Frederick County Theft Lawyer
The crime of theft involves one person taking property belonging to another without consent. Depending on the circumstances of the case, an individual can be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. Anyone who is charged or investigated for committing any sort of theft should speak with an experienced Frederick County theft lawyer as soon as possible in order to mount an effective defense.
Frederick Theft Lawyers Can Help With These Cases
The charges and penalties for all these crimes depend on the value of the items stolen. Felony theft concerns “money, property, or services” worth more than $1,000, while a misdemeanor involves a value of less than $1,000 [Maryland Annotated Code Section 7-104]. Felony and misdemeanor theft include several subcategories relative to the amount of money or goods stolen, and bring increasingly serious penalties. They include:
Misdemeanor theft of $500 or less brings a first offense penalty of up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500 [Section 7-104(g)(3)(i)]. If the value is $500 to $1,000, a jail sentence of up to 18 months is possible, though the same fine amount applies [Section 7-104(g)(2)(i)]. But sometimes, the circumstances of the crime could bring a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $5,000 [Section 7-104(g)(4)(iii)].
Felony theft of $1,000 to $10,000 results in a fine of up to $10,000 and/or no more than 10 years in prison [Section 7-104(g)(1)(i)]. If $10,000 to $100,000 of money or property is taken by the suspect, up to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $15,000 [Section 7-104(g)(1) (ii)] could be the penalty. And if over $100,000 is stolen, a conviction brings a maximum prison sentence of 15 years and/or a fine of up to $25,000 [Section 7-104(g)(1) (iii)].
Receiving-stolen-property charges also depend on the value of the property that is received or held by the suspect. A misdemeanor receiving charge brings a fine of up to $500 and a sentence of 90 days to 18 months. But felony punishments can result in fines of up to $2,500 and/or from 10 to 25 years in prison [Section 8-209]. And all who are convicted of any theft must either restore the property to the owner or pay full restitution.
Other Crimes Associated with Theft
The manner in which a theft occurs greatly influences both the charges and the penalties. The crime can be committed by a suspect who uses a weapon, or a pen or computer. Some thefts involve breaking and entering a home or business to steal property. So, even though the degree of any theft charge is influenced by the amount of money or goods stolen, serious crimes that might accompany the theft can result in additional, grave felony allegations. Those charged with of the following need the services of a seasoned Frederick County theft lawyer:
Armed robbery: This crime involves confrontation by an armed suspect against the victim. Conviction for this felony sends the violator to prison for up to 20 years [Section 3-403(b)]. Other factors, such as whether the suspect seriously injures or kills the victim, could bring even longer prison sentences of up to life.
Fraud and embezzlement: These white-collar crimes and can be committed in many ways. Theft by check [Sections 8-103 & 8-104] and eight different credit card fraud and theft-related offenses exist [Section Sections 8-201–8-209]. Two statutes apply to identity fraud/identity theft [Section 8-301-–8-303]. And there are times where a combination of any or all of the above charges can comprise a package of fraud or embezzlement indictments. Convictions depend on the offense and circumstances. They can bring as little as a year in jail, to more than 20 years in prison, along with six-figure fines and, of course, restitution.
Burglary: This combines theft with breaking and entering a home or business with the intent to steal property or money. It can also be charged if the suspect intends to commit another felony, such as kidnapping, arson, assault, a sex crime, or willful destruction of property [Sections 6-202 – 6-205]. Felony burglary brings prison sentences as high as 20 years. And if the suspect has a weapon, that conviction could bring a longer prison sentence. It is also a misdemeanor to break into an unoccupied motor vehicle, which brings a penalty of three years in prison [Section 6-206(c)].
Carjacking: This serious felony brings a prison sentence of up to 30 years [Section 3-405(d)]. Additionally, if the suspect is convicted of using a dangerous weapon while committing the crime, the charges may be elevated to “armed carjacking,” which can yield longer prison sentences.
Penalties for the above crimes and other ramifications of a theft conviction easily illustrate why an experienced Frederick County theft lawyer should be consulted in order to prepare an aggressive defense.