Baltimore Theft Lawyer
In Baltimore, Maryland, theft charges cover a variety of different offenses and can include anything from shoplifting a $10 item all the way up to taking a priceless painting. Depending on the item that is stolen, the penalties for theft could range anywhere from 90 days in jail to up to 25 years in prison. Convictions are also usually accompanied by restitution and possible monetary fines. Additionally, just like any other criminal charge, theft offenses in Baltimore are complex and involve a wide range of potential penalties making it important that if you accused you consult with a Baltimore theft lawyer who can help you understand the nuances of your charges and guide you through the criminal case process. Call today and schedule a consultation to discuss your case in more detail with a criminal attorney in Baltimore.
Baltimore Theft Lawyers Handle These Cases
In the past, there used to be many different laws such as larceny, auto theft, and shoplifting that made up Maryland’s theft statutes. These have since been joined together in Maryland’s consolidated theft law, which can be found in Section 7-102 of the criminal code. That means that instead of setting forth very specific types of theft in separate laws, one law covering multiple types of theft offenses was developed.
In general, theft is defined as the unlawful taking of the property of another, either through actual taking or through deception. The victim of the theft could be either a person or a business. Theft can also constitute being in possession of stolen property knowing that it has either been stolen or was most likely stolen. To learn more about the specific types of theft and the penalties associated with them contact a Baltimore theft lawyer.
What Is Considered Theft in Baltimore, MD?
Theft offenses in Baltimore can include any of the following, and more all of which warrant contact with a Baltimore theft attorney:
- Motor vehicle theft
- Purposefully writing a bad check for good or services
- Pick pocketing
- Bicycle theft
- Credit card theft
Theft is considered a nonviolent crime and does not include robbery, which involves the use of force or the threat of force to take the property of another and is defined in Section 3-401 of the code, or burglary, which is considered breaking into someone’s dwelling, storehouse, or car to steal or to commit a crime and is defined in Section 6-202. Embezzlement is a separate crime, but is similar and involves someone in a trusted capacity using their position to take money in a way that is in opposition to the trusted position that they hold.
The specific charge for theft would depend on the fair market value of the item that is alleged to have been stolen. You can be charged with theft for stealing any item, even something which would normally only be worth a few dollars all the way to stealing a $60,000 luxury car.
Writing Bad Checks Can Be Theft in Baltimore
While many people already know that stealing money from a wallet or stealing a motorcycle that doesn’t belong to them is considered theft, there are other more obscure activities that could lead to a theft charge. Under Section 7-107 of the code, if someone writes a bad check, thereby claiming that there is money in their account when they know there isn’t, that person can be prosecuted for theft rather than fraud. Switching the price tags on items in a store so that the item you buy is rung up at a lower price also counts as theft. Additionally, eating at a restaurant and leaving without paying or pumping gas and driving away both count as theft. Theft could also involve the taking of services, not just of money or property, as in the case of a cab ride for which the passenger decides not to pay. Each of these are considered theft offenses and can lead to penalties such as fines and potentially time in jail. For this reason it is important if you are accused you consult with a theft lawyer in Baltimore immediately.
Penalties for Theft in Baltimore
The sentence that someone receives for a theft conviction depends on that value of what was stolen and whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor theft charges are broken down into theft of items worth under $100 or under $1,000. Felony theft charges are split up into theft of items valued at between $1,000 and $10,000, between $10,000 and $100,000, and over $100,000.
The sentences that someone could be facing for theft are:
- Up to $100 – up to 90 days in jail and up to a $500 fine
- Under $1,000 – Up to 18 months in jail and up to a $500 fine
- Between $1,000 and $10,000 – Up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- Between $10,000 and $100,000 – Up to 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine
- More than $100,000 – Up to 25 years in prison and a $25,000 fine
- Motor Vehicle Theft – five years in prison and $5,000
In addition to any fines and jail time, no matter what level of theft charge someone is facing, they will also need to either give the stolen property back to the owner or pay the owner the value of the property. Therefore if accused consult with a theft lawyer in Baltimore immediately to discuss your case.
A Baltimore Theft Lawyer Can Help
In order to have the best chance at avoiding these consequences, if you are charged with a theft offense in Baltimore, Maryland you should contact a Baltimore theft attorney who can help defend you against the charges. A lawyer will be able to investigate the specific circumstances surrounding your case and help develop the strongest defense possible. Call today to schedule a free consultation with a Baltimore theft lawyer.