Ellicott City Shoplifting Lawyer

In Maryland, shoplifting is categorized as theft, rather than as its own separate offense. If someone is charged with shoplifting, they should hire an Ellicott City theft lawyer immediately because even the lowest level of theft, under $100, carries a potential of 90 days of incarceration.

The term shoplifting is used when one takes property from a retail store, public store, grocery store, or other business with intent to deprive the establishment of the property. If the retail value is over $1,000 it is considered a felony. To be clear, this refers to the original retail value, and not the resale value post-theft.


The prosecutor must establish that:

  • A person intentionally took the property of another.
  • The intent was to deprive them of the property permanently.
  • The removal was not accidental.

An Ellicott City shoplifting lawyer will work to build as strong a defense as possible for the accused.  The attorney does this by working with the defendant to:

  • Present the evidence to the defendant
  • Meet with witnesses ahead of time to gain a better understanding of their testimony
  • Discuss courses of action with the defendant

In most counties, a person has an arraignment only if they do not have an attorney. In Ellicott City if an attorney has entered an appearance,  there is no arraignment. The attorney sets the trial date ahead of time.


Probation can be three to five years maximum, depending on the court and jurisdiction the case is heard in. Judges will frequently put somebody on probation to make sure they do not get in trouble again. If the defendant receives a secondary charge while on probation, the judge will hear about it and can issue a warrant for arrest the person’s arrest. The defense attorney’s goal is to try to get the best possible result for your case. If the individual is found guilty, probation instead of incarceration is often the best sentencing option. Probation keeps the defendant out of jail and allows them to continue living their daily lives including working and participating in their community.

How An Attorney Can Help

For any shoplifting case that carries specific incarceration it is important to have an Ellicott City shoplifting lawyer to defend against the prosecutor’s heavy handed push for sentencing. The prosecutor is prohibited from having any meaningful discussion with defendant. Having an attorney by your side is helpful in a number of ways: as your spokesperson, the attorney can speak to the prosecutor, negotiate with the prosecutor, and protect your rights throughout the process.