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Theft Crimes

In the state of Ohio, theft crimes are serious offenses that can have significant repercussions on one's life. From misdemeanor petty theft to felony aggravated theft, the accusations alone can create a whirlwind of stress and uncertainty for the defendant. Having a theft-related criminal record can limit access to housing options, educational opportunities, and certain professional licenses, further hindering one's ability to rebuild their life after the ordeal.

Theft Crimes Attorney in Willoughby

In times like these, it is essential to have a compassionate and skilled legal team by your side to protect your rights and ensure a fair defense. At Fortress Law Group, we understand the magnitude of theft crime accusations and their potential life-altering consequences. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to advocating for your best interests, providing personalized guidance throughout the legal process. We are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of Ohio's legal system and strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, giving you the support and expertise you need to reclaim your life. Remember, you are not alone - we are here to help you through this challenging time.

How Is Theft Defined in Ohio?

In Ohio, theft is classified into two main categories: misdemeanor theft and felony theft. The state of Ohio defines theft as knowingly obtaining or exerting control over either the property or services – without the consent of the owner, beyond the scope of the authorized owner, by deception, by threat, or by intimidation. Each category encompasses different degrees of severity and is characterized by specific elements that define the crime, primarily the dollar amount stolen.

  • Misdemeanor Theft: In Ohio, Petty Theft, or Theft, is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property or services is less than $1,000.
  • Felony Theft: Fifth-degree felony Theft involves the theft of property or services with a value exceeding $1,000, but less than $7,500.
  • Grand Theft: If the value of the property or services stolen falls between $7500-$150,000, or if the property stolen was a vehicle, the charge escalates to a felony of the fourth-degree and is considered Grand Theft.
  • Aggravated Theft: Theft of a property or services with a value of $150,000-$750,000 is a third-degree felony in Ohio. Aggravated Theft of the second-degree occurs when the value falls between $750,000-$1,500,000. The most severe Aggravated Theft is charged as a first-degree felony when the stolen value exceeds $1,500,000.

Theft Penalties in Ohio

In Ohio, theft crimes are classified into different degrees based on the value of the stolen property or services and other aggravating factors. Each degree corresponds to specific penalties, including jail time and fines. Here is an overview of the penalties for various theft offenses in Ohio:

  • Misdemeanor 1st Degree Theft: Up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Felony 5th Degree Theft: 6 to 12 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
  • Felony 4th Degree Theft (Grand Theft): 9 to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Felony 3rd Degree Theft: 9 months to 3 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Felony 2nd Degree Theft: 2 to 8 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000.
  • Felony 1st Degree Theft: 3 to 11 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000.

It's important to note that the penalties mentioned above are general guidelines, and actual sentences may vary based on the specific circumstances of the case and the defendant's criminal history. Additionally, repeat offenders or those involved in violent or organized theft crimes may face enhanced penalties.

When facing theft charges in Ohio, it is crucial to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our legal team can provide personalized guidance, build a strong defense, and work towards minimizing the potential consequences you may face.

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Why Choose Fortress Law Group?

Extensive Experience – Established in 2009, our firm has represented thousands of clients in various kinds of criminal cases. Our criminal defense attorneys make sure each client is diligently represented and protected throughout the trial.


Professional and Reliable – We value the trust and confidence each client gives us. The criminal justice system is complex, but we are dedicated to guiding you throughout the process to ensure your rights are protected.


Comprehensive Criminal Defense – Our team of attorneys is knowledgeable and up to date with all the relevant case laws and procedural rules in court and will ensure all your bases are covered.


Flexible Consultation Times – Facing a criminal charge is a serious matter. You must communicate with a lawyer as soon as possible. That’s why our communication lines – online and via phone – are available for clients to reach out to us at any time.

Defense Strategies for Theft in Ohio

When accused of theft in Ohio, it is essential to explore effective defense strategies to protect your rights and potentially mitigate the charges or penalties. Here are some common defense strategies Fortress Law Group attorneys have applied in theft cases:

  • Lack of Intent: One of the primary elements in a theft case is proving the defendant's intent to permanently deprive the owner of their property. Your attorney may argue that there was no intention to steal the item or services, which could potentially lead to a reduction or dismissal of the charges.
  • Misidentification: It is not uncommon for individuals to be mistakenly accused of theft or identified as the perpetrator due to a misunderstanding or misidentification. Your defense attorney may present evidence to show that you were not involved in the alleged theft or that the accuser made an error in identifying you as the offender.
  • Consent: If you had the owner's consent or a valid legal right to possess the property in question, your attorney can use this as a defense to challenge the theft allegations.
  • Ownership Dispute: In some cases, disputes over ownership can lead to theft accusations. Your attorney may investigate and present evidence demonstrating that you genuinely believed you were entitled to the property or services in question.
  • Coercion: If you were compelled to commit the theft under threat of harm to yourself or others, your defense attorney may argue that you acted under duress or coercion, which could potentially mitigate the charges.

