Howard County Theft Lawyer
Theft is a serious crime that is covered by section 7-104 of the Code of Maryland, and it is often defined as depriving or attempting to deprive a person of their rightful property on a permanent basis. A theft conviction can have a major impact on the reputation and life of a person, and such a charge should not be taken lightly. By hiring a Howard County theft lawyer, accused individuals can gain access to extensive legal knowledge, which they can use to defend themselves against their theft charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney could review their case and work to establish a credible defense.
What is Theft?
Theft takes many forms, but in general, theft is defined as:
- Using deception to gain control of property rightfully belonging to someone else
- Taking ownership of a misplaced or misdelivered property (the legal system expects individuals who receive misplaced property to take reasonable steps to find the rightful owner before claiming it as their own)
- Knowingly purchasing or taking ownership of a stolen property
- Using deception to obtain services without providing compensation
As previously mentioned, theft takes many forms, and the type of theft charge a person faces will depend on the type of product or service they are charged with taking and its monetary value. Taking more expensive products and services will result in more severe criminal charges.
Penalties for Theft
Theft is also a very specific crime. Accused individuals can face charges such as auto theft, newspaper theft, writing bad checks, and fraud, and each type of theft charge carries a different penalty for conviction. Some can result in simpler penalties, such as small fines and community service, while others can result in years behind bars and enormous fines.
General theft, which is the least serious type of felony theft charge, is defined as taking a product or service valued between $1,000 and $10,000. If a person is convicted of such a charge, they can face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (fines are determined by the court). If a product or service is valued between $10,000 and $100,000, an accused person could face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $100,000.
When products valued at less than $1,000 are stolen, an accused person will typically face misdemeanor charges. Taking a product or service valued at less than $100 can result in a $500 fine and 90 days in jail. Additional penalties such as community service and probation may also be issued by a judge. If an accused individual wishes to avoid such penalties, they should hire a Howard County theft lawyer to defend them.
The Lasting Impact of a Conviction
Even misdemeanor theft charges can have a lasting impact on the life of an individual. In addition to jail time and potential fines, a theft conviction can ruin the reputation of a person and cause them to lose their standing in the community. It can also cause them to lose their career, education, and if they are the middle of a custody battle, their children as well.
They may also be barred from voting in elections and owning a firearm, and with a criminal record, it can be hard for a convicted person to find a job, secure housing, or pass a background check.
Calling a Howard County Theft Attorney
If you are presently facing theft charges, you may be feeling powerless and afraid. Such feelings are normal, but you must fight back if you want to clear your name and carry on with your life. A skilled Howard County theft attorney may be able to help you do this.
Without an attorney on your side, you risk suffering the legal and social consequences listed above. Call a Howard County theft lawyer now to discuss the details of your case.