Property crimes include offenses that involve taking or destroying someone else’s property. Property crimes can include:
- Burglary or aggravated burglary
- Criminal mischief
- Criminal trespassing
- Robbery or aggravated robbery
Common Property Offenses in Ohio
Various crimes can fall under this umbrella, and the penalties for the crimes vary based on the severity and nature of the offense. Below, we will outline the legal definitions and potential penalties for some of the most common property offenses.
Under Ohio Revised Code § 2913.02, theft occurs when a person knowingly obtains or exerts control over property or services that belongs to another person:
- Without the owner’s consent
- Using deception
- By threat or intimidation
The penalties for theft offenses change depending on the value of the goods, services, or property stolen. The breakdown is as follows.
- Petty theft is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of no more than $1,000.
- Theft of $1,000-$7,500 worth of property is considered a fifth-degree felony, which is punishable by 6 months to a year in prison and/or a fine of no more than $2,500.
- Theft of $7,500-$150,000 worth of property is considered a fourth-degree felony, which is punishable by six to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of no more than $5,000.
- Theft of $150,000-$750,000 worth of property is considered a third-degree felony, which is punishable by one to five years in prison and/or a fine of no more than $10,000.
- Theft of $750,000-$1,500,000 worth of property is considered a second-degree felony, which is punishable by two to eight years in prison and/or a fine of no more than $15,000.
- Theft of $1,500,000 or more worth of property is considered a first-degree felony, which is punishable by three to ten years in prison and/or a fine of no more than $20,000.
It is important to note that theft offenses that:
- Are committed against persons within a protected class (i.e. active duty service member, disabled adults, elderly persons, etc.) is charged as one offense level higher than the standard scale mentioned. For instance, petty theft committed against a person in a protected class is a fifth-degree felony, and theft of property valued between $1,000 and $7,500 is a fourth-degree felony, and so on.
- Involves stolen property that is dangerous ordnance or a firearm is considered a third-degree felony.
- Involves stolen property that is a police dog, assistance animal, or police horse is considered a third-degree felony.
- Involves stolen property that is anhydrous ammonia is considered a third-degree felony.
- Involves stolen property that is a motor vehicle is considered a fourth-degree felony.
A person can be charged with robbery if it is believed that they attempted to commit or committed a theft offense and:
- Had a deadly weapon on their person, in their possession, or under their control. According to Ohio Revised Code § 2923.11, a deadly weapon refers to any device, tool, or instrument that is capable of killing a person and that was designed or adapted for use as a weapon.
- Inflict, threaten to inflict, or attempt to inflict physical harm to another person.
- Use or threaten the use of force against another person.
Robbery is considered a second or third-degree crime depending on the action taken during the attempted or actual theft. Specifically, the use or threat of force is a felony of the third degree, while inflicting physical harm and having a deadly weapon are considered second-degree felonies.
While people often use the terms burglary and robbery interchangeably, the two offenses are legally different. According to Ohio Revised Code § 2911.12, a burglary occurs when a person uses force, deception, or stealth to trespass in an occupied structure when another person is present (excluding accomplices to the offense) with the intent to commit any criminal offense, which is a second-degree offense. Simply trespassing in an occupied structure is also punishable under this statute as a third-degree felony.
An occupied structure is any building, house, watercraft, railroad car, truck, tent, trailer, or shelter/structure that:
- Is maintained as someone else’s permanent or temporary residence regardless of whether anyone is currently occupying the property.
- Is at the time occupied as someone’s permanent or temporary residence.
- Is at the time being used and adapted to act as overnight accommodations.
Vandalism occurs when a person intentionally causes an occupied structure or its content to be damaged or when property owned by another person is caused harm. This offense is often committed by juveniles doing senior pranks, dares, or hazing activities. Common acts of vandalism include:
- Egging someone’s home or car
- Keying someone’s vehicle (i.e. scratching the paint off using a key)
- Slashing someone’s tires
- Spray painting or defacing someone else’s property with graffiti
- Breaking the windows of someone’s vehicle, home, or other property
- Knocking down street signs
- Damaging someone’s property by kicking or hitting it with your hands, feet, or other objects
Vandalism is considered a fifth-degree felony. However, if the property damaged is $7,500-$150,000, then the offense is a fourth-degree felony, and the offense is a third-degree felony in cases involving damaged property valued over $150,000.
Arson occurs when a person uses fire or explosives to cause or attempt to cause harm to property or people. This offense is considered a:
- First-degree misdemeanor in cases where a person causes harm or the risk of harm to a person or property without the owner’s consent.
- Fourth-degree felony in cases where a person causes harm or the risk of harm to a person or property without the owner’s consent and the property harmed is valued at $1,000 or more.
- Fourth-degree felony in cases where an offender uses fire or explosives to harm anyone’s property (including the alleged offender’s) with the intent to defraud, a school, courthouse, or building owned or controlled by the state, and wildlands, parks, forest, woods, or similar property owned or controlled by the state.
- Third-degree felony in cases where the fire or explosive is used to cause harm, using an offer or acceptance of employment or consideration, to another person’s property or the alleged offender or another person’s property with intent to commit fraud.
Build a Solid Defense Against Property Crime Charges
At Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC, our criminal defense attorneys have decades of collective experience and are dedicated to helping good people get out of bad situations. If you or a loved one have been charged with a property crime, you should contact our firm as soon as possible. We can help you understand your legal rights and options and can help you develop a strong defense. Our attorneys handle a wide variety of property crime cases, including theft crimes and juvenile crimes (i.e. vandalism, theft, shoplifting, etc.).
To learn more about our comprehensive services and how we can help you, schedule a free case evaluation today. Call (937) 403-9033 or reach out online now.