Baltimore, Maryland Theft Lawyer
Defense Against Charges for Embezzlement, Burglary, Shoplifting & More
Maryland’s theft laws cover a variety of crimes, such as theft, shoplifting, and embezzlement. Being accused of theft is a serious matter. The consequences of a theft conviction demand that an individual prepare a strong legal defense.
If you have been accused of theft, shoplifting, or embezzlement, you should retain a Baltimore, Maryland theft attorney. At Portner & Shure, P.A., our criminal defense attorneys know that your reputation, job, and freedom are at stake. Our attorneys can work with you to prepare an effective defense.
For a free consultation, call one of our criminal defense attorneys today at (855) 954-4141 or contact us online.
Maryland Theft Law
Historically, theft was a common-law criminal offense. In 1978, Maryland passed the theft statute that codified theft. Under Maryland law, theft is defined as willfully and knowingly obtaining another person’s property through unauthorized control or deception with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. Additionally, under Maryland law, theft of services is treated identically to the theft of property.
If an individual is convicted of theft, the potential penalty is based on the value of the item or service. The higher the value, the heavier the sentence.
The penalties range from:
- 90 days for an item or service valued at less than $100.00
- 18 months for an item or service valued at less than $1,000.00
- 10 years for an item or service valued between $1,000.00 and $10,000
- 15 years for an item or service valued between $10,000.00 and $100,000.00
- 25 years for an item or service valued over $100,000.00
The value of the property or service is based on the item’s market value when the theft occurred. If the value of the item cannot be determined, then the cost of a replacement item determines the value.
Shoplifting Crimes & Penalties
Shoplifting is one of the most common types of theft crimes because it involves stealing merchandise from a retail store. While shoplifting seems like it would have minimal penalties, Maryland’s theft scheme doctrine can increase the potential penalties.
If a person steals 10 items valued at $100.00 each, they can be charged with 10 separate counts of theft of items valued at $100.00 or less, which carries a penalty of 90 days. Under the theft scheme doctrine, the prosecutor can add the value of all the items and charge a person with theft of items valued at $1,000.00. The penalty for this is 18 months. Police and prosecutors often overcharge people to intimidate them and waive potential defenses.
Embezzlement Crimes in Maryland
A person who steals merchandise from a store should not be charged with embezzlement because embezzlement requires a fiduciary relationship to exist between the accused and the victim. The accused must have had the victim’s prior permission to be in possession of the money, property, or merchandise prior to the theft. For example, an employee who takes money, property, or merchandise from a store can be charged with embezzlement. The penalties for embezzlement are identical to theft.
Defenses to Various Theft Crimes
To be convicted of a theft crime, the State of Maryland is constitutionally obligated to prove a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on the facts of a case, the prosecution may not be able to meet this burden. For example, if the State is unable to prove that an actual “taking” occurred or the specific intent by the accused, the State’s case can fail.
Maryland law allows an accused individual to raise several defenses. An accused can raise the defense that they have a good-faith claim of ownership to the property. An accused can also raise the defense that they honestly believed that they had a right to the property. Allow our attorneys to identify the possible defenses for you.
Why Hire Portner & Shure, P.A.?
If you are facing a theft, shoplifting, or embezzlement charge, you should get representation by a Baltimore, Maryland theft lawyer who will fight to protect your reputation, your rights, and your freedom. The award-winning criminal defense attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. can thoroughly review and investigate the facts surrounding your case. Our attorneys know that the stakes are high and will fight to obtain the best outcome possible.
To schedule a free consultation regarding your theft case, call us at (855) 954-4141 or contact us online. Our staff is fluent in English, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), and Spanish.
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