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Lawyer for Theft of a Motor Vehicle Charges in Cincinnati, OH
Facing Charges? Our Cincinnati Auto Theft Attorneys Can Help.
Auto theft is often considered a minor crime in Ohio, but the penalties can be quite severe. Car theft is a growing issue in Cincinnati, and if you face vehicle theft charges, you must take action to avoid the devastating consequences of a conviction.
An experienced Cincinnati auto theft attorney at Luftman, Heck & Associates can help prepare a compelling defense and negotiate for the best possible result. Contact attorney Groene for a free consultation and learn more about your options.
Call LHA at 513-338-1890 or submit a request online 24/7.
Auto Theft Law in Cincinnati, Ohio (ORC 2913.02)
Under Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 2913.02, you can be charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle when you intentionally deprive an owner of their vehicle without their consent and with threat, deception, or intimidation.
ORC 2913.02(B)(5) considers theft of a motor vehicle of any value the same as grand theft as a fourth-degree felony.
Vehicle Theft from a Protected Class or Use of Force
If the victim of auto theft is a protected class (active military service members, disabled individuals, and the elderly), charges could increase to a fifth-degree felony. Also, expect increased charges if you are accused of using force, with or without a deadly weapon. This could escalate grand theft auto charges to carjacking, which is far more severe.
Penalties for Auto Theft Charges in Ohio
The consequences of an auto theft conviction in Ohio are harsh. When you’re convicted of a fourth-degree felony for auto theft, you face up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $5,000. If there are aggravating factors, the penalties increase.
The Ohio penalties for auto theft are as follows:
- First-degree felony auto theft carries a prison term of up to 11 years and fines as high as $20,000
- Second-degree felonies carry up to eight years and fines as high as $15,000
- Third-degree felonies carry a prison term of up to five years and fines as high as $10,000
- Fourth-degree felony auto theft carries up to 18 months and fines as high as $5,000
Joyriding and Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
Ohio law also prohibits joyriding, which means using a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. Unlike thieves, joyriders usually don’t keep the vehicle indefinitely.
Joyriding, known as unauthorized use of a vehicle in Ohio, would apply in situations such as a child who takes a friend’s car without them knowing to pick up someone else.
Joyriding is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Other Consequences of an Auto Theft Conviction in Cincinnati
In addition to the criminal penalties associated with a Cincinnati car theft, there are additional ramifications you should expect. Some of the consequences of an auto theft conviction on your record include:
- Child custody/visitation – If you are found guilty of a felony in Ohio, it could have a devastating impact on your ability to retain custody or visitation of your child.
- A permanent criminal record – Your criminal record will permanently reflect an auto theft conviction. This could make it difficult for you to find employment, pass the background check, find housing, and otherwise rebuild your life post-conviction.
- Loss of firearm rights – If you are found guilty of a felony offense in Ohio, you will no longer be able to possess or own guns or other weapons.
- Immigration or citizenship issues – Those who are not U.S. citizens can face citizenship and immigration difficulties, including the denial of visa renewal, naturalization, or green card, or worse, deportation.
Further, you could also be ordered to complete a variety of court-ordered programs, including:
- Drug or alcohol treatment
- Driver retraining
- Community service
- Anger management
- Mental health counseling
- Probation requirements
A felony conviction for auto theft in Cincinnati will haunt you for years to come. Take steps to protect your future by preparing a powerful defense strategy.
Defending Against Cincinnati Vehicle Theft Charges
If you hope to avoid the harsh consequences of an auto theft conviction, working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is important. Generally, if there was no use of a deadly weapon or force, the auto theft crime may be considered a non-violent offense.
For a first-time offender, the prosecuting attorney may be willing to enter you into a pre-trial diversion program. If this happens, you can get the charges reduced or dismissed once you complete the terms of your program.
However, not everyone will be eligible for a pre-trial diversion program or plea agreement. If the prosecuting attorney opts to try your case, your best option may be to prepare a compelling defense.
Some car theft defenses that could be used include:
- Consent – You had permission to take the vehicle in question.
- Mistake of fact – You believed the vehicle you took was rightfully yours.
- Lack of intent- You did not intend to deprive the owner of their vehicle.
These are just a few common defenses used in Cincinnati auto theft cases. Your attorney will closely evaluate the circumstances of your case to determine how to best approach your defense strategy. If you have additional questions about your potential defense options, raise your concerns during your confidential consultation.
Contact Our Cincinnati Auto Theft Attorneys Today
If you’re arrested and accused of car theft in Cincinnati, it is not too late to secure a favorable outcome and clear your name. Reach out to an aggressive Cincinnati auto theft attorney at Luftman, Heck & Associates for a confidential consultation today.
Find out more about what defense strategies could help you get back to your life when you call our office or complete our secured contact form.