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As Christmas draws closer, many Ohio parents receive lengthy wishlists from their children. When money is tight, some parents may wonder how they will afford everything their kids want for Christmas. In some situations, a parent might turn to petty theft. However, theft can have serious consequences and it is important for people to understand what these are.

The severity of theft usually depends on the value of the item a person stole. According to FindLaw, people usually commit petty theft when they take goods worth less than $1,000. Most of the time, this offense is considered a misdemeanor. Many courts also consider what kind of item a person took. Theft charges can be more serious as the value of the items increases. if a parent steals gifts worth more than $1,000, he or she might face grand theft charges.

Sometimes an offense may become more serious if a person steals from people in a protected class. The State of Ohio says that a protected class includes disabled and elderly people. Additionally, active-duty members of the military are usually also part of this protected class. Many parents may not intend to steal from these people. However, if parents take packages off of front porches, they may not realize they are stealing from one of these people until later. When a person steals from someone in this protected class, he or she might face fifth-degree felony charges.

Most of the time, a parent might have to pay to replace the items he or she stole. However, petty theft can also have long-lasting consequences. People may lose their driver’s license for at least six months. Sometimes a court may also order a person to perform community service.