If you, or someone you know, has been charged with theft or a theft-related charge in Maryland, contact our team of hardworking, professional attorneys for a free-of-charge consultation, and learn what options you have available to you.
What Constitutes Theft in Maryland?
There are essentially two elements to any theft charge in Maryland. First, the accused must have taken or possessed property that belongs to someone else. Second, the accused must have taken the property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property.
There are many different kinds of theft-related charges in Maryland. The most common ones are when you take someone else’s property without their permission. This could be as simple as shoplifting from a store or as serious as breaking into someone’s home and stealing something from the home. There are other kinds of theft such as unauthorized removal of property, writing a bad check or deceiving someone into giving you their property or money. This last one is more commonly thought of as Fraud or Embezzlement.
There is a misconception that possessing something that is stolen is not illegal or not treated as serious because you weren’t the person who originally stole the property. This is wrong. In Maryland, State’s Attorney’s will prosecute you just as hard whether you were the original person who stole something or someone who bought it or received it from the person who stole it.
Theft and Theft-related Charges in Maryland
There are many different kinds of ways someone can commit a theft in Maryland. It can be what we commonly think of as stealing from someone else or something much more serious like robbing someone or breaking into someone’s home. Below is a list of the most common types of theft and theft-related charges as well as the penalties you can face if convicted of one of these charges.
If you are charged with Theft or “Stealing,” that can mean one of a number of things. It can include:
- Unauthorized Control Over Property by Taking it from someone else
- Unauthorized Control Over Property by Deceiving Someone to Give it to you
- Possession of Stolen Property
- Possessing Lost or Delivered by Mistake Property
- Obtaining Services for Compensation by Deception
For any of these types of Theft, the penalty depends on the value of the property taken. If the value of the property stolen is:
- Under $100, the maximum penalty is 90 days jail and/or a $500 fine
- Under $1,000 but more than $100, the maximum penalty is 18 months jail and/or a $500 fine
- Under $10,000 but more than $1,000, the maximum penalty is 10 years jail and/or a $10,000 fine
- Under $100,000 but more than $10,000, the maximum penalty is 15 years jail and/or a $15,000 fine
- Over $100,000, the maximum penalty is 25 years and/or a $25,000 fine
There are other kinds of theft that have additional penalties. For example, if you stole a car or any other kind of motor vehicle, you could additionally be charged with Motor Theft and Unauthorized Use of Property. Those carry maximum penalties of 5 years and 4 years respectively.
There is also Embezzlement which carries a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 5 years.
Sometimes someone is charged with theft because they committed a fraudulent act. An example would be intentionally using a bad check to pay for services or goods. Depending on the value of the services or goods, Fraud can carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Another common charge related to theft is counterfeiting. If one creates and attempts to use a counterfeit document, this can carry a maximum penalty of 10 years and/or $1,000 in fines.
The most serious charges related to theft are Robbery, Armed Robbery, Carjacking, and Burglary. If one is convicted of Robbery or Robbery with the use of a dangerous weapon, they face a maximum penalty of 15 years and 20 years respectively. If one is convicted of Carjacking, they face a maximum penalty of 30 years.
If you break into someone’s home with the intent to steal something, you could be charged with Burglary in the First Degree, Burglary in the Second Degree, or Burglary in the Fourth Degree. Those crimes carry maximum penalties of 20 years, 10 years and 3 years respectively.
If you break into someone’s property that is not their home, you can be charged with Burglary in the Second Degree and face a maximum penalty of 15 years. If you break into someone’s car with the intent to steal either the car or something inside of the car, you can be charged with a crime called Rogue and Vagabond and face a maximum penalty of 3 years. In fact, merely possessing tools that could be used to break into someone’s property is a crime punishable by up to 3 years in prison.
How Do I Get Help for Theft or Theft-related Charges in Maryland?
Defending a criminal case is just not something the average person is educated to do. If you have been accused of Theft or any of the Theft-related charges in Maryland, under no circumstances should you attempt to defend yourself without an attorney who has the proper legal knowledge. Seek help from a qualified attorney who has the qualifications to handle your theft case in Maryland.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle these cases on your own. The outcome of your case could cause serious consequences for you in the future. You need a lawyer that will stand up for your legal rights.
Take the time to contact Zirkin and Schmerling Law, and we’ll help you to understand your legal rights. Your initial consultation is free of charge. You work hard and you need an attorney who will work hard for you. Call us today for your Free Consultation – 410-753-4611.