Washington County Theft Lawyer

If you are charged with theft, you likely have questions about the charge, the penalties associated with the charge, and how you should proceed in the legal process. A charge of this nature can have wide-reaching effects on a person’s life, and a conviction can have an even greater impact. A proper criminal defense or plea might be advantageous to your case.

A Washington County theft lawyer may be able to assist you with any questions that you have regarding charges, penalties, and defenses. Dealing with a theft charge can be difficult for those accused; having a seasoned theft lawyer by your side may ease the burden.

Theft Laws in Washington County

Both stealing property and possessing stolen property may be penalized. Even if the individual who possesses stolen property did not participate in the theft, their knowledge or belief regarding the property may be considered under a charge for possession. Property, under Maryland Code § 7-101, is anything of value. This includes food and beverages, real estate, electricity and gas, and even pets.

Maryland theft laws encompass many kinds of theft, such as:

  • Larceny
  • Embezzlement
  • Shoplifting
  • Receiving stolen property

Theft of Property

In Maryland, willfully or knowingly taking, using, hiding, or abandoning property with the knowledge that this will or probably will result in depriving the owner of their property may result in a theft charge. An individual, likewise, shall not willfully or knowingly use deception to acquire property, thereby knowingly depriving the owner of their property. Deception can come in many forms, including making false impressions or modifying a price tag.

Possession of Stolen Property

An individual may not possess personal property which they know or believe to have been stolen, if they know that such possession will or probably will deprive the owner of the property. A person who is brought in on a charge of possession, at a time when the person who allegedly stole the property has not been brought in or convicted, may not use the other party’s lack of apprehension or conviction as a defense.

Defenses to a Theft Charge

While there are many defenses that are specifically disallowed in the case of theft, there are other defenses of which a defendant may avail themselves. For example, if the defendant acted under the honest belief that they had a right to take the property which they took, this circumstance can constitute grounds for a defense.

In the same vein, an individual may have taken property which they thought they had a right to take because it belonged to their spouse; this defense can only be applied if the married individuals were residing together as husband and wife at the time of the incident.

Other defenses may apply, depending on the circumstances. A theft lawyer in Washington County can provide more detailed information regarding the defenses and penalties that may be applicable to a particular case. Penalties for a theft charge vary, depending on the number of prior convictions (if any) and the value of the property.

Speak with a Washington County Theft Attorney Today

A theft charge may result in fines or imprisonment or both, depending on the circumstances. The next steps, following a charge of this kind, can have a great impact on an individual’s life for years to come. Contact a Washington County theft lawyer, so that you may have a seasoned advocate by your side.