One of the rights most fundamental in America is that of being able to fully control and protect your property. When you have money, investments, real estate, personal items, or offer various services in exchange for compensation, you have the right to decide what to do with these items or when to provide their services. If you are accused of violating a property owner’s rights by taking what they own without permission, you are going to face serious criminal theft charges. You also can be charged with a theft crime if you unlawfully obtain another person’s services.
In some situations, you may face charges for misdemeanor theft. This typically occurs when you receive minimal value from your conduct. If you receive a great deal of value from your conduct, or you are accused of stealing certain types of property, then you may be charged with a felony. If such is the case, we recommend reaching out to our theft attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates for help.
To learn more about your rights and legal options in a felony theft case, contact us right away. We can review your case, investigate evidence, and inform you of your legal options moving forward. To schedule a free and confidential case consultation, contact our Columbus felony theft attorneys at 614-500-3836.
What is Felony Theft?
Prosecutors bring theft offenses according to the value of the property stolen or the services unlawfully obtained. Therefore, felony theft is an offense that enabled you to unlawfully obtain money, property, or services worth a significant value.
You could be charged with a felony if you violate one or more of the following statutes listed in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC):
- ORC 2913.02 – Theft
- ORC 2913.03 – Unauthorized use of a vehicle
- ORC 2913.04 – Unauthorized use computer, cable or telecommunication property
- ORC 2913.05 – Telecommunications fraud
- ORC 2913.06 – Unlawful use of telecommunications device
- ORC 2913.11 – Passing bad checks
- ORC 2913.21 – Misuse of credit cards
- ORC 2913.31 – Forgery (Forging identification cards or selling or distributing forged identification cards)
- ORC 2913.32 – Criminal simulation
- ORC 2913.34 – Trademark counterfeiting
- ORC 2913.40 – Medicaid fraud
- ORC 2913.42 – Medicaid eligibility fraud
- ORC 2913.43 – Securing writings by deception
- ORC 2913.45 – Defrauding creditors
- ORC 2913.47 – Insurance fraud
- ORC 2913.48 – Workers’ compensation fraud
- ORC 2913.51 – Receiving stolen property
- ORC 2915.05 – Cheating (corrupting sports)
- ORC 2911.02 – Robbery
- ORC 2911.11 – Aggravated burglary
- ORC 2911.12 – Burglary
- ORC 2911.13 – Breaking and entering
- ORC 2911.31 – Safecracking
- ORC 2911.32 – Tampering with coin machines
- ORC 2921.41 – Theft in office
When You Will Be Charged With Felony Theft
Since many of the crimes above can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, you might be asking yourself, “how much stealing is a felony versus a misdemeanor?”
Under ORC 2913.02, you can be charged with a felony once you unlawfully receive property or services worth at least $1,000. The degree of the felony charge rises as the value of the stolen property and services increases.
Other statutes may have different thresholds with which you will be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Additionally, certain theft or fraud offenses do not rely on the value of the property to determine your charge. Call our Columbus felony theft attorneys to learn more about the charges you could face after accusations of theft.
Felony Theft in Columbus
The levels of theft in Ohio are:
- Fifth-degree felony theft – Stolen property or services valued between $1,000 and $7,500
- Fourth-degree felony theft – Stolen property or services valued between $7,500 and $150,000.
- Third-degree felony theft – Stolen property or services worth between $150,000 and $750,000.
- Second-degree felony theft – Stolen property or services valued between $750,000 and $1,500,000.
- First-degree felony theft – Stolen property or services worth $1,500,000 or more.
Stealing From a Protected Individual
If you are accused of stealing from an elderly person, a disabled adult, an active-duty service member, or the spouse of an active-duty service member, then you will be charged with committing a theft offense against a protected class. In this situation, you will face a higher charge than normal.
When you are accused of stealing from one of these individuals, the degrees of theft are as follows:
- Fifth-degree felony theft – Up to $1,000
- Fourth-degree felony theft – Between $1,000 and $7,5000
- Third-degree felony theft – Between $7,500 and $37,500
- Second-degree felony theft – $37,500 and $150,000
- First-degree felony theft – $150,000 or more
If you are accused of stealing money, property, or services from an individual in a protected class, call the Columbus felony theft attorneys from Luftman, Heck & Associates right away.
Felony Theft of Certain Types of Property
Another way in which you can be charged with felony theft is if you steal certain types of property, no matter their value.
Theft of a firearm or dangerous ordnance is considered grand theft. This is automatically a third-degree felony, and there is a presumption in favor of imprisonment if you are convicted. If you face accusations of stealing the firearm or dangerous weapon from a federally-licensed firearms dealer, then the grand theft is a first-degree felony.
If you are accused of stealing any motor vehicle, this is grand theft and charged as a fourth-degree felony.
If you allegedly stole a dangerous drug, you may face a fourth-degree felony. However, if you were previously convicted of a felony drug offense, then this will be a third-degree felony.
If you are accused of stealing an assistance dog or a police dog or horse, and you know or should know this is a working animal, then you will be charged with a third-degree felony.
Statutory Penalties for Felony Theft
If you are facing first-time felony theft charges in Ohio, then your penalty is based on the degree of your offense. The statutory penalties for felony theft based on the Ohio Felony Sentencing Chart are:
- Fifth-Degree Felony – Between six and 12 months of imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $2,500.
- Fourth-Degree Felony – Between six and 18 months in prison, and fines of up to $5,000.
- Third-Degree Felony – Between one and five-years of imprisonment, and $10,000 in fines.
- Second-Degree Felony – Between two and eight years in prison, and fines reaching $15,000.
- First-Degree Felony – Between three and 11 years in prison, and fines up to $20,000.
Defending Against Felony Theft Charges
When you are facing a felony theft offense in Ohio, you need to speak with our Columbus felony theft attorneys about how to best defend yourself. Depending on the facts of your case, there may be various technical and substantive defenses available to you.
Some potential defenses to theft charges include:
- You had consent from the property owner.
- There has been a mistake of identity – you may have an alibi.
- You are being falsely accused of a theft that did not occur – the accuser may have ulterior motives.
- You were subject to an unreasonable search and seizure.
- Certain evidence is inadmissible in court.
- Prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to prove you committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
Contact our Columbus Felony Theft Attorneys for Help Today
If you have been arrested and charged with a theft crime in Ohio, and the offense is a felony, you need to hire an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our Columbus felony theft attorneys have years of experience battling these charges in court, and will fight hard for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
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.