Maryland Theft Penalties
Theft charges can have serious consequences and they can vary based on the circumstances of the case, and sometimes, theft charges accompany other criminal charges. For example, it could be that a defendant entered into the home of another person during the commission of a theft. If that were the case, they could be charged with burglary, which involves breaking and entering into somebody’s home with the specific intent to steal something. There are a variety of different offenses that could lead to serious penalties following being charged.
If you are facing theft charges, get in contact with a skilled theft attorney who can fight to mitigate the severity of potential Maryland theft penalties.
Consequences of Theft Offenses
Theft charges can have consequences that are wide-ranging, and go beyond fines and jail time. There can be long-lasting negative impacts on a person’s employment prospects, because when someone has a conviction on their record, future employers may decide not to hire them. Any time a background check could be run on a person, a theft conviction may be included in that report. This can affect a person’s ability to obtain a lease to live in an apartment or a house. Also, certain theft convictions can affect a person’s ability to hold a license or certification for certain kinds of employment.
Potential Maryland theft penalties for a theft conviction depend on a number of factors, including previous criminal history and the nature of the crime in question. If someone is convicted of misdemeanor theft of the very smallest amount, the maximum sentence that they could receive for that is 90 days. Somebody convicted of a felony theft could receive up to 25 years in prison. Many sentences fall somewhere between these scenarios.
There is a fine line in Maryland between a theft and robbery, so it is possible to see someone charged with attempted robbery and also the offense of theft because robbery is defined as the taking and carrying away of someone else’s property by force and threat of force. So virtually every robbery could include either a theft or an attempted theft charge.
Potential Sentencing and Probation Options
In Maryland, the judge has the option of sentencing someone to probation before judgment. In cases involving someone who has never been convicted of theft before, especially if they are a young person, the defense has a good opportunity to try to arrange it with the court so that the person does not end up having a record for the theft.
When this happens, the judge takes away the guilty finding, and as long as the person successfully completes a period of probation then they will not end up with a conviction on their record. That is incredibly valuable, and the defense attorney can assist with making arrangements with the court that will be the most beneficial for their clients, such as a shorter probation period, or one that is unsupervised.
Prior Convictions Impact on Penalties
Under Maryland law, when sentencing someone for theft, a previous theft conviction can be used against them to enhance the penalty. In these cases, the prosecutor files a notice with the court, and a copy is sent to the defendant. That notice lists the prior convictions and puts the defendant on notice that the state is pursuing an enhanced penalty. For example, if someone has two or more prior theft convictions and is convicted of a new theft of property that is valued at $1000 or less, that penalty is increased from a maximum of 18 months to a potential maximum of five years.
Necessity of an Attorney
Having a lawyer who can help you make arrangements with the court can be instrumental to your case. An attorney can present facts that a judge will take into consideration when deciding the conditions of probation. If it is determined that the case is related to substance abuse issues, a lawyer will work to get their client involved in treatment early on. A judge could take that into consideration when determining what would be an appropriate sentence. Contact an experienced attorney that can help you fight potentially harsh Maryland theft penalties.