Being charged with theft or shoplifting can create problems that could have an impact for many years after the case is over. Beyond the penalties a court may impose, including heavy fines and jail time, employers and schools can exclude you based on prior theft convictions.

Theft and shoplifting can create long lasting problems, but there may be defenses to the charges or options to avoid theft convictions entirely.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEFT AND SHOPLIFTING IN DELAWARE COUNTY?

Ohio does not make a distinction between theft and shoplifting and both are charged under the Ohio and Delaware County code sections for theft.

“No person, with purpose to deprive the owner of property or services, shall knowingly obtain or exert control over either the property or services of another.”

Ohio Revised Code 2913.02 and Delaware City Code 545.05 (which mirrors the Ohio Revised Code closely) state an individual can be guilty of theft if they obtain property or services of another:

  • Without the consent of the owner of the property
  • Beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent
  • By deception
  • By threat
  • By intimidation

TYPES OF THEFT CASES IN DELAWARE

The Delaware Municipal Court hears only for misdemeanor offenses. Thefts of items or services valued from $.01 to $999.99 are first-degree misdemeanor offenses. If convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor, you could face penalties including:

  • Six months in Jail
  • $1000.00 fine
  • Probation
  • Community Service

WILL I BE SENT TO JAIL IN DELAWARE for A THEFT CHARGE?

Anyone found guilty of misdemeanor theft in Delaware faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail. Though many judges will not impose the maximum penalty for a first offense, a shorter jail sentence is possible. It is imperative to explore all possibilities to avoid a conviction.

DELAWARE THEFT DIVERSION PROGRAMS

The City of Delaware, Ohio offers a diversion program to avoid certain types of convictions from appearing on one’s criminal record. A diversion program is an agreement between a prosecutor and a first-time offender in which the offender agrees to undergo a pre-trial supervision period through the court and complete certain requirements determined by the prosecutor.

If the offender completes the requirements, the charge is dismissed. The City of Delaware will often require the completion of an Anti-Theft class, complete a community service requirement, and pay a diversion fee. Not all cases will qualify for diversion.

EXPUNGING A THEFT CASE IN DELAWARE COUNTY

Theft offenses are eligible for expungement in Delaware County. A theft conviction on your record can have multiple negative impacts including future employment opportunities, applying to higher education, and the ability to pass a background check.

In order to begin the process of expungement process for a theft offense, you must be an eligible offender and only have five or less criminal offenses on your record. Any combination of misdemeanors and felonies are eligible to apply for expungement.

Expungements in Delaware require completing the required application, paying the filing fee, and appearing before the judge to explain your desire to have the theft offense sealed.

AGGRESSIVE DELAWARE COUNTY THEFT DEFENSE

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.   A shoplifting conviction in Delaware could limit your employment chances in today’s competitive job market or applying to go back to school.

If you hire Riddell Law to handle your Delaware theft case, we will carefully investigate all of the facts and work to build a theft defense strategy that offers you the best chance for the best outcome. This includes 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.

We are transparent about our flat fee structure for Delaware County theft or shoplifting charges and will be upfront in our first meeting with you about any and all legal fees.  Additionally, we accept all major credit cards and can discuss financing options with qualifying clients.

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