In the state of Maryland, the legal definition of theft covers a wide range of offenses, ranging from shoplifting to carjacking. Some forms of theft, however, are far more common than others, and the penalty for a conviction can lead to years behind bars or massive fines.
If you have been charged with any type of theft, it is immensely important to hire a Maryland theft lawyer who understands the law and is willing to fight for you.
Theft is a criminal offense and the court system takes any charge of theft seriously. It can be remarkably difficult to defend against charges of theft, but it can be done and you can reclaim your life and reputation in the process. It is impossible to guarantee a particular legal outcome, but your chances of getting your theft charges dropped or reduced will improve with a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side.
Theft is defined as any “unauthorized control over property” in Maryland Criminal Code § 7-104. In other words, theft is exercising control over any good or service without the permission of its rightful owner. There are numerous types of theft, including:
In court, a skilled Maryland theft attorney will be tasked with proving either the property or service in question does not rightfully belong to the alleged victim or the defendant did not take the property or service in question at all. There may also be cases where a property or service is given to a person but the original owner changes their mind later on and decides to press charges.
If a person is convicted of theft, they will face a variety of penalties. In general, factors such as the value of the allegedly stolen property or service and the matter in which it was stolen will carry the most weight in regards to sentencing. Regardless of the price of an item or service, a person usually is ordered to compensate the rightful owner if they are convicted.
A conviction for a misdemeanor theft charge will usually result in a smaller fine and shorter jail sentence. Any stolen property or service valued at less than $1,000 but more than $100 can result in up to a year and a half in jail and a fine of up to $500. Properties and services valued under $100 can result in misdemeanor charges and up to 90 days in jail and fine of up to $500.
If a person is charged with stealing property or service valued between $1,000 and $10,000, they will face felony consequences if convicted. A conviction for a felony theft charge can result in up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000, depending on the price of the stolen goods or services. Auto theft, armed robbery, and credit card fraud are examples of felony theft charges. Our skilled attorneys in Maryland could help someone further understand the differences between a misdemeanor and felony theft charge.
Fighting back against a theft charge may seem overwhelming at times, but it is necessary if you wish to preserve your future, freedom, and standing in the community. Hiring a theft attorney is your first step to fighting back, and you must do so once you understand you have been charged with theft.
The penalties for theft can be steep, and often, they can be life-altering in the worse way possible. Contact a Maryland theft lawyer now to discuss your case and craft a strategy to avoid these steep penalties.
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