Ocean City Theft Lawyer
Being accused of theft can sometimes be a confusing experience, as there are many ways in which someone could inadvertently possess someone else’s property without intending to steal it for their own purposes or use it without permission. Regardless of what led to you facing this kind of charge, though, it is important that you take your case seriously given the severe consequences that courts can hand down for theft convictions.
If you want to give yourself the best chances of a good case outcome, you should strongly consider retaining an Ocean City theft lawyer sooner rather than later. A defense attorney with experience handling situations like yours on behalf of others dealing with similar charges could be a critical ally to have on your side from start to finish of your criminal case.
What Counts as Theft Under State Law?
There are three key elements to the criminal offense of “larceny”—to use the formal legal term—as it is defined by Maryland state law. In order for someone to be convicted on charges of theft, the prosecution must prove that the defendant took property they knew belonged to someone else, did so knowing that they did not have authorization to possess that property, and did so either with the intent of depriving the owner of that property or with the knowledge that their actions would effectively produce that outcome.
As per Maryland Code, Criminal Law §7-101(c), “depriving” someone of personal property can entail withholding that property permanently, for a long enough period that its value depreciates, with the intent of holding it for ransom, or solely to dispose of it in a way that prevents the owner from getting it back. Subsection (i) of this same statute clarifies that “property” can be anything of value, including money, real estate, written instruments, proprietary information, business assets, computer data, or a service meant to be provided in exchange for compensation. An Ocean City theft attorney could discuss on a case-by-case basis what actions and circumstances might allow for theft charges to be pursued against an individual.
Potential Consequences for a Theft Conviction
MD Code, Crim. Law §7-104 differentiates between various degrees of misdemeanor and felony theft based on the total monetary value of items, goods, money, or services allegedly taken. Broadly speaking, acts of theft involving less than $1,500 are considered misdemeanors, while thefts of over $1,500 worth of goods and/or services are classified as felonies.
Different degrees of theft may allow for different levels of sanctions upon conviction, as noted below:
- Up to 90 days in jail and $500 in fines for misdemeanor theft under $100 in value
- Up to six months in jail and $500 in fines for a first offense of misdemeanor theft between $100 and $1,500 in value
- Additional jail time and fines for second and subsequent misdemeanor theft convictions, up to a maximum of five years in jail and $5,000 in fines for a fifth conviction
- Up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines for felony theft between $1,500 and $25,000 in value
- Up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines for felony theft between $25,000 and $100,000 in value
- Up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines for felony theft exceeding $100,000 in value
Individuals convicted of theft are also responsible for returning stolen property to its original owner(s) or compensating them for lost value, as a seasoned theft lawyer in Ocean City could affirm.
Speak with an Ocean City Theft Attorney Today
Theft charges can alter the course of your life in a matter of moments. Even an acquittal could have significant repercussions for you in your personal and professional life, and a conviction may lead to you facing years of incarceration, steep fines, and possibly even the permanent loss of certain civil rights.
Fortunately, help is available from an Ocean City theft lawyer who knows how these cases work and could help you pursue a positive resolution to yours. Call today to learn more.