Defenses for a Theft Charge: Do You Need a Private Attorney?
Interviewer: How defensible are any of these cases? Is it really tough to get any kind of resolution?
Adam: It’s going to always depend on the attorney. What the store was, who the manager is, what he’s willing to accept, and the background of the person who committed the crime. Factors also include how they interacted with the store personnel, if they were violent and do they have an assault charge now? That factor can make the defense a little more difficult and complicated.
If the individual was polite and complied, then the store managers tend to be a little more receptive to letting a plea deal be modified substantially in the favor of the individual.
If Convicted of Theft, Will You Have to Pay Restitution?
Interviewer: I’ve heard in some cases that stores can go after civil damages because of the theft for the item itself, the value of it, if it gets destroyed. Civil damages can arise even if an item wasn’t taken, to compensate the store for its time. Does that occur in Ohio?
Adam: At some point in time, either as part of the plea agreement, or if it ended in a conviction, the court would order restitution in the criminal case. Usually, if you’re not sentenced to jail, you’re going to be on probation and the condition of being released from probation is going to require that the restitution be paid within a specified time frame.
How Much Will the Restitution Cost?
Interviewer: What would the restitution be? Is it the amount of the item that you stole, or is it many times an amount? How is it calculated?
Adam: It’s usually the value of the item, unless there would be a theft of something from an individual that had some kind of sentimental property. Sentimental value is harder to calculate.
Interviewer: In some cases will they order double or triple damages, or extra penalties?
Adam: No, that will not be ordered b the court.
Interviewer: How about moving up the ladder of severity to items above $1,000. You mentioned it’s charged as a felony, but is it still theft at a higher level?
By Adam Hunt