Stealing Street Signs is a More Serious Crime than You May Think

Criminal Mischief

March 2, 2016

It’s common to see a street sign, stop sign, or construction sign in a college dorm, fraternity house, or apartment. Chances are that if you went to college, you’ve seen at least one of these during your time there. Have you ever wondered where those signs come from though? Is there a novelty sign store where you can purchase old signs or are they taken straight off the street?

Stealing a street sign may not seem like a big deal but on second thought, it can have very serious consequences. Signs are posted for a reason and removing them can cause injury or even death. For example, taking down a road sign can cause confusion for emergency vehicles and the lack of a construction zone sign can put people in harm who are unaware of the possible risks. A missing stop sign or railroad crossing can result in fatal car accidents.

In the state of Ohio, street signs are public property and the theft public property is a misdemeanor of the third degree. This charge can be increased if the theft results in an accident and you are found liable. It can then range from criminal mischief to felony manslaughter. The type of sign can also have an effect in the penalty that is sentenced. Even if you see a sign at a yard sale or flea market, it is recommended to not buy it and walk away. In Ohio, the purchase, possession and sale of road signs is illegal. In fact, even just owning a stop sign in Ohio is punishable with fines and even incarceration.

If you or a friend has been arrested or involved in criminal mischief, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder will look at every aspect of your case to get the charges reduced or even dismissed entirely.