Howard County Theft Attorney
In Maryland, theft is defined as illegally taking property belonging to another without their freely given consent. Due to the penalties and what a conviction can do to one’s criminal record, anyone accused of committing such a crime in Howard County should speak with an experienced Howard County theft lawyer as soon as possible.
Theft charges and penalties are determined by the value of the items stolen. Felony theft concerns property or services worth more than $1,000, while misdemeanor theft involves less than $1,000 [Maryland Annotated Code Section 7-104].
Howard County Theft Lawyers Handle These Cases
Misdemeanor Theft in Howard County
There are several penalties for theft including:
- Misdemeanor theft ($500 or less): A first offense has penalties of up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.
- Misdemeanor theft ($500–$1,000): The same fine, but a jail sentence of up to 18 months is possible.
A third 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 [M.A.C. 7-104(g)(2)].
Penalties for Felony Theft in Howard County
- Felony theft ($1,000–$10,000): A fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison.
- Felony theft ($10,000–$100,000): Up to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $15,000.
- Felony theft (over $100,000): A maximum prison sentence of 15 years and/or a fine of $25,000.
All who are convicted of any theft must either restore the property to the owner or pay full restitution.
Other Theft Crimes Handled by Howard County Theft Lawyers
Theft comes in many forms. Some are crimes of violence. Others can be sophisticated “white collar” offenses done with a pen or computer. Those facing theft allegations can benefit from a seasoned Howard County criminal lawyer who is adept at mounting effective defense strategies that fit the offense, such as:
Armed robbery: A crime of violence where the suspect uses a weapon. Conviction for this felony sends the violator to prison for up to 20 years: [Section 3-403(b)].
Fraud and embezzlement: These white-collar crimes come in many forms, from issuing bad checks [Section 8-103 and Section 8-104] to many forms of credit card fraud/theft [Sections 8-201 – 8-209] to identity fraud/theft [Sections 8-301–8-303]. Felony convictions can range from a year to over 20 years, depending on the charge, the amount stolen, and the type (and number) of victims. Many frauds can be prosecuted in federal court under its white-collar crime statutes. Crimes such as health care, computer, insurance, and securities fraud are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies (for example, the FBI and SEC).
Burglary: This offense involves breaking into a home or business with the intent to steal and/or commit another crime (such as kidnapping, assault, or a sex crime) [Sections 6-202 – 205]. Felony convictions can bring prison sentences as high as 20 years. Breaking into a motor vehicle is a misdemeanor and brings a penalty of three years in prison [Section 6-206(c)]. In instances where burglary is committed along with another crime, primarily a felony, penalties for the underlying offenses can be added to the prison sentence to increase the time that must be served.
Carjacking: This serious felony brings a prison sentence of up to 30 years [Section 3-405(d)].
Receiving stolen property: The value of the property that is received or held by the suspect determines the sentence. A misdemeanor charge brings a fine of up to $500 and a sentence of 90 days to 18 months. Felony punishments can result in fines of up to $2,500 and/or prison sentences of 10 to 25 years: [Section 8-209]
Advantages of Having a Howard County Theft Lawyer
A theft conviction, regardless of whether it’s a felony or misdemeanor, can remain on your criminal record for many years. Those who violate Maryland’s theft laws could find it difficult to find (and keep) a good job or security clearance.
This is why an experienced Howard County theft lawyer should be immediately consulted as you prepare to defend yourself. Seasoned criminal lawyers know how to investigate theft allegations and prepare the proper defense to lessen the impact on your life when charged with any Maryland or federal theft crime.