Carroll County Theft Lawyer
Regardless of the value of the stolen item, theft is a very serious crime in Maryland. Under Section 7-104 of the Maryland Code, theft is when a person “obtain[s] or exert[s] unauthorized control” over a piece of property or service that belongs to another person.
Because a conviction for the crime of theft in Maryland stays on a person’s criminal record, anyone suspected or charged with the crime of theft should speak to a Carroll County theft lawyer. An experienced criminal attorney could help you evaluate all of your legal options and make sure you have a strong defense prepared.
Categorizing Theft Offenses
In order to be convicted of theft in Maryland then a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person took something from another person, business, or other entity without their consent. For the most part, the severity of the crime depends on the value of the property or service that was allegedly stolen. Please note, however, that under Maryland criminal law on theft a person must return the stolen property or services to its rightful owner, regardless of its value.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Theft Crimes
If the theft of stolen property or stolen services is valued between $100 and $500, a successful conviction will result in a misdemeanor theft offense punishable by imprisonment up to 90 days, a fine of up to $500, or both. A person convicted of theft valued between $500 and $1,000 could be imprisoned for up to 18 months, fined up to $500, or both. Without any other aggravating factors, theft under $1,000 is a misdemeanor under Maryland criminal law.
Felony Theft Consequences
A conviction for felony theft valued between $1,000 and $10,0000 could result in imprisonment of up to ten years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. A conviction or theft between $10,000 and $100,000 is a felony and can result in even steeper consequences with the possibility of being incarcerated for up to 15 years or paying a fine of up to $15,000. A person who is convicted of theft valued at over $100,000 is considered guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment of up to 20 years, a fine up to $25,000, or both. It could be critical for that person to speak with a Carroll County theft lawyer about their case.
Defining Possible Aggravating Factors
The value of the goods or services stolen from the other person, business, or entity is not the only factor in determining the punishment for theft. Here are some other factors that can increase the amount of jail time or fines:
- Theft of a motor vehicle
- Writing bad checks, or creating counterfeit checks
- Previous theft convictions, or other convictions on criminal record
- If the theft was part of a larger scheme that included other crimes, such as assault
Consulting with a Carroll County Theft Attorney
With a prison sentence of up to 25 years, the consequences of a successful theft conviction are ominous. If you have been charged with theft in Maryland, then you should speak to a Carroll County theft lawyer who can advise you about all of your legal options and help you prepare for your defense.