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Ohio Auto Theft Laws

Boosting cars or engaging in the crime of auto theft is portrayed as a cool thing to do in the pop culture world. There are even video game franchises devoted to this notion. However, life isn't a video game and if you run afoul of Ohio's auto theft laws, then you could be dealing with serious consequences including costly fines and possible incarceration.

Theft Laws in Ohio

If you're accused of stealing a car in Ohio, then you could be charged under Ohio's theft statute. Specifically, the offense is categorized as grand theft of a motor vehicle, a felony of the fourth degree which can be punishable by a fine of no more than $5000 and a prison term ranging from 6 months to 18 months. Like all of Ohio's theft offenses, if the victim of the vehicle theft is in the protected class, (which means that the victim is elderly, disabled, or active military), then the charge is elevated to a felony of the fifth degree. The crime could be further elevated and shift from a theft charge to a robbery charge if you display a use of force. For instance, if you take someone's car based on inflicting fear on them or by using actual violence or force, with or without a weapon, then the offense is akin to carjacking rather than auto theft and you could be charged with violating Ohio's robbery statute.

Ohio Auto Theft Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of state laws related to Ohio's auto theft laws, including links to important code sections.


Penalties and Sentencing

  • The penalty for grand theft of a motor vehicle is a felony in the fourth degree, unless the victim is elderly, disabled, or active military, then the offense is considered a felony of the fifth degree.
  • Penalty: fine not exceeding $5000 and prison sentence between 6- 18 months.

Possible Defenses

  • Consent
  • Mistake of fact
  • Lack of intent- did not intend to deprive the owner of the property permanently.

Related Offenses

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Ohio Auto Theft Laws: Related Resources

Discuss your Auto Theft Case with an Attorney

If you're facing auto theft charges in Ohio, then a conviction could greatly impact your life with possible prison time, fines, and damage to your permanent record and reputation. With so much on the line, you should consider discussing your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Use Findlaw's directory to find an attorney in your area.

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