Every theft case is unique, and the best defense strategy will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your case. At Fortress Law Group, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are well-versed in handling theft cases in Ohio. We will assess the details of your situation, tailor a robust defense, and fight tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the most favorable outcome possible.

Hiring An Attorney to Defend You

Hiring Fortress Law Group for your theft case ensures that you have a dedicated and experienced team on your side, ready to fight for your rights and protect your future. Our attorneys are well-versed in handling theft cases, and we bring our expertise to every step of the legal process. With a proven track record of defending individuals accused of theft, we are committed to providing you with the best possible defense and personalized support throughout your case. Being accused of theft can have significant and long-lasting consequences that may impact your personal life, reputation, and professional opportunities. Our experienced attorneys understand the gravity of these charges and the uncertainty you may be facing. Don’t leave your future on the line, contact Fortress Law Group today.

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Theft & Fraud

What penalties might I face if I get a theft or fraud conviction in Ohio?

A conviction of theft, burglary, fraud or another related crime in Ohio may involve heavy penalties. It calls for assertive legal defense by a skilled theft & fraud attorney.

The offense’s classification and potential penalties will depend on how much the stolen property is worth. For instance:

Petty theft: When the property is worth under $1,000, the charge is petty theft, a misdemeanor that may lead to a fine of $1,000 and 180 days of incarceration.
Felony theft: If the property is worth between $1,000 and $7,500, convicted individuals may face a felony theft charge, with potential fines of up to $2,500 and 6-12 months in prison.
Grand theft: Stealing property worth between $7,500 and $150,000 is grand theft, a fourth-degree felony. Convicted persons may pay up to $5,000 in fines and spend up to 18 months behind bars.

What are the pros and cons of a plea deal vs. pleading not guilty in a theft or fraud criminal process?

If you believe you face wrongful theft charges, your attorney may source relevant evidence to defend you against the accusation. In other cases, a plea deal might allow you to reduce the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor and possibly even qualify for a diversion program for first-time offenders, which may help with record expungement.

Matthew C. Bangerter, an Ohio theft & fraud attorney at Fortress Law Group, can help you decide which approach to use in your legal defense and what outcome you might expect with either option.

Can I get a theft or fraud conviction expunged from my criminal record?

If you answer specific legal criteria, an experienced Ohio theft lawyer like Matthew C. Bangerter can help you get a theft or fraud conviction expunged, and your record sealed, even if you faced felony theft charges. This legal procedure, known as sealing of record, removes your conviction history from all public records. Expungement can help you start afresh and prevent past mistakes from harming your reputation, employment prospects, or housing options.

How can an Ohio criminal defense attorney help in my theft or fraud case?

Working with an experienced theft and fraud lawyer is the first step toward protecting your legal rights and minimizing penalties. Attorney Matthew C. Bangerter of Fortress Law Group, a former prosecutor with deep knowledge of DNA and forensics, knows how to choose the optimal strategies for powerful legal defense. Call his office at (440) 340-1740 in Cleveland Metro for a case review.

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Matthew C. Bangerter, Esq.

As a former Assistant Prosecutor in Lake County Ohio, Cleveland criminal defense attorney Matthew C. Bangerter, ESQ. has experience with the strategies used by prosecutors to pursue their cases. As a member of the Ohio Bar Association, Lake County Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the Board of Directors of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, he takes his profession as a Cleveland criminal defense attorney seriously and ensures that he is up to date with the latest case law and trial strategies.

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Whether you’re charged with a DUI, misdemeanor, or felony, the prospect of facing trial is stressful. Worse, there’s also the possibility of jail time if things don’t go well for you in court. To help you face these legal adversities, you need an attorney who can work on an effective defense strategy and make sure your civil rights are upheld throughout the process. A Willoughby criminal appeals attorney at Fortress Law Group, LLC provides clients with comprehensive legal representation from trial to appeal, if needed.
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