Worcester Theft Lawyer
Theft allegations can result in some of the more surprisingly complex cases in Worcester’s criminal courts. This is because a prosecutor must prove that not only did the defendant actually take the items, but also that they intended to deprive the owner of its use. Theft allegations can include simply taking an item, but also stealing the services of a provider or even possessing known stolen items. The penalties for these accusations do not depend so much on the method of taking as they do upon the value of the items. A Worcester theft lawyer may be able to help someone facing allegations of theft. A skilled criminal defense attorney could examine the facts that led to the arrest, listen to an accused person’s side of the story, and work to refute allegations.
How Might a Person Commit a Theft Offense
The basic definition of theft is simple enough. Md. Criminal Law Code Ann. §7-104 states that a person commits theft when they knowingly take property or cash from another with the intent to deprive the owner of its use. The definition contains the important concept of criminal intent.
In essence, a person cannot accidentally steal an item as defined by Maryland’s criminal code. To win their case, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant intended to take the item from its owner.
In addition, this taking must have been for the purpose of depriving the owner of its use.
Examples of this behavior can include:
- Taking an item from someone’s house
- Taking an item from the side of the street if not in the trash
- Keeping a loaned item against the wishes of the owner
- Not paying for food or a hotel room
All of these examples indicate a willingness to take the property or services of another without an intention to pay. A Worcester theft lawyer could help a person to refute any allegation of theft by arguing that they lacked the intent to deprive the owner of property.
The Receipt of Stolen Goods
The same statute that prohibits the taking of property from another prohibits the receipt of the same types of items. In this way, the statute could punish both the taker of the items and the receiver. However, much like the core theft statute, the prosecutor must prove knowledge of criminality.
The possession of stolen goods laws state that a defendant is only guilty if they know that the item is stolen when they take possession. A defendant may argue in court that they took the item without knowledge of its status and when they learned that it was stolen took it to the police. A Worcester theft lawyer could help a person fight against allegations of receiving stolen property.
Penalties for Theft Offenses
The penalties for theft offenses scale with the value of the items alleged to have been taken. These penalties are as follows:
- All values at less than $100 are misdemeanors carrying imprisonment of no more than 90 days, a fine of up to $500, or both
- Values between $100 and $1,500 are also misdemeanors but the punishments increase to six months potential jail sentence for a first offense
- Items valued at between $1,500 and $25,000 are felonies. The maximum penalties here are prison terms of up to five years and a maximum fine of $10,000
- Items valued at between $25,000 and $100,000 are also felonies where the maximum imprisonment is ten years and the fine rises to $15,000
- All values at above $100,000 are felonies where the fine may be as high as $25,000 and the maximum prison sentence is 20 years
A Worcester theft lawyer could help individuals facing any level of theft charges. Call and schedule an appointment to start reviewing potential legal strategies that may be effective.
A Worcester Theft Attorney Could Defend Your Rights in Court
Allegations of theft, even for a small item, are serious matters. A conviction is a criminal matter that will remain on a person’s criminal record and could result in the payment of a heavy fine or the imposition of a jail sentence. Still, proving a theft charge could be very difficult for a prosecutor. Working with a Worcester theft lawyer could also provide defendants with additional protection.
A Worcester theft lawyer could help to investigate the incident, to formulate a defense, and to put that defense into effect in court. Contact an attorney today to learn more.