Baltimore Theft Lawyer
Theft is one of the most common criminal offenses in the state of Maryland. A wide range of offenses may constitute theft, which generally involves using deceptive tactics designed to deprive others of their property and receiving stolen property. Regardless of the circumstances, consulting a Baltimore theft lawyer if you are accused of any type of theft offense may be advisable.
Depending on the value of the stolen goods or services, the offense may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Any theft conviction carries the potential for incarceration, payment of fines, and restoration of the property or payment of restitution for the property to the owner. For these reasons, you should take theft accusations seriously and strongly consider working with a seasoned defense attorney to resolve the matter.
Theft Offenses in Baltimore City
Under Md. Code, Crim. Law § 7-104, theft occurs when individuals intentionally take unlawful control over property that belongs to others. Theft always involves an intent to deny the property owner of the use or benefit of the property. A theft attorney in Baltimore City could advise that theft can result from persons using, hiding, or leaving the property in various ways, or in using deception to gain control over the property.
This section also designates receiving, possessing, or dealing in property that persons know or believe is stolen as theft. Again, in order to commit this type of theft, individuals must have the intent to deny the property owner use or control of the property.
Other types of theft may include failing to make reasonable efforts to return the property to its owner when individuals know that the owners have lost it or a third party has mistakenly delivered it to another, and using deception to obtain services from another without compensation.
Potential Penalties for a Theft Conviction
The level of criminal charges and the potential penalties that individuals can receive for committing theft depend upon the value of the property involved. Typically, theft of property valued at less than $1,500 is a misdemeanor, and theft of property valued at more than $1,500 is a felony. In either case, consulting a Baltimore theft lawyer for legal advice may be beneficial.
If persons are convicted of stealing property that is valued at less than $100, the maximum jail sentence is 90 days and the maximum fine is $500. If the property is valued at more than $100, but less than $1,500, individuals could serve up to six months in jail and be ordered to pay a $500 fine if convicted.
In either case, the persons who are convicted of theft must either restore the property to the rightful owners or pay restitution in an amount equal to the value of the stolen property. Furthermore, for a second or subsequent offense, the maximum jail term can increase to one year. Individuals with four or more misdemeanor theft convictions can face a maximum term of incarceration of five years and a fine of $5,000.
The penalties for felony theft have the potential to be demonstrably higher than those for misdemeanor theft, both in terms of jail time and fines, as follows:
- For property whose value ranges between $1,500 and $25,000, a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $10,000 fine
- For property whose value ranges between $25,000 and $100,000, a maximum prison sentence of ten years and a $15,000 fine
- For property whose value is $100,000 or more, a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $25,000 fine
In addition to these penalties, those who are convicted of felony theft must either restore the property to the lawful owners or pay restitution in an amount equivalent to the value of the stolen property. Those facing felony theft charges should reach out to an accomplished criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact a Baltimore City Theft Attorney for Advice
While accusations related to any criminal offense can be serious, a theft conviction has the potential to result in high fines and lengthy terms of incarceration. As a result, seeking legal representation from a Baltimore theft lawyer may be in your best interests.
The implications of a theft conviction can go far beyond a sentence of imprisonment and payments of fines and restitution to the property owner. Having a theft conviction on your record can make it more difficult to get a job or pursue certain occupations. To potentially avoid penalties such as these, having a strong legal advocate on your side throughout any criminal proceedings is important.