Columbia Theft Lawyer
Theft in Columbia, Maryland is either a felony or a misdemeanor crime depending upon the value of the items you have allegedly taken. There are many ways to respond to theft charges and to defend yourself against claims that you have broken the law. Contact an experienced Columbia, MD theft lawyer for assistance exploring the legal options available to you after accusations of theft are made against you. A Columbia criminal defense attorney can assess your case and help put together the strongest possible defense for your specific situation.
Should I Contact a Theft Lawyer?
When you are questioned by police or detained by a shop owner in connection with an alleged theft, you should insist upon exercising the right to an attorney. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner your Columbia theft attorney can to try to undermine the prosecutor’s case against you.
The prosecutor has to prove you are guilty of theft. A prosecutor must use evidence like store video footage, witness testimony, police reports, and the discovery of stolen property on your person or in your home, in order to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated the law. An attorney can help you to try to keep evidence from being used, or to try to introduce questions about witness credibility and whether the evidence is sufficient for a prosecutor to make a case against you.
Pleading not guilty is one of the options you have when accused of theft. Your theft lawyer in Columbia can also help you to explore other possible approaches to dealing with charges, like entering a pre-trial diversion program or negotiating with the prosecutor for a favorable plea agreement.
You should be sure you make informed, strategic choices in deciding how to handle charges and in considering whether to accept a plea offer or fight for yourself in court. A theft lawyer with experience in Columbia, MD can help you decide what is best in your case.
Theft Laws in Columbia, MD
Several different provisions of Maryland’s Code prohibit theft offenses including Maryland Code Section 7-104 (general theft); Code Section 7-105 (car theft) and Code Section 7-106 (newspaper theft for purposes of preventing the paper from being read).
Unless there are aggravating factors, such as someone getting hurt or a weapon being used, a defendant will face misdemeanor charges for theft as long as the value of stolen items is less than $1,000.
There are different maximum periods of imprisonment and maximum fines at various increments, so stealing items valued at less than $100 is less serious than stealing items valued at less than $1,000, and so on. By the time the stolen items reach a value of $100,000 or more, the maximum possible penalty is 25 years imprisonment and a maximum $25,000 fine compared with a maximum 90 days imprisonment and a $500 fine for theft of items valued at $100 or less, making contact with a Maryland theft lawyer even more imperative.
Contact a Columbia, MD Theft Lawyer Today
You do not want a conviction for theft on your record if you can avoid one. An attorney will work hard to help you get no penalties, or the least amount of penalties possible, after you have been accused of taking any items. Call a Columbia, MD theft lawyer today to begin working on your defense strategy.