Frederick County Theft Lawyer
If you have been accused of improperly taking goods or using services without paying for them, a Frederick County theft lawyer can help you to deal with police and face prosecution. There are defenses to theft charges and options to try to stay out of jail and avoid a criminal record. Your attorney in Frederick County will help you to understand different ways to respond to theft charges when you are accused of a crime.
How a Frederick County Theft Lawyer Can Help You
After an accusation of a theft offense is made, most defendants have two primary goals: avoid a criminal record and stay out of jail. A Frederick County theft lawyer can work to help you achieve both goals.
A defendant who avoids conviction faces no penalties. Conviction can be avoided by:
- Getting charges dropped or a case dismissed. If there was insufficient evidence or if evidence was illegally obtained, your attorney may be able to get the case thrown out before trial.
- Getting a not guilty. Not guilty doesn’t have to mean innocent. If a Frederick County theft lawyer can introduce reasonable doubt by making a jury or judge question the case against you, this should mean you avoid conviction.
You can also avoid jail time and criminal record through a deferred sentencing program. In Frederick County, your best option for deferred sentencing may be probation before judgment. This means you’ll have a period of probation and must follow court requirements during this time. If you are successful on probation, you won’t be convicted and left with a criminal record and may have your charges expunged.
If none of these options are right for you, your attorney can also help you try to negotiate a plea agreement. Most first time defendants can avoid jail even if found guilty, depending upon the value of the items stolen. Your attorney can help negotiate with the prosecutor and may be able to get you a lighter sentence or even get the theft charges reduced to a lesser offense.
Theft Laws in Frederick County
Under theft laws in Maryland Code Section 7-104, a defendant can be convicted of a theft offense only for willful and intentional actions. A defendant must intend to somehow deprive someone of property he rightfully owns, or of the value of a service that is performed. Other types of theft offenses include shoplifting and robbery.
Taking property is just one way an owner can be deprived of its value. A defendant could also be charged for not trying to return property to a rightful owner when it is possible to do so; for concealing abandoned property; or for possessing property that someone else took.
The penalties for a theft offense vary based on how valuable the items are that are allegedly stolen. When items are valued at less than $1,000, a defendant will be charged with a misdemeanor. This could lead to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail for items under $100 or 18-months in jail and a $500 fine for items valued at $100 or more.
When items are valued at $1,000 or higher, theft becomes a felony. The penalties vary based on whether the item is worth less than $10,000; between $10,000 and $100,000; or above $100,000. For the most serious theft offenses of items valued at $100,000 or greater, a defendant faces up to 25 years in prison.
Call a Frederick County Theft Lawyer for Help
A Frederick County theft lawyer can put his legal knowledge of theft crimes and Maryland laws to work to help you throughout your theft case. Call to schedule a consultation today to learn more about how an attorney can help.