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How long do stores get to contact you for shoplifting?

Brunswick, OH |

If it happened more than three weeks ago what is the likely hood of you getting contacted by the police for shoplifting? How long does a store get to report you?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You have not provided enough information to answer. Did the police come? Did they take a statement form store management? Did store management indicate they want to press charges? Were you arrested or given a summons to appear. Did they recover the merchandise?

    The statute of limitations on petty theft is around 2 years. So they have a lot of time.

    Good luck.

    Legal disclaimer: I am not your attorney and we have no attorney/client relationship. This response is submitted for informational purposes only. This is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be taken as such. Anyone considering the above referenced situation should always consult an attorney within your jurisdiction before taking any action based on this, or any other information.


  2. The time in which they have to file charges is two years. Usually Brunswick city files there charges within a few weeks of the incident after the prosecutor has reviewed the evidence. Sometimes it takes longer if the prosecutor requests additional evidence and / or the store is delayed in submitting same.


  3. The short answer to your question is that STORES TECHNICALLY HAVE UP TO TWO YEARS TO HAVE CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED AGAINST YOU. In normal circumstances, however, you should probably receive a summons in the mail and news of a Misdemeanor Theft charge within 2 months.

    The only time frame required by law is the Statute of Limitations for criminal prosecutions. If the property involved is less than $500, the crime is Theft, a Misdemeanor 1. Under O.R.C. 2901.13(A)(1)(b), that prosecution has to be started within 2 years of the date all this happened.

    There is no time frame imposed on the store because it is a business, versus just an individual citizen. And while a large chain store (like WalMart, Home Depot, etc.) might have a corporate "policy" of prosecuting within a certain period of time, that policy is of no use to you. For instance, if the corporate policy were that all shoplifting charges must be filed within 90 days and they charge you 8 months later, you could not successfully raise that fact in order to get the charges dismissed. The Prosecutor would simply remind the Judge that the store has 2 years to file the charges and you were only at 8 months.

    I think you will be contacted by the police shortly about this. The best advice would be to find an experienced criminal defense attorney NOW -- don't wait until you get charged! And for goodness sake, DO NOT MAKE A STATEMENT, whether in-person, over the phone, or in writing of any kind! A good lawyer should be able to negotiate this charge into something like Disorderly Conduct so you won't be punished when you apply for jobs, loans, etc. It's well worth your money, believe me!

    I hope this has helped answer your question. Good luck in this case!

    Atty. Dennis A. DiMartino
    1032 Boardman-Canfield Rd., Ste. 103
    Youngstown, OH 44512-4238
    Phone 330.629.9030 Ext. 111
    FAX 330.629.9036
    Dennis.DiMartino@gmail.com

    The above information is shared for educational and discussion purposes only. No Attorney-Client relationship is intended or established through your reliance on the information provided. If your legal rights could be impacted by using this information, you are urged to seek legal counsel before taking action. Atty. Dennis A. DiMartino 1032 Boardman-Canfield Road Suite 103 Youngstown, OH 44512-4238 330.629.9030 Ext. 111 Phone 330.629.9036 FAX Dennis.DiMartino@gmail.com

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