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Shoplifting crimes carry serious penalties and can have dire consequences even though many individuals view them as a relatively minor category of crimes. Having assisted individuals throughout Cleveland, Akron, and other areas of Cuyahoga County, we have substantial experience with a wide variety shoplifting offenses including burglary and theft. Whether this is your first experience in a criminal investigation or charge, or an ongoing legal issue, we are prepared to provide you with compassionate and responsive representation. Cleveland shoplifting defense attorney A. Dale Naticchia ensures that each client receives personalized and compassionate treatment during this stressful situation. We will work diligently to explore all possible approaches to resolving your situation while seeking fair treatment for you at all times during the legal process.Ohio’s Laws on Shoplifting Offenses
Ohio law lists shoplifting offenses as theft crimes because there is no separate offense labeled “shoplifting.” In general, theft is defined as exercising control over another individual’s property without consent. There are many different ways that a theft crime can be charged, including as both a felony and a misdemeanor. The level is usually determined by the value of the goods that were taken, with more expensive goods being charged at a higher level. When it comes to shoplifting, it is common for law enforcement to charge additional crimes with the theft charge, including disorderly conduct, trespassing, or public intoxication. Also, if you provide false information you can be charged with the crime of falsification or obstructing official business. If any sort of tool was used during the process of shoplifting, such as a razor or other device to remove items from packaging, you can also be charged with the possession of criminal tools. A knowledgeable shoplifting defense lawyer in Cleveland can help you fight charges of this nature.
In most situations, shoplifting is considered a first degree misdemeanor under Ohio law. This carries a possible jail sentence of up to 6 months as well as a fine of no more than $1,000. If you shoplift items that total $1,000 or more in value, the shoplifting offense will be classified as a felony and the corresponding jail time and fines will be more severe. A store can also assert a collections action against you in the form of civil recovery to recoup the value of the goods that you were accused of shoplifting. Finally, the charge will become part of your public record, which may have serious repercussions for your personal and professional lives.Determine the Best Possible Defense Against your Shoplifting Charges
When you are accused of committing a crime, it can be incredibly stressful. This is especially true if this is your first time being involved in a criminal proceeding. Although you may be tempted to speak to the authorities in an attempt to explain the situation or to exonerate yourself, it is best to wait until you have consulted with a knowledgeable and experienced Cleveland shoplifting defense attorney, and to have a lawyer present with you when speaking to the authorities. There may be ways to defend against the theft charge, or to at least have the penalties reduced. Ohio maintains a theft diversion program to help individuals charged with theft crimes to obtain alternate sentencing where there is reason to believe that the defendant will not commit another crime. There are several criteria that must be considered to determine whether a defendant is eligible for this program. If the defendant does not qualify, there are other options such as asserting an affirmative defense. An example of an affirmative defense in a shoplifting case is consent from the owner to possess the items in question, or showing that you had a good faith belief that you had a right to possess the items. In other words, showing that you lacked the requisite mental state for shoplifting.Seek Counsel from an Experienced Shoplifting Defense Lawyer in Cleveland
Ohio’s criminal justice system can be complicated. Although it may seem simpler to navigate this process without legal counsel, the outcome can be devastating and irreversible. Our legal team is committed to defending Ohio residents in criminal matters including theft offenses, and our experience has assisted countless individuals in resolving their issues. We assist residents of areas including Cleveland, Akron, Parma, Berea, Rocky River, Garfield Heights, Bedford, Stow, and Barberton. To schedule your free consultation call us at 216-520-5297 or contact us online to get started.