Shoplifting

Shoplifting Cases In Columbus And Central Ohio

Shoplifting is a mistake made by people from all walks of life. While there are shoplifting incidents that occur due to a financial need, the majority of cases I see involve clients that were not in need and often even had the money with them to pay for the items they took. Clients often do not understand why they shoplifted, but they are always hoping to end the embarrassment and favorably resolve their shoplifting cases.

Attorney For Shoplifting Defense

When I was an undergraduate student at The Ohio State University, I worked as a store detective at a department store in Columbus. I underwent extensive training regarding retail loss prevention and apprehending shoplifters. This training and employment gave me unique experience with these types of cases. As an attorney, I have represented many clients charged with shoplifting since 1997.

Shoplifting Incidents Leading To Criminal Charges

Ohio law authorizes retail stores to detain individuals suspected of shoplifting. Sometimes when a person is apprehended for shoplifting, the store does not involve the police or file charges. Other times, however, charges are filed. Different stores have different policies to determine whether charges will be filed. For example, some stores prosecute everyone apprehended, while others consider the value of the stolen items, whether you were uncooperative, and whether you had identification. If you are apprehended for shoplifting in Columbus or central Ohio and charges are filed, you may want to hire a criminal defense lawyer to help you protect your record and reputation.

Criminal Charges For Shoplifting In Ohio

If charges are filed, the offense charged is Theft (there is no crime in Ohio called “shoplifting”). Theft is generally defined as exerting control over another’s property without their consent. A charge of Theft may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the stolen merchandise. People charged with shoplifting are sometimes also charged with additional offenses. For example, if you were uncooperative, you may be charged with Disorderly Conduct. If you gave false information, you may be charged with Falsification or Obstructing Official Business. If you used a razor or other tool to remove items from their packages, you may be charged with Possessing Criminal Tools.

Sentences And Penalties For Shoplifting

Typically, shoplifting in Ohio is categorized as a first degree misdemeanor, so the potential punishment includes a jail sentence up to six months, a fine up to $1,000, and probation for up to five years. If the value of the stolen merchandise is over $1,000, the Theft charge will be a felony, and the potential punishments are increasingly severe. In addition to the punishment imposed for being convicted of Theft, a store may collect money from you in the form of a “civil recovery” based on the value of the merchandise taken. More importantly, the Theft conviction becomes a permanent public record carrying a stigma of dishonesty.

Strategies For Defending Clients Charged With Shoplifting

There are two basic strategies for defending a client against shoplifting charges. First, we explore the possibility of a diversion program. If a client is accepted into a diversion program and successfully completes it, the shoplifting case is dismissed, and the records for the case can be sealed (expunged). Second, we review the evidence, evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case, and consider legal defenses to the charge. If a diversion program is not possible, or if a client chooses not to participate in the program, we enter a plea of Not Guilty and defend against the shoplifting charge throughout the court process. That process may include pretrial hearings, suppression hearings, and a trial.

Representation For Shoplifting In Columbus And Central Ohio

As an attorney serving Columbus Ohio and the central Ohio area, I have helped many clients, including college students, with shoplifting charges in Franklin County, Delaware County, and other central Ohio courts. In most cases, we are able to get charges reduced or even dismissed, and we are often able to have the records for the case sealed (expunged). I charge flat fees for representation in shoplifting cases, so you will know the total fee before you hire me.

For more information about me, please see my profile, and for more information about my practice, please read the firm overview. You can also see what clients say and review my past case results. If you would like a to discuss your shoplifting case and how I can help, please EMAIL ME or call me at 614-717-1177 to arrange a free initial consultation.