Bethesda Shoplifting Lawyer
Although shoplifting is generally viewed as a relatively minor crime, this is not always the case. Depending on what was shoplifted, there can be substantial financial penalties and even jail time for those found guilty of the offense.
If you are facing shoplifting charges and wondering what to do next, you may benefit from contacting a Bethesda shoplifting lawyer. A well-practiced criminal defense attorney could sit down with you to review the facts of your case and discuss potential legal options that may be available to you. Skilled legal counsel could advocate on your behalf to pursue a favorable resolution against this charge.
What is Shoplifting?
Maryland law classifies shoplifting under their general theft provisions. Under Md. Code Crim. Law §7-104, a person cannot knowingly or willfully take or exert control over another’s property without permission. This includes if a person:
- Intends to deprive the owner of the property
- Purposely uses, hides, or abandons the property in a way that denied the owner of the property
- Uses, hides, or leaves the property knowing that this action will likely deprive the owner of the property
Shoplifting can be the taking of property from a business without permission. However, if a person abandoned the property and did not take it, they could still be held liable for shoplifting. A skilled lawyer from Bethesda could review a defendant’s shoplifting case to determine if they intended to take control of another’s property.
Bethesda Shoplifting Criminal Penalties
The potential penalties for shoplifting are highly case-specific because they depend upon the value of the property the individual is charged with taking. A Bethesda attorney has the knowledge and experience to handle misdemeanor and felony shoplifting charges.
For the minor theft of an item valued less than $100, a defendant can face up to 90 days in jail, a fine of $500, and a requirement to return the property, or value of, to the owner under Md. Crim. Code §7-104(g)(3). For property under $1,000, this penalty increases potentially to 18 months in jail with the same fine and return-requirements (Md. Crim. Code §7-104(g)(2)).
If an individual is charged with theft of property up to $1,000, and they have two or more prior convictions, their penalties can escalate. They can face up to five years in jail, a $5,000 fine, and a requirement to return the property or its value to the owner (Md. Crim. Code §7-104(g)(4)).
Felony offenses have the potential to have harsher penalties. If a defendant is charged with the theft of property valued between $1,000 and $10,000, they may face up to ten years in jail, a $10,000 fine, and a requirement to return the property or value thereof.
For property valued greater than $10,000 but less than $100,000, this punishment increases to 15 years in jail and a $15,000 fine. Theft of any property exceeding $100,000 in value means the defendant may be facing up to 25 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
Contact a Bethesda Shoplifting Attorney for a Consolation Today
Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, you should contact a Bethesda shoplifting lawyer. An attorney with experience in defending these kinds of claims could help you break down the facts of your case, understand your legal rights, and discuss potential ways to proceed. To see what options are available to you, call today.