Garrett County Theft Lawyer
In Garret County, Maryland, there are several different types of theft, primarily classified by the value of the property stolen, and whether a weapon was used during the offense. Felony theft occurs when over $1,000 worth of goods or services are stolen. Penalties for serious theft crimes can follow you for many years. This is why you need a Garrett County theft lawyer to protect you from these charges. The sooner you do this, the sooner an aggressive defense can be mounted.
An Overview of Common Maryland Theft Charges
There are several levels of theft in Maryland. They include:
- Misdemeanor theft ($500 or less): A first offense carries penalties of up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500 [Maryland Annotated Code Section 7-104(g)(3)(i)]. Most shoplifting charges fall under this category.
- Misdemeanor theft ($500-$1,000) The same fine, but a jail sentence of up to 18 months is possible: [Section 7-104(g)(2)(i)].
A third conviction for misdemeanor theft violation, regardless of the amount stolen, brings a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $5,000 [ 7-104(g)(4)(i)].
- Felony theft ($1,000 to $10,000): Theft of property valued between $1,000 and $10, 000. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison [7-104(g)(1)(i)].
- Felony theft ($10,000 to $100,000): Theft of property valued between $10,000 and $100,000. Conviction brings up to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $15,000 [7-104(g)(1)(ii)].
- Felony theft (over $100,000): A maximum prison sentence of 15 years and/or a fine of $25,000 for theft of over $100,000: [7-104(g)(1)(iii)].
All who are convicted of any theft must either restore the property to the owner or pay full restitution.
Robbery in Garrett County
Robbery is defined as the intentional taking of property (money, goods or services) of another by force or threat of force in which the suspect tries to permanently deprive the owner of the property or use the property that is stolen.
If it is committed (or attempted) without the use of a weapon, this felony conviction brings a prison sentence of up to 15 years [Section 3-402].
Armed robbery on the other hand is a more serious charge as it involves the use of a firearm or other deadly weapon, or the suspect claims to have such a weapon.
Those found guilty of armed robbery face a more serious felony penalty of up to 20 years in prison: [Section 3-403(b)]
Carjacking is another crime that falls under Maryland robbery statutes, with penalties similar to armed robbery due to the fact that often, a weapon is used by the suspect, and assault usually occurs. The penalty can be up to 20 years in prison [Section 3-405(d)].
Burglary in Garrett County
This crime is divided into four degrees. The first three are felonies. And if the suspect is armed, longer penalties apply to the assault
- First-degree burglary occurs when the unarmed offender breaks into a home, business, or hotel room and takes money or valuable items. The penalty is up to 20 years in prison. However, suspects convicted of home invasion can receive a sentence of up to 25 years [Section 6-202].
- Second-degree burglary occurs when an unarmed suspect enters a business, house, or other secure area and intends to commit a violent crime, theft, or arson. This penalty can be up to 15 years in prison [Section 6-203].
- When an unarmed offender breaks into a dwelling with the intent to commit any crime, the act is classified as third-degree burglary and can lead to 10 years in prison [Section 6-204].
- Fourth-degree burglary is viewed as a “crime of opportunity.” This misdemeanor occurs when the unarmed offender enters a residential building, office, or storehouse, initially not intending to steal anything, but then takes money or property. It can also occur if the suspect comes onto another’s property and steals items on the grounds, like a barbeque grill or lawn mower. The possession of burglary tools can also result in a fourth-degree burglary charge [Section 6-205]
Common Law Larceny was abolished by the Maryland Legislature and written into what we now know as the Theft Statutes. While theft is broadly defined, charges can include embezzlement, theft by false pretenses, and receiving stolen property. Punishment is determined by the monetary value of the items involved, which determines whether any of these crimes can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.
If you’re facing any of the above charges, a Garrett County theft lawyer might be able to help you avoid a conviction can follow you for many years. If your attorney is successful, you could keep your freedom, avoid a fine, and keep your criminal record clean. This means you’ll still be able to get a good job, attain security clearances and, if you receive state or federal public assistance, be able to continue receiving those benefits.