Harford County Theft Lawyer
Since theft could range from minor shoplifting offenses to major embezzlement schemes, the penalties for a theft offense could vary widely. A Harford County theft lawyer may be able to help you make sense of the charges against you and determine your strongest options for resolving your case.
A theft conviction may result in serious penalties, depending upon the value of the property that was the subject of the offense. Aside from the high fines and terms of incarceration that may result, you may experience difficulties, both personally and professionally, with a criminal theft offense on your record.
Consulting a well-practiced attorney for advice could be essential to your ability to defend yourself against theft charges.
Defining Theft in Maryland
As stated by the Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 7-102, theft includes many different types of offenses, including larceny, shoplifting, embezzlement, false pretenses, and receiving stolen property.
Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 7-104 defines theft as occurring when individuals intentionally exercise unauthorized control over the property of others, if they intend to deprive the owner of the property or intentionally take any action that they know will or probably will deprive the owner of the property. Individuals who use deception to gain control over property to take any of these same actions also commit theft.
Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 7-104 also covers receiving, buying, and selling the stolen property as theft offenses. It is unlawful for individuals to possess property that they know or believe to probably be stolen if they intend to deprive the owner of the property. Other types of theft listed in this section may include:
- Obtaining control over property that they know is lost or delivered by mistake
- Failing to take reasonable measures to restore the property to its owner when they know of a way to identify the owner
- Using deception to obtain the services of another that are only available for compensation despite knowing that the services are being provided without consent
A Harford County lawyer could help an accused person understand on what grounds they were accused of theft, and how to defend against such allegations.
Penalties a Defendant May Face
The value of the goods or services that were the subject of a theft determines the level of the theft offense and the potential penalties the individual may be facing in court. With some exceptions, theft is a misdemeanor offense if the value of the property is less than $1,500. Penalties for misdemeanor theft may include:
- For property worth less than $100, up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine
- For property worth between $100 and $1,500, up to six months in jail and a $500 fine
If the value of the property is more than $1,500, theft is a felony offense. Penalties for felony theft may include:
- For property worth between $1,500 and $25,000, up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- For property worth between $25,000 and $100,000, up to ten years in prison and a $15,000 fine
- For property worth more than $100,000, up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine
Additional penalties for a theft conviction may include being ordered to either restore the stolen property to the owner or to pay the owner for the value of the stolen property or services. Individuals with four or more theft convictions who are charged with the theft of property valued at less than $1,500 typically still face a misdemeanor offense, but the maximum term of incarceration will increase to five years and the fine to $5,000.
A theft lawyer may be able to help defendants fight against potential penalties in Harford County.
A Harford County Theft Lawyer Could Help
Theft offenses may inherently involve an element of dishonesty that might haunt you for years to come if you have a theft conviction on your record. Prospective employers, landlord, and colleges all may look at you differently if you have a theft conviction. If you or a loved one is facing theft charges, a Harford County theft lawyer may be able to help.
Working with a Harford County criminal defense attorney could be advantageous to you. Perhaps most importantly, getting legal advice when you need it most may help you more effectively defend yourself against criminal charges.