Office offers the help you need to be sure you have the best representation possible in dealing with theft charges.  Get the experience that you need and deserve when you hire Michael Probst as your attorney.  Contact Michael today for your free consultation, or call now at 614-232-8890.