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Maryland Auto Theft Penalties

There are many potential penalties and consequences for Maryland auto theft offenses. The defendant may end up with a record, as this is a serious consequence. If a person has a record for something like theft, most employers, graduate schools, et cetera, are going to look at that record. If an employer has a choice of hiring one of two people, one person has a clean record and the other person has a theft conviction, the employer is probably going to gravitate towards the person that has a clean record. If someone in Maryland is being charged and facing Maryland auto theft penalties, they should contact a skilled defense lawyer quickly to build their defense.

Possible Penalties

One possible consequence of auto theft in Maryland could be incarceration, depending on the facts of the case. If the defendant has a prior record, that increases the likelihood of them being incarcerated. Another possible consequence would be probation so that they would have to be under the supervision of a Probation Agent for the State.

Motor vehicle theft in Maryland is a felony. That specific crime is defined by statute as a felony. However, the State has the option, if they choose, to proceed under the General Theft Statute. Under the General Theft Statute, the value of the item taken is what dictates the penalty. The more valuable the item that was taken, the larger the penalty.

The crime of motor vehicle theft specifically provides imprisonment of a maximum of five years and/or a fine that would not exceed $5,000. The other part of the penalty is that the defendant would be required to return the motor vehicle to the victim or be obligated to pay the owner the full value of the motor vehicle. From a penalty perspective, there is possible incarceration and the significant amount of money that the defendant may be required to pay.

Consequences of Habitual Offenses

If a person has a prior conviction for theft, there actually is a Subsequent Offender Punishment that can be imposed. With all enhanced penalties, the State has the burden of giving notice of their intent to pursue the enhanced penalty and have to advise the defendant as to what prior convictions they are depending on to prove their case.

As an example, if a person had been convicted of stealing an item which was valued at least $100 but less than $1,500 and it was their first conviction, the maximum penalty would be six months. But if it is a second or a subsequent conviction, the possible incarceration jumps to one year. It is important to note that Amendments to the General Theft Statute take effect in the fall of 2017.

Probation or Reduced Sentencing Options

The chance to forgo certain Maryland auto theft penalties and pursue probation or reduced sentencing depends on the person’s prior record. If the defendant has no prior record, this increases the possibility that the court may go along with a suspended sentence, not do any active jail time and instead be placed on probation. It is also possible that the judge would consider the evidence given that the defendant is struggling with some sort of mental health issue or addiction issues.

Reduced sentencing options vary. Some counties will allow for a defendant to participate in a deferral program, maybe community service or participating in alcohol classes or drug classes, rather than going straight to a jail sentence. It is important to understand that every judge is very unique. Each has certain issues that they may take consideration as being less serious, and some judges are easier going about some crimes than others.

How a Lawyer Can Help

If you have been charged with auto theft in Maryland, now is the time to act. It is important that you have an experienced defense lawyer that can review your case and begin building your defense. Contact a lawyer for assistance when you are facing serious auto theft penalties in Maryland.