Columbus Theft Attorneys
Every day in central Ohio people are charged with theft and fraud offenses. Theft and fraud charges can range from a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail to a first-degree felony punishable by 3-11 years in prison.
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Luftman, Heck & Associates client
A theft or fraud conviction can seriously impact your criminal record as well as your reputation at work and in the community. If you’re being investigated for theft or fraud, or if you’ve already facing charges, you need a skilled Columbus theft attorney on your side.
If you are convicted of a theft or fraud offense, potential consequences include incarceration, fines, difficulty obtaining and/or maintaining employment, professional licensure issues, and problems related to immigration. If you’re facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, the legal process can be challenging to navigate. To schedule a free, initial consultation of your case, contact Luftman, Heck & Associates today at (614) 500-3836.
Common Theft Charges in Ohio
The Columbus theft defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates assist people facing an array of theft and fraud charges, including:
- Fictitious ID – Any person who uses a fake ID or lends an identification card to someone knowing they are not entitled to it could face charges for a first-degree misdemeanor.
- Shoplifting – Stealing from a store may be charged as a theft crime and classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the item you allegedly stole.
- Tampering with Records – This offense, which encompasses destroying or altering a record in any way, could result in first-degree misdemeanor charges. If your offense involves computer data, you may face felony-level charges.
- Unauthorized Use of Property – Anyone who uses property, such as a computer, cable service, internet, or more, without permission of the owner may be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor. If your unlawful use of another individual’s property involved an attempt to defraud, then your charges will increase.
- Complicity – Asking others to commit a crime or conspiring to commit a crime may result in first-degree misdemeanor charges.
- Defrauding a Livery or Hostelry – Fraud in the course of renting a hotel or other property may result in a misdemeanor or charge, depending on the specific details of your case.
- Forgery – Writing false checks or creating false identification cards are offenses that are charged as felonies.
- Passing Bad Checks – If you knowingly write a check from an account with insufficient funds, or from an account that does not belong to you, you will face either misdemeanor or felony charges.
- Fraud – Fraud encompasses many crimes, including credit card misuse, identity theft, workers’ comp fraud, and more. Fraud offenses are classified as felonies.
- Criminal Simulation – If you pass something off as more valuable than it actually is, you may face misdemeanor or felony charges.
- Identity Theft – Charged as a felony offense, this crime can be prosecuted at the state or federal level.
- Insider Trading – This is a federal offense typically charged under several different codes. If you’re convicted of an insider trading offense, it can result in felony charges.
- Racketeering – This crime involves organized crime and may be prosecuted in state or federal courts as a felony.
If you’re facing any of the above Ohio theft charges and are concerned about the implications a conviction could have on your life, call a Columbus theft attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates right away.
The Importance of an Independent Theft or Fraud Investigation
If you’re being investigated by the police or have already been charged with a theft crime, it’s important to conduct your own investigation. Luftman, Heck & Associates can help with this by requesting discovery from the prosecutor. This will generally consist of police reports, additional investigative notes, video surveillance, and recorded interviews. As our client, you will receive a copy of everything obtained from the prosecutor for your review.
One of our experienced attorneys will also seek out people who witnessed your situation. If anyone was near the scene of your alleged crime, we will ask them questions to verify the information presented by the prosecutor. Witnesses can be helpful, but they often forget the details. It’s vital to remember that not all witnesses are reliable. We can easily discredit those who are making false statements about you.
Theft Case Plea Agreements
One option you will likely have during the criminal justice process is making a plea agreement. Based on the legal weaknesses prosecutor’s case, we fight hard to negotiate the best possible plea available. If your case cannot be resolved with a plea, it will then proceed to a motion hearing (a proceeding during which a judge issues a ruling on a legal issue), or to a trial.
Penalties of Theft and Fraud
If you’re found guilty of a theft or fraud offense, you could be punished with as little as 30 days in jail and a fine of $250, or as much as 11 years in prison and fines reaching $20,000. Additionally, theft and fraud cases often require reparations that can increase the cost of your penalties. By working with a Columbus theft attorney from our firm, you can avoid the harsh penalties established by Ohio law.
