Baltimore Theft Lawyer
If charged with theft, returning an item or offering to pay for any loss or replacement can go a long way to minimizing the potential harm, but is not the only option. Even if there is video or surveillance evidence of a theft, you should seek counsel from an experienced Baltimore theft lawyer prior to making any statements or signing any confessions.
The Baltimore defense attorneys with our firm have represented clients all throughout Maryland and the Greater Baltimore area charged with a variety of theft crimes, including shoplifting, auto theft, and credit card fraud. To discuss your case and what to expect from the legal process, call and schedule a consultation today.
Types of Theft Offenses
The Baltimore theft attorneys with our firm have assisted clients facing numerous charges including:
- Shoplifting/retail theft
- Credit Car Theft
- Identity Theft
- Stolen checks or credit cards
- Receiving stolen property
We also have represented clients throughout Maryland charged with burglary or robbery, as well as fraud or white collar crimes.
Elements of a Theft Offense
There are the elements of the taking or carrying away of property of another with intent to deprive, but one key element to all of that is intent. It takes more than just proving those elements; they have to prove the person did it knowingly. So oftentimes, they cannot establish that last element—if it is unwillingly. If someone is at a store and they put an item into their shopping cart and forget to put it on the conveyor belt but it was just absently, that is not a theft, that is a mistake. If somebody is given property and buys some stuff for a yard sale, and they are called later because the thing was stolen, they did not know it.
Consequences of a Theft Conviction
There are three levels of theft charges in Maryland that warrant the services of a theft attorney in Baltimore, with escalating penalties for a conviction.
- Stealing money or property valued at $1,000 or greater is a felony and punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
- If the value is less than $1,000, the charge is “only” a misdemeanor, but carries a possible jail term of up to 18 months.
- Under a new law, theft of less than $100 in money or merchandise is a lesser misdemeanor with a maximum of 90 days in jail.
Theft is also considered a crime of moral turpitude — which means it is a crime of dishonesty. This type of charge has numerous potential implications, such as affecting immigration status, college entrance, loan applications, or employment opportunities (particularly jobs that involve handling money.) It also means that, if you were ever to testify in any court matter (i.e. lawsuit, divorce, or even if called to testify as a victim of a crime), your conviction can be brought up against you in order to attack your credibility.
Benefits of An Baltimore Theft Attorney
An experienced lawyer will not accept the facts as presented by prosecutors, but will instead investigate beyond your charging documents and the police report. This includes exploring other evidence such as video surveillance or photographic evidence and using it to dispute the version of events as given by witnesses. It also means an knowledgeable Baltimore theft lawyer can explore whether your rights were violated during any detention, arrest, interrogation, or search of you for any missing property.
If the State’s evidence is overwhelming, an attorney can prepare a vigorous defense regarding any mitigating circumstances (such as addiction, depression, or financial problems) or take proactive steps such as restitution to gain leniency. This is done in order to obtain dispositions that do not impose a criminal conviction, such as a probation before judgment. Contact one of our attorneys today in order to begin building the more robust defense possible.