Charges and Aggravating Factors for Theft in Maryland
In Maryland, theft includes a lot of different kinds of conduct that may be considered separate offenses in different jurisdictions. Below, a Maryland theft lawyer discusses the different kinds of theft and theft-related crimes in Maryland.
Shoplifting Theft Charges
Shoplifting is not actually separate from theft. In Maryland, they charge shoplifting as theft. So, they’re going to charge it as a theft based on the value of the property that’s taken. So, there’s no actual separate shoplifting charge in Maryland, you’re just charged with a theft usually.
Aggravating Factors in Theft Cases
Well, there can be, absolutely. Aggravating factors would be a person’s record, so if this is the first offense there’s going to be significantly lower penalties than if that individual has a lot of priors. Then, the circumstances of the theft itself can be an aggravating factor. A lot of judges tend to treat employee theft worse than they would non-employee theft.
For example if you work in a store and you’re stealing from that store, a lot of judges will will sentence more harshly based on that inherent relationship of trust that’s being violated.
And then, obviously the circumstances of the theft can also play into it if there’s violence. If it’s a violent robbery it’s going to be sentenced significantly differently than if it’s taking with no violence at all.
Robbery: Theft and Assault
The presence of violence or threats of violence in conjunction with a theft typically make it a robbery. That could make it a robbery, but it could also be an assault. There are potentially enhanced penalties from that, and additionally other potential charges, which is what’s usually going to happen in a case like that.
So, the state is going to bring assault charges, the state is going to bring aggravated assault charges, the state is going to bring theft in addition to that, the state is going to bring robbery charges.
Motor Vehicle Theft in Maryland
Well, that’s just like you’d think. It is theft involving a motor vehicle. That could either be what you would typically think of as motor vehicle theft, somebody breaks into somebody else’s car and drives it away. It could be an unlawful taking of a car so like an extended rental agreement, so you rent a car and then you decided to never turn in the car that would be a theft once you’ve exceeded the rental period. Those are all things that can be considered motor vehicle theft.