Charges involving theft, robbery or shoplifting can be more serious than you think. Call (301) 761-4842 to speak with an experienced attorney for a free consultation regarding your case.
Crimes of robbery are covered by Title 3, Subtitle 4 of the Maryland Criminal Law Code. If you’re found guilty of robbery, you’ll face a felony conviction as well as up to 15 years in prison, depending on the circumstances of your case.
State code Section 3-401 sets the definitions for terms related to robbery crimes. Robbery is defined as taking property away from another person through use of violence, force or the threat of violence or force. Code Section 3-401(d) defines property as “anything of value,” which includes but is not limited to the following:
- Real estate
- A commercial instrument
- A written document
- Anything growing
- Utilities, such as water, gas and electricity
- A pet
- Food and beverages
- Data and information
In order to be convicted of robbery, prosecution must prove that you intended to withhold the property of another individual permanently, for a period in which you extract value from the property, intending to only restore the property upon compensation, or to dispose of or hide the property so the owner can’t recover it. Since this can be subjective, it’s important to have an experienced Maryland robbery lawyer who will fight for your rights and build a strong case in your defense.
Armed robbery, as stated under Section 3-403, is defined as robbery with a dangerous weapon, or robbery with the threat of a weapon, such as a knife or firearm. The penalty associated with being found guilty of armed robbery is a felony conviction, as well as up to 20 years in prison.
Carjacking is covered by Section 3-405, which defines carjacking as taking unauthorized possession of a motor vehicle from another person through intimidation, threat, force or violence. This same subsection prohibits armed carjacking. It is not a valid defense to assert that you had no intention of depriving the owner of his or her vehicle permanently. The penalties associated with carjacking and armed carjacking are extremely serious, and include a felony conviction as well as up to 30 years in prison. This sentence can run consecutive to sentences for other crimes carried out during the carjacking.
Crimes of theft are covered by Title 7, Subtitle 1 of the Maryland criminal law code. According to Section 7-102, theft is a single crime that includes many separate crimes previously known as the following:
- Larceny after trust
- Larceny by trick
- False pretenses
- Receiving stolen property
In order to be charged with and convicted of theft, you must act knowingly. In other words, purchasing goods without realizing they had been stolen by their previous owner would not constitute an instance of receiving stolen property, for example. However, if you should have known the goods were stolen, this might also constitute sufficient evidence for a theft charge.
Section 7-103 outlines how value is determined in cases of theft. According to this code, value is defined as the market value of the services or property stolen where and when the crime occurred. If this value cannot be determined, the value is assumed to be the replacement value of the services or property within a reasonable time frame after the crime.
General Provisions and Penalties for Theft
Maryland criminal code Section 7-104 generally defines theft as “unauthorized control over property.” According to this code, it is illegal to intentionally deprive another individual of their property, to willfully or knowingly conceal, abandon or use that property in a way that deprives the other individual, to assume unauthorized control by deception, or to possess property knowing that it has been stolen.
Section 7-104(g) outlines the penalties associated with crimes of theft, which vary greatly depending on the determined value of the products or services stolen. Regardless of the value and the associated penalties, convicted offenders must pay the owner the value of the stolen property, or restore the property to the owner.
If the value of the products or services stolen is between $1,000.00 and $10,000.00, the penalty is a felony conviction as well as a fine of up to $10,000.00 and up to 10 years in prison.
If the value of the products or services stolen is between $10,000.00 and $100,000.00, the penalty is a felony conviction as well as a fine of up to $15,000.00 and up to 15 years in prison.
If the value of the products or services stolen is greater than $100,000.00, the penalty is a felony conviction as well as a fine of up to $25,000.00 and up to 25 years in prison.
Crimes of theft in which the value of the products or services stolen is less than $1,000.00 are treated as misdemeanors. In this case, the penalty is a fine of up to $500.00 and a jail sentence not to exceed 18 months. If the value is less than $100.00, the penalty is a fine of up to $500.00 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days. However, individuals with two prior convictions of theft under $1,000.00 can receive an additional misdemeanor, a fine of up to $5,000.00 and a jail term of up to five years upon their third conviction.
State criminal code Section 7-104(h) defines separate laws for theft involving failing to pay for motor vehicle fuel after dispensing. In this case, the court will suspend the individual’s driver’s license and notify the Motor Vehicle Administration.
Motor Vehicle Theft
Motor vehicle theft is covered by Maryland Criminal Law Code Section 7-105. According to subsection (b) of this section, it is prohibited to willfully and knowingly take a motor vehicle out of another individual’s lawful use, control or custody without consent.
The penalty for motor vehicle theft is a felony, as well as a fine of up to $5,000.00 and up to five years in prison. The guilty party must also restore the motor vehicle or pay the full value of the motor vehicle to the owner.
Defenses to Crimes of Theft
Section 7-110 outlines some of the possible defenses for crimes of theft. If one of these defenses is true of your case, it is likely that your case will be dismissed entirely:
- You honestly believed that you had the right to exert control over or obtain the property
- You acted under a good faith claim in assuming your rights to the property
- The property taken belonged to your spouse, unless you and your spouse were living in separate locations at the time of the alleged crime
- If you allegedly stole a trade secret, you already had rightful knowledge of that trade secret, or the trade secret was available from a source other than the owner pressing charges against you
How We Can Help
Whether they result in misdemeanors or felonies, alleged crimes of theft in Maryland must be taken very seriously. If convicted, you could seriously jeopardize your ability to obtain housing, employment, loans and other living necessities in the future. With the help of a qualified, experienced Maryland theft and robbery lawyer, you’ll have the best possible chance of receiving the most favorable potential outcome in court. Your defense attorney will examine every aspect of your case in order to build a strong defense, one that protects your constitutional rights and aims for the reduction of your charges or even the total dismissal of your case.