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The City of Columbus is introducing a diversion program for people charged with theft offense from larger stores such as Kroger and Walmart. The goal of the new program will be to treat the underlying cause of the theft charge, such as drug or alcohol dependency, to prevent future thefts from taking place.

Zach Klein, the Columbus City Attorney, stated the goal would be to address the underlying cause of why people resort to committing theft offenses, to ensure that person does not resort to theft in the future.


Many jurisdictions offer a diversion program to allow for individuals to avoid certain types of convictions for appearing on one’s criminal record. A diversion program is usually an agreement between a prosecutor and an offender, where the offender agrees to undergo a pre trial supervision period through the court and complete certain requirements determined by the prosecutor.

Completion of the diversion program results in the dismissal of the case against you, and allows for one’s criminal record to remain free of a criminal conviction.


In the past, the City of Columbus would require the completion of an Anti-Theft class, complete a community service requirement, and pay a diversion fee. In the past, not all cases would qualify for diversion. Previously, diversion was only open to those charged with their first theft offense. The new program will screen repeat offenders to determine if there is an underlying issue that is the cause of the theft charges. The new diversion program will last six months and will require a more intensive supervision, including the possibility of counseling or drug treatment, before the prosecutor dismissed the case.


Although many people believe that theft and shoplifting charges are just minor offenses, petty theft convictions can in fact have a lasting impact on your future.   As stated above, a shoplifting conviction in Columbus could limit your employment chances in today’s competitive job market or applying to go back to school.

Columbus theft attorney Douglas Riddell was recently awarded the AV “Preeminent” rating by Martindale-Hubbell. The AV Rating is the highest possible rating given by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for a lawyer and is established wholly on a peer-review basis. The AV Preeminent designation signifies that Mr. Riddell has been rated by judges and fellow attorneys as having the highest possible rating for legal abilities and ethical standards.

If you choose Riddell Law as your COlumbus theft attorneys, we will carefully investigate all of the fact about your case, including the available evidence, statements from witnesses and video footage.  We will then work to build a theft defense strategy that offers you the best chance for the best outcome, including limiting the consequences of a conviction to you both personally and professionally.

Our strategy will include investigating whether you are eligible for a diversion program, which could include the possibility of expungement of your theft or shoplifting charges, dismissal or sealing of the record so that the charge would not appear on background checks by future employers.

Whether you opt to negotiate a plea agreement, or want to fight your charges in the Franklin County Municipal Court, or other municipal court in Ohio, we will work diligently to help you find the most favorable resolution possible.