Anne Arundel County Shoplifting Lawyer
Although the term might be a little misleading, shoplifting is a criminal offense in the state of Maryland. It may carry a penalty of jail time and it is a crime of moral turpitude, which means that it can have consequences beyond jail time and probation. It can impact whether you are able to apply for certain jobs, certain licenses, or your immigration status. An Anne Arundel County theft lawyer can assist you in navigating the perils and help you navigate the tricky situation.
Shoplifting Charges in Anne Arundel County
Shoplifting is the taking of an item from any store, or other entities like a store, without permission to take that item and with the intent to permanently deprive the store of it. Shoplifting and larceny are the same thing in Anne Arundel County. There is actually not a specific larceny charge. All theft charges are under the same criminal article 7104, which covers misdemeanor and felony allegations.
Possible Penalties if a Person is Convicted of Shoplifting
Penalties for shoplifting in can include jail time, periods of probation, and restitution. In order to avoid these penalties, it is wise to consult with a local Anne Arundel shoplifting attorney. Shoplifting can be considered a felony, but it depends on the amount of money that is involved. If the shoplifting involves an amount over $1,000.00, then it would be considered a felony. If it is under $1,000.00, it would be considered a misdemeanor.
Penalties for Repeat Offenses
A first time offender usually will not do jail time in a minor shoplifting case. Second or third time offenders may see jail time from certain judges. In a second time offender case, while the offense may be minor, the conduct is not isolated. It has happened before, which puts the court on alert that a person might not have learned their lesson the first time, so a more serious consequence, like incarceration, is necessary for that individual to learn that shoplifting is illegal and will not be tolerated.
Probation or Reduced Sentences
Shoplifting cases in Anne Arundel County, depending on the amount and depending on the person’s criminal history, can be resolved by way of something called diversion in most counties in the State of Maryland. Diversion is an opportunity that the state gives to the defense provided there are no exacerbating circumstances in the case. It can allow a person to do community service or some other act in exchange for a dismissal of the case against them. Those kinds of resolutions are available to people with a clean record who might have made one mistake. The prosecutors would still keep a record of the case in their office so that a person could not come back on a second or third offense and be treated like it was their first.
Additionally, if a person was not offered diversion in a more serious shoplifting case, for example, the defense might utilize other options such as having the individual pay back restitution to the store to compensate for the damages that they suffered as a result of the crime. This might persuade the court to grant the person accused a more favorable disposition like no jail time, a period of probation, or even something called a probation before judgment (PBJ), which gives a person an option of ultimately having the shoplifting charges taken off their record completely, provided the incident remains isolated. They would not have an immediate conviction on their record as long as they continue to stay out of trouble and abide by the conditions laid out by the court.
How an Anne Arundel County Shoplifting Lawyer Can Help
Having an attorney by your side for a shoplifting case is extremely important so that that attorney can object to the evidence that is not admissible in the case, make sure the prosecutors are abiding by their discovery obligations and providing all the material information to the defense, and assisting the court and the prosecutor in determining the appropriate punishment, if needed.
An Anne Arundel County shoplifting lawyer will also identify any defenses that a person might have, such as an alibi defense stating that it was not them, that they were not there, or that there was a mistaken identity. This defense will constitute a basis for the court to consider the state not to have proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other side of the case, the prosecutor will need to prove that a person took something from another person or store without consent with the intent to permanently deprive.
Usually, at a person’s arraignment, an attorney will tell the court that the person is electing to enter a plea of not guilty, which means that the person is electing that they review the discovery and understand the case in its entirety before making any kind of decision about how to proceed.
In these kinds of cases in the State of Maryland, it is assumed that everybody will enter a plea of not guilty until the attorney has had an opportunity to fully review the matter and determine what is an appropriate resolution after extensive conversations with potential witnesses.
How Shoplifting Charges Differ from Other Theft Charges
Shoplifting is the active carrying or taking away of something from a store or a place of retail. Other theft offenses could be thefts from other people and thefts from large corporations or companies, which do not necessarily have to be retail establishments.
Shoplifting itself is not a crime. Shoplifting is a type of theft offense and will fall into the theft statute under Criminal Article 7104 in the same way that any other theft offenses fall. A theft under $1,000.00, between $1,000.00 and $10,000.00, over $10,000.00 to $100,000.00, or over $100,000.00 is how they are categorized.