Washington County Theft Lawyer
The crime of theft involves taking property belonging to another without consent. It can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Anyone who is alleged to have committed any sort of theft should speak with an experienced Washington County theft lawyer as soon as possible in order to mount an effective defense.
The charges and penalties for all theft-related crimes depend on the value of the items stolen. Felony theft concerns “money, property or services” worth more than $1,000 while misdemeanor theft involves less than $1,000: [Maryland Annotated Code Section 7-104].
Theft Penalties in Washington County
There are several degrees (and penalties) for theft. They include:
- 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 [Section 7-104(g)(3)(i)].
- 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)]. In some instances, 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 ($1,000 – $10,000): A fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison [Section 7-104(g)(1)(i)].
- Felony theft ($10,000 – $100,000): Up to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $15,000 [Section 7-104(g)(1) (ii)].
- Felony theft (over $100,000): A maximum prison sentence of 15 years and/or a fine of $25,000 [Section 7-104(g)(1) (iii)].
All who are convicted of any theft must either restore the property to the owner or pay full restitution.
Other Theft Crimes in Washington Couny
Theft can be committed in a variety of ways. In some instances, the suspect uses a weapon, and in others a pen or computer. Others break into a home or business to steal property. And though the degree of any theft is determined by the amount of money or goods stolen, most of the time the following crimes are charged as felonies. Anyone who is charged with any of the following theft-related felonies needs the services of a seasoned Washington County theft lawyer.
- Armed robbery: Though viewed as a “property” crime, it is also a crime against a person because it is committed face to face, and 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 are commonly viewed as white-collar crimes and can be committed in many ways. Theft by check can be charged under either of the following statutes [Section 8-103 or Section 8-104]. There are eight different credit card fraud and theft-by-credit card offenses [Sections 8-201 – 8-209]. Two statutes apply to identity fraud/theft offenses [Sections 8-301 – 8-303]. More than one charge for any of the above crimes can be brought. Convictions depend on the offense and circumstances. They can range from a year to more than 20 years, along with fines and restitution.
Many frauds that involve criminal enterprises or those that have victims in multiple states can be prosecuted under federal white-collar crime statutes. Crimes such as healthcare, computer, insurance and securities fraud are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies (for example, the FBI, SEC, or FDIC). Conviction often brings prison sentences that are much more serious than those handed down in state courts.
- Burglary: This offense involves the crimes of theft and 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, assault, a sex crime, or arson, or to willfully destroy property [Sections 6-202 – 6-205]. Felony burglary brings prison sentences as high as 20 years. And if the suspect uses a weapon, enhancements could add to the prison time. It is also a misdemeanor to break into an unoccupied motor vehicle. The penalty is 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)] due to its violent nature and the fact that a weapon is often used. Other accompanying felonies can enhance the prison sentence.
- 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].
How a Washington County Theft Lawyer Can Help
Penalties for the above crimes and other ramifications of a serious theft conviction easily illustrate why an experienced Washington County theft lawyer should be consulted in order to prepare an aggressive defense.