Arundel Mills Theft Lawyer
Theft as a singular charge is a property crime with no physical injuries to another person, but it is classified as a dishonest crime, which is among those that can have the greatest impact on your future following a conviction.
Dishonest crimes or breach of trust crimes typically references acts that resulted in another person being cheated or defrauded, or taking property from another person in violation of criminal statute. It is difficult to remain employed if regular background checks are completed, to obtain employment, or to secure or maintain security clearance, when there is a criminal conviction for a dishonest crime.
While all criminal records can be negatively perceived, only violent crimes are perceived more negatively than dishonest crimes because they are considered a direct reflection of an individual’s personal integrity. If you have been charged with theft, it is imperative that you are represented by an experienced Arundel Mills theft lawyer, who can build a strong defense to the charges.
Theft Laws in Maryland
Maryland’s criminal statute defines theft as taking unauthorized control of property that you intend to permanently deprive the owner of or that you use, conceal, or abandon, which results in the owner being deprived of it. The property being recovered would not alter the charge as long as those elements were met at the time that it was taken. In Arundel Mills, theft includes larceny, larceny by trick, larceny after trust, shoplifting, false pretenses, embezzlement, and receiving stolen property. Identity fraud can also be considered a form of theft.
Robbery, burglary, and other crimes that involve theft, but include the use of a weapon, entering someone’s home, or resulted in injury to the property owner are charged separately and often in addition to a theft charge. As a result, the penalties a person may face are very serious. In these cases, speaking with a lawyer skilled in handling theft charges becomes increasingly important.
Penalties for a Theft Conviction
Theft in Arundel County is classified as either a misdemeanor offense or felony theft. When the value of the property taken is less than $100, it is a misdemeanor offense and is generally not punishable with more than 90 days incarceration, a fine that does not exceed $500, or both. If the value of the item taken is more than $100, but less than $1,000, it constitutes a more serious misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine up to $5,000, or both.
When the value of the property stolen does not exceed $10,000, but is more than $1,000, the charge would be felony theft. This is punishable with a fine of $10,000 or less, 10 years incarceration, or both. Taking property valued at less than $100,000, but greater than $10,000 also constitutes felony theft. The penalty is a fine that does not exceed $15,000, up to 15 years imprisonment, or both. If the value of the theft exceeds $100,000, the defendant is guilty of felony theft, which is punishable with up to 25 years incarceration, a fine that does not exceed $25,000, or both.
Every theft conviction also requires repayment for services taken or restoration of property to the owner. Consult with an Arundel Mills attorney when facing theft charges, so as to avoid or mitigate these penalties.
Potential Defense to a Theft Charge
The potential penalties associated with a theft conviction can be steep, so it is crucial to work with a skilled lawyer who can build a strong defense. One potential defense in a theft case is mistaken identity. Alleged incidents of theft often happen quickly. The complaining witness may have mistaken the defendant for another person.
An attorney could also help an individual show that the allegedly stolen property belonged to the defendant. It is impossible for a person to steal something that they own. This defense may be feasible in situations where two people purchased an item together while they were roommates or in a relationship.
The prosecution bears the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt. As such, a strong defense strategy will likely involve pointing out weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence. It is best to reach out to a lawyer soon after charges are filed to begin discussing potential defense strategies.
How an Arundel Mills Theft Attorney Can Help
If convicted, the penalties for theft can be serious. Any conviction, even for misdemeanor theft, is significant because it will last on a person’s criminal record. Consult an experienced Arundel Mills theft attorney for help in protecting your freedom and your future.