Ohio’s Shoplifting Laws

Theft Offenses That You Need to Be Aware of

Shoplifting is often thought to be a petty offense. However, it can be a serious crime, sometimes even earning a felony conviction. 

Before delving into the penalties of shoplifting, it’s important to define the offense. The crime is typically associated with concealing merchandise and leaving a store without purchasing it. However, a person could is also guilty of shoplifting if they:

  • Alter the price tag of an item in an attempt to pay less
  • Changing a product’s container
  • Concealing a product inside a box of another item you’re purchasing

Essentially, whenever you take an item without the owner’s consent or for less than they demand for it, you are guilty of shoplifting.

There is no separate shoplifting statute in Ohio. The offense instead falls under the state’s general theft laws, which defines theft as taking another person’s property without their consent. The associated penalties vary depending on the value of stolen merchandise.

Shoplifters could face:

  • First-degree misdemeanor: Penalty for merchandise worth less than $1,000. It carries a sentence of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Fifth-degree felony: Penalty for merchandise worth between $1,000 and $7,500. It carries a sentence of 6 to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500.
  • Fourth-degree felony: Penalty for merchandise worth between $7,500 and $150,000. It carries a sentence of 6 to 18 months in jail and a fine of $5,000.
  • Third-degree felony: Penalty for merchandise worth between $150,000 and $750,000. It carries a sentence of 1 to 5 years in jail and a fine of $10,000.
  • Second-degree felony: Penalty for merchandise worth between $750,000 and $1,500,000. It carries a sentence of 2 to 8 years in jail and a fine of $15,000.
  • First-degree felony: Penalty for merchandise worth more than $1,500,000. It carries a sentence of 3 to 10 years in jail and a fine of $20,000.

Shoplifters also face civil liabilities. They could be sued for the value of stolen goods in addition to damages. The court may even call on the shoplifter to pay for the victim’s attorney fees and other court costs.

For more information about shoplifting and dedicated assistance with your case, contact Bridges, Jillisky, Streng, Weller & Gullifer LLC.