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Criminal Defense, Internet Crimes, Theft Crimes

Ohio Theft Law and the Criminal Implications of TikTok’s “Devious Lick” Trend

What is the “Devious Lick” Theft Trend on TikTok?

TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform across the globe. The video-sharing application allows users to post short videos that are paired with music. On September 1, 2021, user Jugg4elias posted a TikTok video of a box of disposable masks which were claimed to have been stolen from the user’s school. The caption of the video read “A month into school… devious lick.” Within two days, the since-deleted video ranked 2.7 million views. Despite its deletion, the video has influenced thousands of students across the country to steal various items from their schools and post accordingly on TikTok.

Originally starting with masks, hand-soap dispensers became the next most-popular choice to steal. Since then, the value of stolen items has increased substantially to the likes of printers, SmartBoards, exit signs, sinks, and bathroom stall doors. Some users have even uploaded videos in which they attempt to steal a toilet. Additionally, schools have also suffered broken mirrors, lights, and windows due to this trend.

Is the Devious Lick Trend Stopping Anytime Soon?

Within weeks of its birth, TikTok announced the removal of all videos related to the devious lick trend and eliminated the hashtag from its interface. TikTok has also redirected relevant hashtags and search results to its Community Guidelines page and announced that repeat offenders may be banned from the platform.

Schools across America are closing down their public restrooms in an attempt to minimize property loss and have begun internal disciplinary actions as well as legal proceedings. Destruction of property and vandalism charges have been brought along with theft charges.

While the general public is becoming more aware of the destructive trend and taking preventative measures, students continue to find ways to post their videos under different hashtags such as #dispicablelick, #mischievouslick, and #diabolicallick. Still, schools and law enforcement have been clear that they are taking this trend very seriously and will continue to respond with strong disciplinary and legal action.

Theft Law in Ohio

Under Ohio law, theft occurs when one knowingly obtains or exerts control over another person’s property or services by unlawful means with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property or service. Taking another’s property is unlawful when it is without the owner’s consent, beyond the scope of the owner’s permission, by deception, by threat, or by intimidation. If the value of the property stolen is less than $1,000 it is considered petty theft which is a misdemeanor offense. In Ohio, petty theft is punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail, however, felony theft in Ohio is much more serious.

Fifth-Degree Felony Theft in Ohio occurs when the value of the stolen property or services is between $1,000 and $7,500. A theft can also be a fifth-degree felony if the property taken is a negotiable instrument such as a credit or debit card, check, a vehicle license plate, a blank vehicle title form, or a blank driver’s license form.

  • The maximum penalties for a fifth-degree felony theft are fines up to $2,500 and a term of prison between 6 and 12 months.

Fourth-Degree Felony Theft in Ohio, also known as Grand Theft, occurs when the value of the property or services is between $7,500 and $150,000. A theft can also be a fourth-degree felony if the property taken is a motor vehicle or a dangerous drug.

  • The maximum penalties for a fourth-degree felony theft are fines up to $5,000 and a term of prison between 6 and 18 months.

Third-Degree Felony Theft in Ohio, also known as Aggravated Theft, occurs when the value of the property or services is worth more than $150,000 but less than $750,000. A theft can also be a third-degree felony if the property taken is a firearm, or anhydrous ammonia (a toxic gas or liquid that is corrosive to tissues upon contact).

  • The maximum penalties for a third-degree felony theft are fines up to $10,000 and a term of prison between 12 and 36 months.

Second-Degree Felony Theft in Ohio, also known as Aggravated Theft, occurs when the value of the property is between $750,000 and $1,500,000.

  • The maximum penalties for a second-degree felony theft are fines up to $15,000 and a term of prison between 2 and 8 years.

First-Degree Felony Theft in Ohio, also known as Aggravated Theft, occurs when the value of the property is more than $1,500,000.

  • The maximum penalties for a first-degree felony theft are fines up to $20,000 and a term of prison between 3 and 11 years.
Brad Wolfe is an experienced Cleveland Theft Crimes defense lawyer. If you have been charged with a Theft Crime, or are under investigation, please call (216) 815-6000 to speak with Brad today.
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