Ocean City Theft Penalites
Penalties for theft vary depending on the monetary value of the items stolen. Generally, items valued at less than $1,000 will lead to a misdemeanor charge and items valued at $1,000 or higher will be a felony charge. Having either conviction on your personal record can be damaging and both can lead to jail time making it important that those accused consult with a theft lawyer in Ocean City as soon as possible.
Types of Offenses
If a misdemeanor theft was of goods less than $100, the penalty could be $500 in fines and up to 90 days in jail. If a misdemeanor theft was of goods worth between $100 and $1,000, that penalty increases to $500 in fines and up to 18 months of incarceration.
Felony theft carries high penalties in Ocean City. If the goods that are stolen are valued between $1,000 and $10,000, the defendant could be facing up to 10 years in jail. As the monetary value increase, the jail time also increases. The penalty for theft in Ocean City higher than $100,000 is up to 25 years in jail.
The sentence a defendant might receive depends a great deal on their background. If the person has prior convictions, a jail sentence might be on the table. If the client is young or has no prior record whatsoever, it is possible that person could receive a break at sentencing and be sentenced to probation before judgment.
Probation before judgment is a sentencing disposition that allows the defendant to keep their record clean. When a judge grants probation before judgment, they take away the guilty finding. As long as the person successfully completes the period of probation, then they do not have any conviction. It is a huge benefit at sentencing. However, it is usually reserved for people who have no prior record.
Sometimes, the court will do a little bit of both probation and reduced sentencing. The court might sentence the person to a period of active incarceration where they are going to serve time in jail and also suspend a portion of the sentence, and the person would serve a period of probation.
If a judge is presented with evidence that a defendant is dealing with a substance abuse issue and would benefit from treatment, the judge may consider imposing a less serious sentence than they might have considered otherwise. If a judge allows that, the conditions of probation are going to attempt to address the substance abuse issue. The person would need to be prepared that the court would expect them to attend classes, provide random urine samples, and basically get involved in the process of helping themselves get clean.
Hiring an Attorney
Anybody who has been charged with a theft case should consider hiring an attorney. People who think they can handle going to court themselves are making a huge mistake. The prosecution and the judge know the rules of evidence and the rules of procedure, and an unrepresented person is at a loss in that situation.
It is also important for people charged with a theft case to understand that a conviction for a theft case can be life-changing. It is a conviction that will stay on their record forever, and it can be viewed by the public. People who have a theft conviction might be less likely to be hired for a particular job or be considered for an application for school.
There are so many different ways that a theft conviction can negatively impact their life. In Maryland, a prior conviction can be used to enhance penalties in an Ocean City theft case. Those penalties can increase to potentially a sentence in the local detention center or maybe even in the Division of Corrections. When the stakes so high, an attorney is necessary.