In Maryland, theft crimes encompass a wide range of criminal offenses, including shoplifting, robbery, burglary, and carjacking. The penalties associated with theft can vary greatly and depend on the value of the property involved. When you face these charges, contacting a Waldorf theft lawyer should be a priority.
Although you might think you can fight the theft charge on your own, this can be a recipe for disaster. Even minor offenses can carry heavy penalties, including a criminal record that could damage your reputation and impact other facets of your personal life. When a landlord or future employer runs a background check, the conviction could affect your ability to secure a job or housing. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you fight the accusation and preserve your future.
Types of Theft Charges in Maryland
In Maryland, theft is defined as the unlawful control over another person’s property, with the intent to deny use to the owner. Having this “intent” is a crucial element of any theft offense. Without the intent to steal, prosecutors cannot convict someone of theft. Some common examples of theft include:
- Fraud (credit card, bank, or wire)
- Car theft
Challenging a theft conviction involves proving the property did not rightfully belong to the other person or that the accused did not intend to deprive the owner of the property. Aside from these defenses, someone charged with theft can assert constitutional challenges to evidence. The state must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. A skilled Waldorf theft attorney will hold the state to this high standard.
Penalties for Theft Offenses
Someone convicted of theft can face various potential penalties, including spending time in prison or paying restitution to the victim. Different factors weigh into the sentencing for theft offenses, including the specific charge, the value of the stolen property, and the person’s criminal history. A Waldorf lawyer could further explain the potential penalties for a theft offense and build a tailored defense.
Misdemeanor theft convictions usually involve less jail time and lower fines than felonies. These charges involve theft of property less than $1,500. The value of the property typically determines the sentence, unless it is a repeat offense. For example:
- Property less than $100: up to ninety days in jail and a fine of up to $100
- Property valued above $100 but below $1,500: up to six months in jail and a $500 fine
The penalties associated with felony theft convictions are much more serious, including lengthy prison sentences and steep fines. For example:
- Property valued at $1,500 to $24,999: a maximum five-year prison sentence and up to $10,000 in fines
- Property valued at $25,000 to $99,999: up to ten years in prison and fines of up to $15,000
- Over $100,000: up to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000
Working with a theft attorney in Waldorf on an airtight defense is critical when the stakes are this high.
Get in Touch with a Waldorf Theft Attorney
Prosecutors in Maryland take theft crimes seriously. You stand a much better chance at effectively fighting these charges with help from a Waldorf theft lawyer. A skilled attorney can advocate for your rights and work to preserve your future.
Do not face the penalties and potential implications of a criminal conviction alone. Contact our law firm to learn more about your options for defending against the charges.