Silver Spring, Maryland Theft Lawyers
You Can Fight Any Theft Charge – Find Out How
Being charged with theft is a serious matter. A theft conviction can result in life-altering consequences, such as the loss of an individual’s reputation in the community, a permanent criminal record, and possible jail time. Building and preparing a proper defense early in the process is essential.
A Silver Spring theft attorney can help you build an effective defense. The attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. can fight to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. Our award-winning attorneys have spent 25+ years building a reputation of excellence in Maryland’s legal community and among Maryland’s Hispanic, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Vietnamese, and Korean communities.
For a free consultation, call us at (855) 954-4141 or contact us online.
Maryland Theft Law
The crime of theft was previously a common-law offense. Maryland codified the crime of theft in Maryland Criminal Code § 7-104. Maryland law defines the crime of theft as willfully and knowingly obtaining another person’s property or service through unauthorized control or deception with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property or service. The potential penalties for a theft conviction depend on the value of the service or property.
The potential penalties range from:
- 90 days for an item or service valued at less than $100.00
- 6 months for an item or service valued at $100.00 but less than $1,500.00
- 5 years for an item or service valued at $1,500.00 but less than $25,000.00
- 10 years for an item or service valued at $25,000.00 but less than $100,000.00
- 20 years for an item or service valued at $100,000.00 or more
The market value of the service or property at the time of the theft determines the value. If the value cannot be determined, the cost of a replacement determines the value.
Shoplifting Charges are More Serious Than You Think
Shoplifting is a common form of theft due to free-hanging merchandise found in most stores. Many people mistakenly assume that shoplifting is a minor crime with soft penalties. However, Maryland’s theft scheme doctrine can significantly increase these penalties.
Maryland’s theft scheme doctrine allows the value of the goods or services to be aggregated, which can then increase the potential penalty. For example, if a person steals 5 items worth $500.00 each, then the prosecutor can charge them with 5 separate counts of theft of items valued between $100.00 but less than $1,500.00 which carries a penalty of 180 days. Alternatively, under the theft scheme doctrine, a person can also be charged with theft of items valued between$1,500.00 but less than $25,000.00 which carries a penalty of 5 years.
What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is another form of theft. The main difference between theft and embezzlement is the relationship between the accused and the victim. Specifically, a fiduciary relationship must exist between the accused and the victim for the crime to be considered embezzlement. The victim must have also given the accused permission to be in possession of the money or property prior to the theft. The potential penalties for embezzlement are identical to theft, though.
Defenses to Theft Charges
Theft crimes may seem simple on their face but often contain several legal elements. To be convicted of theft, the State of Maryland is constitutionally obligated to prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. A review of the evidence may reveal that the prosecution may not be able to prove that a “taking” occurred, for example, which should mean that no conviction for theft is permissible.
Additionally, Maryland law provides several legal defenses to theft. Depending on the facts of a case, an experienced attorney may argue that the accused had a good faith claim of ownership to the property or that they honestly believed that they had a right of ownership to the property.
Why Hire Portner & Shure, P.A.?
To defeat a theft charge with confidence, you will want the skilled representation of a Silver Spring, Maryland theft attorney, like those you can find at Portner & Shure, P.A. Our award-winning team can thoroughly investigate the facts of your case and work to build the best defense possible. Our attorneys are dedicated and zealous. The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys of 2020 recently recognized Portner & Shure, P.A. as one of Maryland’s “10 Best Law Firms”.
To schedule a free consultation regarding your Silver Spring criminal theft case, contact us at (855) 954-4141 or contact us online.