Many Ohio theft crimes are misdemeanors, and can result in the following statutory penalties if you are convicted:
- First-degree misdemeanor – up to 180 days in jail, and $1,000 in fines
- Second-degree misdemeanor – up to 90 days in jail, and $750 in fines
- Third-degree misdemeanor – up to 60 days in jail, and $500 in fines
- Fourth-degree misdemeanor – up to 30 days in jail, and $250 in fines
- Minor misdemeanor – no jail sentence and up to $150 in fines
Theft and fraud offenses are commonly charged as first-degree misdemeanors. However, a skilled theft lawyer can help your plead your charge down to a lower-level offense. This would provide you a with an opportunity to seek lower statuary penalties and alternative sentencing options.
Theft and fraud felonies in Ohio may result in the following if you are found guilty of an offense:
- First-degree felony – three to 11 years in prison and $20,000 in fines
- Second-degree felony – two to eight years in prison and $15,000 in fines
- Third-degree felony – nine months to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines
- Fourth-degree felony – six to 18 months in prison and $5,000 in fines
- Fifth-degree felony – six to 12 months in prison and $2,500 in fines
A felony offense can be extremely difficult to handle, and it will impact every aspect of your life. If you work with a Columbus theft attorney, you may be able to get your charge reduced or completely eliminated.
Alternative Sentencing for Theft
If you are convicted of theft or fraud, your attorney may be able to obtain alternative sentencing on your behalf, therefor helping you avoid incarceration. It’s important to work with a skilled theft lawyer during the sentencing phase of your case to ensure that you explore all of your options. Common alternative sentences include:
Substance Abuse Treatment
If you have a substance abuse problem that may have contributed to your theft offense, you may enter into a treatment program instead of serving a jail or prison sentence.
Theft Diversion Program
The Ohio theft diversion program is a pre-trial diversion program that is an alternative to going to trial and incurring a potential conviction. This alternative sentence is often offered by the prosecuting attorney when it is unlikely that the offender will commit another crime. First-time theft offenders are often eligible for this alternative sentencing option. The program typically requires probation, during which time you may be tested for drug or alcohol consumption. You may also be required to participate in therapy, counseling, substance abuse treatment, and community service.
What Will Happen to My Professional License?
One of the collateral consequences of a theft or fraud charge may include the revocation of your professional license(s). Every professional licensing board has different rules for criminal reporting and disqualification. Nurses, real estate agents, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals must comply with their board’s rules regarding criminal convictions.
If you are convicted of a crime, you may have to report it to your professional licensing board and undergo an administrative hearing. You have a right to legal representation throughout all professional license hearings. If you are concerned about your license being suspended or revoked, your lawyer may be able to help you seek alternative punishments that ensure your ability to continue practicing your profession. You should work with a Columbus theft attorney through this process to make sure that your livelihood remains protected.
Are you a professional license holder? The dismissal and subsequent expungement, or sealing of a record can successfully and permanently remove most theft cases from a criminal background check.
Can a Theft Charge or Conviction be Removed from My Record?
After a careful review of your case, the experienced theft lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates may be able to help you expunge a theft case from your criminal record. Expungement is the process in which your arrest or criminal conviction records are sealed. Ohio allows for expungement of some convictions after a certain period of time has passed. By working with our firm, you can seek to have your record sealed so it does not further affect your life.
After a careful review of your theft charge, the experienced Columbus theft and fraud attorneys at LHA may be able to permanently remove a theft case from your criminal background.
Theft Charges in Dublin, Ohio
Luftman, Heck & Associates has experience working with clients throughout Ohio, including Dublin. The Dublin Police Department is serious about theft and fraud crimes. They may arrest you and have very little evidence to back up their allegations, so it’s important to contact a theft lawyer today if you’ve been arrested in Dublin, Ohio. Our skilled attorneys understand how to point out the flaws in the police officers’ claims, and make sure they respect your rights throughout the investigation and prosecution process.
Let a Columbus Theft Attorney from LHA Help You
If you’re facing charges for a theft or fraud offense, there are likely several questions running through your mind. During the aftermath of a theft arrest, you may not be sure of what your rights are, or who you can turn to for help. With years of experience defending clients against an array of theft and fraud charges in Ohio, the team at Luftman, Heck & Associates is prepared to assist you with your case. Contact a Columbus theft attorney from our firm today at (614) 500-3836 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
For over a decade, the Columbus criminal defense attorneys at LHA have successfully represented clients on criminal offenses ranging from minor misdemeanors to first degree felonies. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.
Talk to a Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have any questions about the material or if you need an experienced, competent attorney, call the Columbus criminal defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 500-3836 or email us via [email protected]