Maryland Shoplifting Lawyer

There are a few different ways to prepare the best possible defense to a shoplifting charge, but the first step is to speak with an experienced Maryland shoplifting lawyer. A Maryland shoplifting lawyer will be able to look at the specific facts surrounding your case and develop the best possible defense to advocate for your legal rights and minimize the amount of harm done.

Maryland Shoplifting Charges   

    Shoplifting is a theft crime that occurs when an individual takes goods or products from a store or retailer with no intention of paying for them. In Maryland you do not have to complete the act of stealing an item in order to be charged.

As a Maryland shoplifting lawyer can tell you, Maryland does not have a specific shoplifting statute. Shoplifting occurs when you steal or attempt to conceal a theft. The elements of shoplifting are subsumed in Maryland’s theft statute (Maryland Code Section 7-104). Pursuant to the general theft provisions shoplifting can be proven when a person removes merchandise from a place of display. Shoplifting can also be proven if a person is concealing merchandise or substitutes or removes a label or price tag. Disarming an alarm or tag that causes an alarm to alert store employees or an items removal can also constitute the crime of shoplifting.

If you have been accused of any shoplifting crime, it is necessary for the prosecution to prove that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. A Maryland shoplifting lawyer can help to plan your defense by working with you to introduce reasonable doubt in such a way that you may not be found guilty in a court of law.

What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting In Maryland?

The penalties for shoplifting in Maryland are determined by the full retail value of the merchandise stolen or attempted to be stolen and whether the shoplifter has prior convictions for any form of theft. The greater the value of the merchandise in question, the greater the potential penalty, and the more likely it is that a person may face jail time.

If the value of the merchandise is $1,000 or less, Maryland law treats the shoplifting as a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a crime and results in a criminal record.

If the value of the merchandise is over $1,000, Maryland law treats the shoplifting as a felony, a much more serious category of crime, and a period of incarceration will most likely result increasing the need for a Maryland shoplifting lawyer.

Misdemeanor shoplifting exposes the shoplifter to:

  • Jail time of up to 90 days and a fine of up to $500 if the merchandise is under $100 in retail value (Maryland Code Section 7-104(g)(3)(i)).
  • Prison time of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $500 if the merchandise is under $1,000 and greater than $100 in retail value (Section 7-104(g)(2)(i)).

Felony shoplifting exposes the shoplifter to:

  • Prison time of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000 if the merchandise is under $10,000 but more than $1,000 in retail value (Section 7-104(g)(1)(i)).
  • Prison time of up to 15 years and a fine of up to $15,000 if the merchandise is under $100,000 but more than $10,000 in retail value (Section 7-104(g)(1)(ii)).
  • Prison time of up to 25 years and a fine of up to $25,000 if the merchandise is more than $100,000 in retail value (Section 7-104(g)(1)(iii)).

Enhancement For Repeat Offenses

If a person with at least two prior convictions for theft is guilty of theft where the value of the property or services is less than $1,000, they face up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 (Section 7-104(g)(4)(i)).

Contacting a Maryland Shoplifting Lawyer

If you are facing shoplifting charges, call a Maryland shoplifting lawyer as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can explain the charges you face and work to put together an aggressive defense plan for your court date.  Call today to schedule your free, no-commitment consultation.

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