Gaithersburg Theft Lawyer
The definition of theft under state law includes a wide range of actions related to the taking of another’s property. While these crimes differ in severity based on the type and value of the items allegedly stolen, the penalties for a theft conviction can be harsh. A Gaithersburg theft lawyer may be able to assess your situation, explore your options, and help you to decide the best means of approaching your charges.
Theft cases can be challenging, but various defenses may apply in your case. Having a criminal defense attorney may be the most effective way to fight back against theft charges and restore your reputation in your community.
Theft Crimes in Gaithersburg
The criminal offense of theft occurs under Md. Code, Crim. Law § 7-104 when individuals intentionally exert unlawful control over property belonging to others. The intent of theft is to deny the owner of the property or its use. Individuals can commit theft in various ways, such as by using, concealing, or abandoning the property, knowing that doing so will deprive the owner of the property.
Additionally, theft also occurs under this section when individuals receive, possess, or deal in a property that they know or have reason to believe is stolen. In receiving, possessing, or trading the stolen property, individuals must have the intent to deny the property owner of its benefit or use. Other actions that also constitute theft include:
- Failing to make reasonable efforts to return the property to an identifiable owner when individuals know that it is lost or has been delivered mistakenly
- Using deception to obtain services from others without compensation
- Getting services without compensation and the consent of the person providing them
A lawyer in Gaithersburg may be able to advise individuals accused of theft of the potential defenses that may apply in their cases. Legal counsel may also be able to assist in developing the defense strategy most likely to be useful in a specific situation.
Penalties for Gaithersburg Misdemeanor Theft
Maryland law bases the penalties for theft on the value of the property involved. Generally, theft of property worth between $100 and $1,500 is a misdemeanor offense. All thefts of property worth more than $1,500 are felony offenses.
The penalties for misdemeanor theft are further broken down based on the value of the property that is the subject of the theft. A first offense for theft of property valued at less than $100 can result in a maximum 90-day jail sentence and a maximum $500 fine. If the property is worth more than $100 but less than $1,500, the potential jail time increases to six months, along with a $500 fine.
In all theft cases, individuals must also return the intact stolen property to its owners or pay restitution equal to the value of the unrecovered or damaged property. A theft attorney in Gaithersburg may be able to minimize the potential penalties in appropriate cases.
Felony Theft Offenses
Thefts involving property worth more than $1,500 are felony offenses with the potential for much more severe penalties than for misdemeanor theft. Penalties can range from zero to twenty years in prison and fines of up to $25,000, depending on the value of the property involved. The harshest penalties are reserved for thefts of property worth $100,000 or more, including up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.
Individuals convicted of felony theft also must return the undamaged property to its owners or pay restitution equal to the value of the stolen property. A felony conviction also can have collateral consequences, including ineligibility for certain jobs and loss of some civil rights.
Contact a Gaithersburg Theft Attorney for Advice
Although theft charges can be challenging, there may be defenses and strategies that can improve your situation. By contacting a Gaithersburg theft lawyer, you may be able to achieve a more favorable outcome.
Theft charges can have life-altering consequences. Having legal counsel may make preventing or reducing the potential for these consequences an easier task. Call now and schedule a consultation.